Beyond Trends: Industry Experts And Practitioners Weigh In On What Will Matter Most To Procurement Pros in 2019 No. #5

Posted on February 19, 2019


As a lead-up to my Beyond Trends: Transformational realities redefining procurement panel on March 12th, I reached out to people in the procurement world asking them a simple, and somewhat straightforward question; in your opinion what do you believe is or will be the single most significant development that will impact procurement in 2019?

In this fifth post in the series, Chris Sawchuk who is the Principal and Global Procurement Advisory Practice Leader at The Hackett Group shares with us in his usual succinct, yet insightful manner what he believes will have the most significant impact on procurement in 2019.

“As we have seen over the last year or so, I believe and continue to believe that the most serious significant development in the supply space is “digital transformation” as it will fundamentally change the way organizational supply management capabilities are built, sustained, resourced and valued.” – Chris Sawchuk

Besides writing countless articles and moderating a series of webinars on the subject, digital transformation is a topic with which I am very familiar.  This familiarity has been further augmented by the opportunity I have had to speak with some of the IT Industry’s top executives leading up to Activate Digital 2019 in Toronto later this month. Be sure to check out the big banner on the main page of this blog for more information on the conference.

One of the things that I have found most interesting regarding the digital age is the existing gap between digital promise and digital realization. Specifically – and I am citing a McKinsey study here, of the 1,600 global company executives they surveyed 23 percent have a digital reinvention strategy and of those just 2 percent have a digital plan for their supply chain.

“In 2010, the IoT device ratio to person globally was 1.84. By 2020 it will be up to 10 web-connected devices per every person. In short, and in the digital age, people have moved beyond the cloud to the edge.” – To Succeed In The Digital Age, You Need To Work At The Edge, Paula Hodgins, President HPE Canada (February 15th, 2019)

Conversely, and according to an article by HPE President Paula Hodgins the proliferation of IoT devices will grow exponentially, and with it the convenience and access to work beyond the cloud on “the edge.” This growth means that the power of digital will be in the hands of everyone including procurement professionals.

So if the capability is there along with the promise to which Chris refers then what has to happen to make digital real?

A January 18th, 2019 CIO article offers an answer. In his post “Digital workplace strategy: 10 steps to greater agility, productivity,” Senior CIO writer Clint Boulton suggests that “your digital transformation is doomed unless you empower employees to succeed in the digital era.” A big part of that empowerment according to Boulton is to “craft a workplace that boosts engagement and agility.” In short, it is up to senior management to empower their workforce to realize the digital promise and all of the benefits that encompass it.

In this regard, an article by VMware’s Director – End User Computing Office Strategy Michael Olney would be both timely and worthwhile reading. Check out his The 3 Ws Of Digital Transformation Success through the following link.

In the next installment in this series, another industry thought leader will be offering their views on what will have the most significant impact on the procurement world in 2019.

In the meantime, be sure to reserve your virtual seat for the Beyond Trends: Transformational realities redefining procurement panel.


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