Over the past 8 or 9 years I have on occasion made reference to the book “eProcurement: From Strategy to Implementation.” Written by Dale Neef, this book’s enduring insights continue to reflect a prognosticative reach and relevance that transcends both time and technologies.
From his prediction that despite the overwhelming benefits of implementing an eProcurement solution, 75% of all initiatives are doomed to fail, to the utilization of meaningful reference material to support his positions, Neef’s book should still be required reading for any procurement professional.
That being said, and specifically relating to today’s topic, have a long look at Chapter 11 (Guiding Principles for Developing an E-Procurement Initiative), which touches on everything from “Executive Sponsorship and Participation” and the importance of a “Strong Change Management Program,” to effectively “Involving Suppliers and Vendors.” In short, Neef highlights the benefits of eProcurement, identifies the challenges associated with implementation and then prescribes the solution.
For this reason, COUPA’s latest white paper “Seven User Adoption Strategies That Will Guarantee e-Procurement Cost Savings” is an interesting read as the company is attempting to provide a non-branded view of the same benefits, challenges and solutions presented by Neef almost a decade earlier.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a vast difference in scope between Neef’s work and what the vendor is providing in terms of detailed guidance. However, and while obvious, the seven strategies or points outlined in the paper reflect an awakening on the part of the vendor community that technological bells and whistles mean very little if a company fails to gain key stakeholder buy-in both internally as well as externally.
In the end, what makes the COUPA paper a worthwhile read is that it gets people thinking about, and viewing eProcurement through the much broader lens of active engagement and relationship building. From this perspective, one can only ask what took the vendor community so long to catch-up with Neef?