Sometimes Good Advice for IT is Good Advice for Sourcing

A while ago, ZDNet published a short article that described a 10-Step program to SOA Success. What’s neat about this article is that it could have been titled 10-Step Program to Sourcing Success as it is a great primer if you are just entering the world of eSourcing.

Let’s examine the ten steps carefully.

  • Who’s Your Daddy?
    Without support, any project is doomed to failure. If your organization does not yet have a Chief Procurement Officer on the senior management team, you need to find someone in senior management who is responsible for a top business imperative and convince them the project will save money and let them champion your cause.
  • Have a Vision!
    You need to articulate your vision regularly and consistently to gain support from other teams, departments, and upper management. You’re implementing the foundations for sweeping business change that is going to affect the business for decades to come.
  • Identify Attainable Projects.
    Start with an initial project that has immediate value and that can be finished in a few months since nothing speaks louder than a successful project delivered on time with better-than-planned savings.
  • Support the Business.
    If you choose the projects with the greatest potential impact to the business, you will ensure that your sourcing projects get the attention they deserve.
  • Flexibility Matters.
    Create flexibility through loosely coupled on-demand services that can be formed to create composite applications that automate business functions across the sourcing and procurement cycles. This flexible infrastructure will form the basis of business processes that are capable of adapting quickly as markets change.
  • Networking is Not Just for Salespeople.
    A key to success is the establishment of corporate-wide support at all levels of the organization. Be visible, promote your success, and find a way to make your success their success.
  • Don’t Lose Control.
    Establish strict governance procedures from the outset. With stringent government regulations, organizations need to be acutely aware and be held accountable. In sourcing terms, this means documenting each step of the process and ensuring compliance with negotiated contracts.
  • Don’t Fear Change.
    Organizational changes are imminent and you should be prepared to not only adapt to them, but guide them. After all, procurement is a central business unit in a successful organization.
  • Learn as You Go.
    Even if the first projects go very well, which they can if you use good tools, best practices, and follow the advice of experienced category professionals (that you should consider hiring as consultants if you do not have the expertise internally), there is always room for improvement. The most successful aspects should be recognized, captured, and carried to the next project while the less successful aspects should be identified and improved.
  • The Best and the Brightest.
    Create a center of excellence and staff it with the best and brightest. This team will be responsible for identifying best practices and guiding your procurement teams in their implementation.