Daily Archives: November 13, 2015

Seventy Five Years Ago Today

Disney released Fantasia, which contains The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Mickey Mouse’s designated comeback role at the time. (Yes, even the great Mickey Mouse once needed to make a comeback.)

A modern classic, which is the American Film Institute’s 58th greatest American film, it contains a classic story line that is very important to modern enterprise professionals, and procurement professionals in particular, everywhere.

Simply put:

You cannot successfully employ the tricks of the master until you gain mastery yourself.

And, furthermore:

Trying to automate a process you cannot control will simply flood you.

For those of you who haven’t seen The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Mickey decides that the best way to accomplish his chores is by animating, and then replicating, a broomstick to gather the water from the pool, carry it to the castle, and clean the floors. He does the classic set-it-and-forget-it, takes a nap, and the unintelligent automatons keep going and going until the castle literally floods, putting Mickey in quite a pickle of a situation until the Sorcerer comes home to undo the mess Mickey created.

In the modern enterprise, even if you are overwhelmed by a task, you can’t simply install the first piece of technology that comes your way to automate the task and expect the situation to improve if you don’t first understand what is required, define the right process, and make sure the right process is implemented, a bad situation will quickly become worse, much worse. For example, instead of having ten thousand invoices that can’t be adequately processed, a poorly implemented e-Invoicing solution will give you ten thousand invoices that are queued waiting for manual review and validation before they can be exported to the payment system. Instead of not having time to process the invoices between payment, and overpaying by about 1.5% on average (due to duplicate invoices, overcharges, and payments for goods not delivered), the organization can’t pay the majority of suppliers at all, and supplier sentiment goes from amicable to full fledged animosity in just a few months. (And your SRM efforts go down the toilet.)

If you haven’t watched The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the only segment of the original Film that was included in Fantasia 2000, find 8 minutes and do so. The power of today’s technology is terrific, but never let technology replace wisdom.