Daily Archives: October 4, 2023

There are Three Primary Parts to Procurement Orchestration

Procurement Orchestration is the craze, presumably because Procurement shouldn’t operate in a vacuum. There are a number of startups just focussed on orchestration, a number of analyst firms are jumping on the orchestration bandwagon, and a number of enterprise automation platforms are all of a sudden claiming to be procurement orchestration platforms to get in on the buzz. But there’s a lot more to Procurement Orchestration than just application automation. A lot more.

Procurement Orchestration, which we included in our 39 Part Series to Help You Figure Out Where to Start with Source-to-Pay in Parts 34 to 36 and 39, MUST Address, at a minimum, the orchestration of:

  • procurement data
  • procurement process
  • procurement stakeholders

First of all, good Procurement needs to be data-informed. (Not data driven, data informed. Data driven means that all decisions based on the available data, which is never complete. You can accurately capture all bids in an RFP, previous OTD metrics, previous defect metrics, subjective quality ratings, ESG data, etc. but you can’t capture relationship data, innovation support, etc. and these are also factors that are important in Sourcing and Supplier Selection.) This means that all available data needs to available to the Procurement team. It doesn’t have to be centralized in one system or pushed to a data warehouse / lake / lakehouse, but the source system (that holds the golden record of truth) for every piece of data needs to be identified and integrations created to allow the necessary data to be accessed as needed by the Procurement system currently being used.

Secondly, good Procurement needs proper processes. That’s more than just application orchestration as not all Procurement teams will have applications for every step of the process, and even those that have major applications for every major stage (intake / need identification, spend analysis / opportunity / procurement process identification, sourcing, supplier onboarding / management, contract negotiation and governance, e-Procurement/PO Generation and Management, Invoice Management and OK-to-Pay) will still need to orchestrate intermediate process steps such as stakeholder collaboration, external vendor risk/ESG review, etc.

Thirdly, good Procurement needs to involve all of the relevant stakeholders. The category manager, the risk manager, the budget holder / executive, the in house counsel, etc. All of these individuals need to be able to interact with the procurement process and artifacts at the right time, and through their applications if they have special tools to do the risk analysis, budget analysis, contract review, etc. Thus, supporting procurement goes beyond just supporting procurement applications and processes, but peripheral applications and processes as well so that all stakeholders can be part of the process and effectively contribute their expertise and experience.

Remember this the next time a jazzy tool tries to lure you in with pre-built Procurement platform integrations or easy, visual, procurement workflows. That’s just part of the puzzle.