Procurement Staff Augmentation: What’s the Approach?

While scanning the weekly news, the doctor encountered an article in the Technology section of HackRead on Strategic IT Staff Augmentation: A Roadmap for C-Level Executives, which outlined key considerations when choosing an outsourcing service provider (as all of them have pros and cons) as well as five essential steps that are required to make a good decision.

But what do you do in Procurement? Whereas there are dozens of big providers with oodles of talent sitting on a bench to help you in Tech, it’s not so in Procurement. Just like organizations struggle to find experienced and knowledgeable Procurement talent, so do consulting agencies, group purchasing organizations, and vendors who want former senior buyers and CPOs to help guide them on creating useable solutions. So if you can’t get talent, and they can’t get talent, what do you do?

It’s a damn good question, and it has a good answer, but not one you’re gonna like. Because you can’t get enough talent, you need to get better tech. The reality is that even if the market improves and your budget for headcount and technology improves, you’ll still have to do more with less because you won’t find the talent you need. So take advantage of the fact that you’re constantly expected to do more with less and set yourself up to be able to do that by getting the right tech.

More specifically, the tech that lets you:

  • automate and streamline tactical tasks
  • define your strategic processes, automate data collection, define validations, and automate standard analysis and insights retrieval
  • integrate 3rd party intelligence including, but not limited to, metrics, ratings, benchmarks, market insights, etc.
  • enable third parties to do sourcing events, negotiations, supplier development, detailed analysis, etc. on your behalf
  • allow self-serve integrations to third party tech used by third parties who do Procurement projects for you

Those last two capabilities in particular are critical for organizations who need Procurement staff augmentation because:

  • they won’t be able to hire more senior staff internally,
  • they won’t be able to secure them from consulting companies for more than short periods of time, and
  • they will only have access to shared resources on a regular basis (i.e. short term engagements from consultants who will engage to provide expertise / leadership on specific projects, short term engagements from vendor staff who will do a specific project / negotiation, etc.)

So, without the tech that will allow a third party to

  • quickly customize the process they will follow
  • automate all the tactical steps and data collection
  • automate the analysis needed for augmented insights
  • use their tools and push the appropriate data and results to the client
  • use the client tools and get the functionality and data they need

A third party cannot take on the work an organization needs it to take due to lack of experienced staff. Thus, the answer to procurement staff augmentation is one that starts with better, more modern, Procurement tech, which is quite different than IT staff augmentation, which starts with firm qualification and then resource qualification. Due to the drastically different market dynamics — an abundance of talent vs. a dearth, the approach has to be entirely different.

PostScript: Please note not ONCE did we say AI. We said better tech. That’s totally different!