In its journey of maturity, procurement has gone through dramatic changes, evolving from a tactical function to a digitalized, strategic process.
User Experience Is Critical to Usability, Satisfaction and Customer Journey
Leonardo da Vinci had famously said that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Several centuries later, this has found resonance with many enterprises who have finally realized that sophisticated technology is only truly sophisticated if it’s friendly and simple to use. Think of it this way: an application that delivers satisfying and relevant experience to its users will lead to increased adoption, greater compliance and visibility, and a whole load of other positive outcomes.
User experience (UX) was one of the focal points around which the revolution in the consumer space was driven. Amid the rapid rise of millennials and change in shopping behavior, user experience became a critical factor in shaping the customer journey — from awareness to engagement to purchase. The name that instantly comes to mind when we talk about user experience is Amazon. At the root of Amazon’s spectacular success was their apparent ability to read their customers’ mind. And what followed was a user experience that was simple and engaging, relevant and personalized, and that, most importantly, felt seamless.
And while it’s not always easy or wise to compare the corporate world to the consumer space, it is hard to see beyond one basic argument — technology is technology and its success boils down to usability. Years ago, Gartner had said that consumerization will be the most significant trend affecting IT. Today, consumerization of IT is setting altogether new expectations of enterprise software. And as enterprises adopt more open policies, such as bring your own device (BYOD), and as they take to gamification, there is increasingly a need to replace complicated legacy systems with technologies that deliver a simplified, engaging and enhanced user experience.
Where does consumerization impact procurement the most? The end user finding the easiest way to buy something via a system that is compliant with an overall strategy is undoubtedly a winning combination. If purchase order approval moved away from emails and attachments, and took the shape of a pop-up on the mobile, it would become both simple and compliant. If users didn’t need to type in cost codes that hadn’t changed, it would save a lot of time.
Like their B2C counterparts, corporates need to visualize the user journey to deliver an experience that is uncomplicated and satisfying. Great software will be able to power integration, design, usability and function. However, business leaders first need to get out of their mind that “powerful means complicated.”
Today’s supply chain needs to be flexible and agile, capable of responding quickly and positively to sudden changes — and that cannot be achieved t
Strategic sourcing has been the go-to approach for transforming procurement from a tactical to a strategic function, capable of delivering the kind