Are you an ‘innovation visionary’? Or one of the other innovation ‘personas’ in procurement? Well now you can find out!
By Daniel Ball, Director, Wax Digital.
Recent research Wax Digital has conducted has revealed that 80 per cent of procurement professionals are seeking to challenge the status quo.
However, for many their use of innovation is evolving. Fewer than one in five are seen as ‘innovation visionaries’, and many others are taking different paths.
The research shows that procurement professionals value innovation, with most working towards becoming more innovative in their role in a bid to drive the business.
Procurement Innovation Personas
However, what it also shows is that there are four distinct ‘personas’ that define how procurement professionals are driven by innovation and change.
The four different personas defining procurement innovation are:
18 per cent are committed to the use of technology and using data insights to influence business innovation.
Very much about the bigger picture, they use their procurement expertise to influence top level innovation and growth, rather than being personally and practically hands on in driving that change.
At 36 per cent, the most common of the ‘personas’ and the most likely to be directly driving innovation.
This group is successfully driving change and delivering business value through high technology adoption. They are focused on solving real business issues rather than departmental processes. They don’t stand still and are always on the lookout for what’s next.
30 per cent are still sowing the early seeds of procurement innovation but realise that they have many opportunities ahead of them. Innovation is a priority, but they have some way to go before they fully embrace it.
This final 20 per cent are less innovation focused, but still open to using it practically, to improve procurement processes. Their primary focus is on savings to the bottom line and following clear business mandates.
Seeking Value in Innovation
It’s really positive that these findings show almost all procurement professionals seeing value in innovation and involvement in it. Whether this is through changing the way they do things, or, as is increasingly the case, influencing how the business as a whole should adapt too.
While early innovators tend to be dealing with more fundamental changes, such as implementing technology for the first time, they have the biggest ambitions for innovation in the near future.
At the more experienced end of the spectrum we see a mix of procurement working hands on to drive business innovation, and senior procurement advisors consulting on the business big questions around future change.
What’s interesting is that these findings ring true with what we see working with procurement teams on a day-to-day basis. The function is shedding its stuffy and administrative reputation. It is investing in technology that integrates the whole sourcing and purchasing process, delivering valuable insight, and enabling them to be bolder in showing the business what it’s capable of.
Procurement’s path to innovation is not perfect however. There are tell-tale signs that its innovativeness could be hampered and restricted by its inherent aversion to risk.
To become real innovators, procurement professionals must foster the right business relationships, nurture the correct set of new skills and seek to break ground in their approach to technology.
If you’d like to find out which persona you are and how you can best apply innovation in your role we have created a simple quiz – What type of procurement innovator are you?
The personas are based on research conducted by MORAR Consulting with 100 senior UK procurement executives commissioned by Wax Digital.