Social media is disrupting the world of communications. It’s now just as easy to speak to someone on the other side of the world, as it is to speak to someone on the other side of the room.
Social media is no longer just for your personal life. From marketers who can reach consumers quickly and easily, to sales people able to speak to customers directly, the platforms are becoming increasingly valuable for professionals too.
Procurement is playing catch up, but the possibilities for the profession on social media are endless. Procurious wants to help more procurement professionals get involved with, and leverage, social media to help with their day-to-day work.
For the last year and a half, the Procurious team has been running workshops up and down the UK, as well as in Australia, highlighting all the ways procurement can make social media a valuable resource, allowing them to interact with stakeholders and suppliers, keep abreast of market trends and change the image of ‘brand procurement’.
How Procurement Measures Up
It wasn’t until recently that Procurious decided that it needed a tool to measure how professionals were doing on social media. We know how much procurement leaders love a good KPI, so we created something that individuals could use to keep track of how they were progressing.
Many of you will have heard of Klout, the most commonly used social media audit tool. Klout measures both personal and professional platforms, including Foursquare, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The site is relatively easy to use, but it is hard to understand how your score develops.
Procurious took the theory behind this tool and created its PRISM (Procurement Relationships and Influence on Social Media) tool. PRISM takes into account the three platforms we feel are most readily leveraged by procurement professionals: Procurious, LinkedIn and Twitter.
We look at a number of criteria across all three platforms, including profile completion, number of connections, level of engagement and participation and publishing of original content. Where PRISM differs is that it also takes into account offline influencing activities including conferences and training courses attended.
Levels of Influence
Individuals are scored out of 100, and matched against one of four Influencer Levels:
Novice – Novices are just getting started on social media. They may have profiles on a couple of platforms that need spruced up, and they haven’t yet expanded their social media network.
Builder – Builders have found their feet on social media, have built good profiles, and have expanded their social networks. Builders are still searching for their voice on social media, but are generally good at sharing content.
Influencer – Not only have these individuals found their voice, but they are also actively participating in the conversations on social media. Influencers post content most days, ask and answer questions, and maybe even moderate groups.
Master – Well done! As a Master, you are an avid social media user, posting your own thoughts, sharing other people’s posts and creating original content on the platforms or maybe your own blog. The chances are very good that you are also a keen networker offline too.
Up Your Game
Even without a score, you’ll should have a rough idea of where you sit on the scale. Don’t worry if you think you are a ‘Novice’ – this is where most procurement professionals are!
The good news is you can take some really easy steps to up your game and your score at the same time.
If you don’t know where to start, find the platform that you feel most comfortable with and build your profile. If you need some inspiration, see what Tania Seary has to say about getting started and your next steps.
If you think you’re in the Builder or Influencer level, think about what groups you could join on Procurious or if there is a discussion you could either start or contribute to.
Done all of that? Good work. But even if you think you are a ‘Master’, you shouldn’t rest on your laurels. If you have a story to tell, or an idea for some content for Procurious, drop the team a note and we can chat it through. We also have an exciting article on getting started with blogging coming up that you don’t want to miss.
If you want to get the most from PRISM, and get your colleagues involved too, the best way to do this is to get in touch with Procurious and organise a workshop for us to come and show you it first hand.
We can talk you through how the tool and scoring works, get you set up with initial scores and give you and your team some great tips and tricks to build both your individual, and organisational, social media brand.
Don’t get left behind on social media – take these easy steps, and before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art!
The last article I wrote on The Faculty’s latest research paper ‘Making it Stick’ was very well received by you all, in fact, its one of my most read posts on Procurious. This strong response has encouraged me to dive back into the report to look for more gold.
As the report clearly states, more than 50 per cent of savings that are negotiated and contracted by procurement teams are not actually being realised in company accounts.
That figure staggers me a little more each time I read it.
Today I am going to outline the tips that The Faculty has suggested organisations take in order to ensure their savings stick.
1. Prove it
Savings come unstuck when projected benefits are not realised. As procurement teams, our role extends beyond merely drawing up contracts and holding negotiations with suppliers to lock-in preferable rates.
We have to take some responsibility for these savings eventuating, and this involves providing a road map for users to realise these savings and presenting management with a plan as to how savings will be captured and reported.
The great work done by procurement teams in negotiating favourable rates and contracts comes undone immediately if our internal customers in other parts of the business are not on-board with our new initiatives.
Only by creating a cross functional environment where the value of procurement’s work is clearly demonstrable to others in the business can we hope to get buy-in for our initiatives and ensure the savings we’ve promised will actually materialise.
3. Expand the Focus Beyond Costs
This point doesn’t cover new ground for procurement blogs, but the old ‘value over cost’ argument is as relevant today as it’s ever been. As we’ve already discussed, building a cost conscious culture within your organisation is critical for a benefits realisation project to thrive, but when you talk to your supply base, the focus needs to shift slightly.
This point is well summed up by Mike Blanchard, the CPO at Sydney Trains, “You can only pressure suppliers on cost up to a certain point before you risk compromising on quality and service levels. The key is to seek out different types of value in supplier relationships,” he said.
4. Align to Business Targets
By aligning your benefits realisation program directly to organisational success metrics, you increase your potential for success by an order of magnitude. Structuring your program in this way will mean that when you go to the business with new procurement initiatives, you’ll already be speaking a common language.
As David Henchliffe, CPO at Santos, stated, “How procurement measures success must be aligned to what the business views as success”.
5. Define benefits
How can you hope to measure benefits if they aren’t clearly defined? When creating definitions for your benefits realisation and savings methodology, it’s critical that you involve other functions from the business.
These are your internal customers, the people that will be using your rates and the contracts you’ve put in place, so its your job to work with them to create clear transparent definitions of what savings are and how they are realised.
6. Focus on compliance
Maverick spend and other contract non-compliance is a killer for making savings stick. The gurus at The Faculty have suggested the following steps to help improve compliance:
Establishing enforceable penalties for compliance breaches
Educating end-users during the handover process about consequences of compliance breaches
Creating a fool proof system (such as an ERP) that minimises opportunities for compliance breaches
Clearly defining roles and responsibilities
Monitoring and controlling maverick spend through an exceptions management signoff process.
Last week, Procurious founder Tania Seary was the special guest on a webinar hosted by Procurify, speaking on the subject of ‘Disruptors and Global Networks in Procurement’.
If you weren’t able to join the webinar on the day, then worry not. Catch up with the full webinar below.
During the discussion, Tania highlighted some of the key facts and figures around several major forces having an impact on procurement professionals, including markets, ethics, transparency, and optionality.
She went on to explain why global networks, like Procurious, and social media are key to CPOs and procurement professionals understanding these issues and best mitigating the risks associated with them.
If you have any thoughts on these topics, or would like to engage Procurious to help you get your social media activities moving, get in touch with one of the team, or send us a message at [email protected].
Our researchers undertook a literature review to understand the present state of play for CPOs worldwide. This is the second part of The Faculty’s article on the key findings from the literature review.
How benefits realisation levels are poor and remain an enduring challenge for CPOs around the globe.
The need for organisation-wide change management programs to address poor benefits realisation.
To wrap up the final three findings:
3. Business alignment and shared goals are integral to winning stakeholder support for identified benefits
As mentioned above, Procurement can’t drive savings all the way to the bottom line in isolation from the rest of the business. Shared goals across the organisation are absolutely essential for stamping out the culture of “somebody else’s problem” when it comes to poor benefits realisation.
Noah Costelloe (Ernst & Young) wrote in 2014: “The procurement team should not be the ‘sole owners’ of savings. Instead the focus of the team should be on facilitating and driving initiatives. They should also be accountable for the governance function through recording, measuring and reporting savings.”
So, what’s the first step to creating shared goals? The answer is to ensure Procurement’s targets are aligned to those of the wider business. A report from Proxima (2015) stated that “Success in the procurement field … is a nebulous concept [because] procurement’s objectives aren’t usually clearly defined. Or perhaps, more accurately, it’s because procurement’s objectives are defined quite differently by its practitioners and the business leaders they serve.”
The Managing successful programmes report already quoted above gives excellent guidance on alignment: “[Procurement must] provide alignment and clear links between the programme [benefit], its vision and desired outcomes, and the strategic objectives of the organisation involved.”
4. Procurement teams are expanding their strategic footprint beyond costs through the identification and realisation of additional value opportunities.
What do additional value opportunities have to do with benefits realisation? Everything. In the Making it Stick report, “costs” are identified as the base of the pyramid, or the essential piece that must be in place before the function can move beyond transactional benefits, through commercial to strategic benefits.
If you can’t make savings stick, you won’t have the base necessary to successfully expand the value you contribute to the organisation. In ProcureCon Europe’s 2014 survey of 2,000 procurement professionals, “Total Cost Savings” still retains its place as the most popular metric for measuring the value of procurement (85%).
KPMG’s The Power of Procurement (2012) reports: “Significant opportunities still remain to drive sustainable bottom line and top line value …. Procurement will need to stretch beyond savings to become a centre of value creation throughout the organisation. Executives will also need to play a part.”
5. Clear definitions and categorisation of savings and other benefit types drive cross-functional understanding, shared measurements and realisation.
Without rigorous benefits definitions in place, other parts of the business with dispute Procurement’s wins. Benefits should be:
categorised by type
agreed upon with Finance
clear and concise
in plain English (not “Procurement lingo”)
aligned to business targets
linked to a clear set of measurement and validation methodologies.
To illustrate the importance of a set of definitions, consider the term ‘savings’. If you were to tell a roomful of colleagues from various departments that Procurement is focused on savings as its primary benefit, it’s more than likely that there will be multiple interpretations of what a ‘saving’ actually involves. Andrew Bartolini wrote in 2014 that “Savings [is] an inherently complex metric [with] greater disparity among the definitions used by procurement teams today”.
A 2006 report from CAPS Research found that, “Crucial to [Procurement’s] mission is the proper categorisation of the various types of cost reduction and their application to the company’s operating budgets and profit and loss measures.”
The Making it Stick report contains sample definitions and measurements employed by participating organisations. Reproduced to give readers a broad set of examples to adapt for their own organisations. A concise set of definitions aids cross-functional understanding and should be developed in partnership with the wider business.
If you haven’t done so already, you can download the ‘Making It Stick’ research report here.
 Costelloe, Noah. Five things: getting the basics right in Procurement. Ernst & Young, 2014, p.4.
 Cooper-Bagnall, Jonathan, “Defining procurement success”, Proxima, June 2015
 Great Britain Office of Government Commerce, Managing successful programmes, Norwich, The Stationary Office, 2003, p.32.
Earlier this year, The Faculty Roundtable commissioned an investigation into best-practice benefits realisation, and its researchers have conducted a series of interviews and data analysis to unearth the factors that prevent Procurement’s savings from hitting the bottom line. The results were boiled down to five key hurdles to Making savings Stick.