Cloud Procurement — No Longer Simply a Good Idea
Accessibility provided by cloud procurement solutions is now a business imperative
by Salim Khalife – Founder, President and CEO
Three years ago, I shared an article, Top 10 Reasons to Move to the Cloud. In the article, I referenced the cumulative trend of cloud-based SaaS applications, and I highlighted why a cloud-based procurement management solution is a great choice for organizations seeking to lower costs, increase collaboration, gain flexibility and agility — and to allow their workforce to work remotely. Three years later, as we find ourselves in the middle of a global health pandemic and economic challenges. These points are more valid than ever. As we prepare for the new normal, the functionality and accessibility provided by cloud procurement solutions is no longer simply a good idea — it’s now a business imperative.
Preparing for the new normal
COVID19 has placed leaders of organizations, business units, and departments in the position to think and work as if in a startup mode — breaking out of old habits and rethinking the path forward. This requires what Jeremy Gutsche, CEO of Trend Hunter calls Hunter Habits. In his book, Create the Future: Tactics for Disruptive Thinking, Gutsche highlights that hunters are curious, insatiable, and destructive rather than complacent, repetitive and protective.
Since most organizations are placing many of their ongoing projects on hold, there is a great opportunity for businesses to focus on business growth and efficiency projects that are typically delayed during busy seasons. This includes brainstorming about the future, evaluating the company’s technologies and readiness for future growth and profitability, workforce remote work capabilities, customers’ needs, training, and collaboration.
Working through COVID-19 will require creative strategies to enable mobile work capabilities, support remote decision-making and provide leaders with access to up-to-date information. In fact, Gartner researchers recently forecast the top three trends in business in our new environment will be remote working, increasing reliance on digital channels and platforms, and data and analytics for faster and better decision-making — all trends facilitated by cloud procurement solutions.
Cloud computing paves the way
Working remotely has become the new normal for most of us. While we may not know how long this extreme situation will last, we do know that it is causing both employees and C-Suite executives to rethink, reorganize and reinvent the “normal” workplace.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic is showcasing the value of cloud-based applications. Collaborative office, video conferencing, remote support and service, purchasing automation, out-of-the-office approvals and routing, out-of-the-office spend management and AP automation, customer engagements, and other systems have played a tremendous role in coping with the challenges posed by the epidemic. Enterprises leading in digital transformation are significantly less vulnerable to the epidemic, as they likely have improved long-distance collaborative coordination and higher overall work efficiency.
Even before the pandemic hit, cloud computing had become a transformative technology that allows businesses in every sector to improve information technology services while lowering costs. Cloud-based procurement applications are a case in point, delivering needed functionality, controls and workflow continuity to your workforce, wherever and whenever they are working.
SaaS procurement becomes a business imperative
Cloud-based (SaaS) procurement management software has become a significant strategic advantage for those that use it, providing improved total cost of ownership, system performance, mobility and security. Instead of focusing on maintaining applications and information technology infrastructure, organizations can focus on more business-oriented goals that provide a better long-term benefit. In short, SaaS procurement management solutions have moved from simply being a good idea to becoming a business mandate.
Deloitte, in a recent research paper titled The Future of Procurement in the Age of Digital Supply Networks, spoke to how lower cost cloud computing and data storage have enabled advancements in mobile technology where constant connectivity is now the norm. With modern procurement management solutions, strategic sourcing is becoming more predictive, transactional procurement is becoming more automated, and supplier relationship management is becoming more proactive.
The benefits of cloud-based procurement include allowing employees to initiate their own purchase requisition requests from their mobile devices, and the ability to control spend as employees are guided to approved suppliers. Ensuring that your employees have access to a user-friendly, accessible platform makes for a better experience all around, ensuring compliance, reducing unnecessary spending and helping your organization achieve better cost control. By providing a cloud-based procurement management system to your employees, you are creating a cohesive and collaborative space, where everyone is able to access what they need, while ensuring their actions adhere to company policies and budgets.
In addition, cloud-based procurement solutions provide the same benefits provided by all hosted applications, including automated backups, predictable pricing, reduced IT resources, rapid scalability and more, making it a smart choice to both sustain the business during uncertainty and to grow the business when the economy picks up.
The path has never been easier
For organizations looking to adopt a cloud-based procurement management solution, the path has never been easier. Many solutions, including Paramount WorkPlace, work to enhance the value of legacy systems through tight integrations, involve lower financial and technological investments and have payback periods measured in months not years.
In an upcoming post, I’ll be revisiting and refreshing my Top 10 list, in light of our new normal. Stay tuned.
About the author:
Salim Khalife is the founder, president and CEO of Paramount WorkPlace, a technology company that develops, sells, and supports advanced web-based and mobile requisition, procurement, and expense software solutions for mid-market organizations. The company introduced its first cloud-based SaaS requisition application in 1997 and continues to innovate and expand its partnerships and integrations ever since. Learn more at www.paramountworkplace.com.