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Webinar Notes: Big Trends and Predictions 2014

Webinar Notes: Big Trends and Predictions 2014

This week’s webinar notes are from a January 23rd event presented by Ardent Partners, and sponsored by Puridiom and BravoSolution. An on demand version of the event is available through Puridiom's site.

Ardent Partners’ trends for 2014 include big data, greater volatility, and increased use of contingent workforce, consumer-esque enterprise technology (including mobile), and the growing use of social media for business purposes. As an aside, Andrew Bartolini’s prediction about the lack of supply chain disruption from weather and natural disasters in recent years coming to an end is identical to a prediction made by Mike Smith, SVP and Chief Innovation Executive at Accuweather, in a business continuity webinar we covered last week.

Speaking of asides, one of the most interesting bits of commentary in the webinar came about during the segment on trends in contingent workforce, something Ardent Partners’ Christopher Dwyer expects to grow by 30% over the next 3 years. This growth will likely be in response to pressure on margins and from competition, and shared services (including procurement) will be among the first areas considered as candidates for outsourcing.

As Bartolini explained, when the pressure is on to protect margins, under-performing organizations and functions are more likely to be outsourced. This may mean working with a third party to execute tactical, strategic, or all work previously done in-house. His recommendation was to lead (and control) the conversation about the outsourcing option rather than being put on the defensive or being evaluated by a third party. If procurement outsourcing is an attractive option, there are two preventative measures that can be taken, and both involve effective use of data.

When an organization is underperforming, data can be used to uncover and (hopefully) remedy risks and weaknesses. When performance is not the problem, but communication of results is, data empowers procurement to demonstrate their effectiveness using traditional (savings) and non-traditional measures. Since many procurement efforts require 3-5 years for payback, CPOs should be ready to create and demonstrate their short-term contributions. The goal should be to have procurement’s cycles match the timing perspective of the organization as a whole.

The last part of the webinar was an executive roundtable with Mickey North Rizza (BravoSolution) and Al Jacobs (Puridiom). Jacobs discussed coming trends in mobile technology as well as the preparations that procurement should make, both on their own as well as in cooperating with other functions. North Rizza delved further into perspectives on workforce management, including how to benchmark the value and effectiveness of current approaches as well as opportunities for improvement. All of the event’s speakers aligned on the idea that the business environment is evolving – including changes to technology, people, and approaches. The sooner procurement gets started, the better positioned we will be to take on a leadership position.

Do these trends echo what your organization expects in the coming year? Are you concerned about the procurement function being outsourced completely in part? Share your thoughts by commenting below or by connecting with us directly on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.

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