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Book Review: The Technology Procurement Handbook

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“Naturally, Industry 4.0 requires a new procurement. The factors driving the change are the hyper-competition, globalization, supply chain risks, resource scarcity and many more. But the most important one is the technology - big data, digital processes, and automation.”

 - Sergii Dovgalenko., p. 4

The Technology Procurement Handbook: A Practical Guide to Digital Buying opens with a preface by author Sergii Dovgalenko. The very first sentence of that preface asks a simple question: “Why would we dedicate the entire book to technology procurement?” He asks this without a hint of sarcasm, and then goes on to make the argument that will be supported and made actionable by the rest of the book. I’ll paraphrase in answering the question: because everything is done through technology today. Everything. That is a hard argument to refute.

414FV 2waRL. SX331 BO1204203200 One of the key things that makes this book far more interesting than an IT-category treatise is that it is based on the author’s well-researched philosophy on megatrends and perspective on how they will affect the future trajectory of the procurement function. Dovgalenko thinks big, which means that technology is positioned as an enabler of all business processes: more digital transformation than software implementation. This, in turn, requires that procurement do more than just “haggle” at the negotiating table with suppliers.

I appreciated the opinions, case studies, and frameworks interspersed throughout the book. They ensure that the reader is exposed to multiple points of view and considerations on each topic, while staying grounded in the very real business challenges that have to be measurable addressed by the technology selected and put in place. I was also somewhat surprised by the chapter on procurement relationships. I shouldn’t have been, but I was. Relationships aren’t top of mind when I think about technology spend, but they will clearly need to be in Procurement 4.0.

The following chapters are highlights of the book:

Chapter 6: Practical Advice and Case Studies on Technology Procurement

Even just the bulleted list of key points on the first two pages in this chapter are worth the purchase price of the book. I particularly appreciated the statement that “Flexibility costs money.” It is so true, and yet we so often forget to address that dynamic head on when sourcing. These three case studies and their key takeaways are technology sourcing gold.

Chapter 8: Procurement 3.1: Agile, Lean, and Value Delivery Today

Dovgalenko is completely honest here, admitting that agility is a buzzword, seldom understood and rarely achieved. As he points out, it is also not a placebo, and shouldn’t be used everywhere, despite the fact that it tops CPOs lists of 2020 priorities. Breaking the concept of agility down into specific levers with supporting use cases improves both clarity and procurement’s ability to act.

As stated in the Conclusion, this book is absolutely for procurement professionals that know their best achievements are still ahead of them – and recognize that they’ll never get there without a big picture view of what technology can achieve and how to source it.

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Wednesday, 25 November 2020

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