In the manufacturing and industrial sphere, siloing can often lead to unwise IT purchases. But a little cooperation between procurement and tech departments can go a long way in remedying these types of situations. Combining the tech-savvy nature of IT departments with the contractual knowledge of procurement can serve as a highly reliable formula for success.
Implementing a Collaborative IT/Procurement Strategy
Below are a few ideas to help your IT and procurement departments form a highly effective team.
Start at the Beginning
Ideally, the working relationship between IT and sourcing should trace back to the very beginning of the procurement process. Collaboration should begin before a call for bids goes out so that sourcing has input from IT that can be included in RTFs.
IT needs to understand how the procurement department works with its software and have a grasp of the most effective ways for the team to carry out its work. Procurement needs to understand what their software requires of IT, consulting them in advance of any software and hardware purchases to ensure that all systems being used across the company can work in harmony.
The two departments should get together frequently to assess how the software implemented and IT purchases are working; this should be evaluated from both a tech standpoint and a sourcing standpoint. Consulting on purchases is important, but it’s also important for these departments to check in with one another regularly and determine how the programs being used are working at both ends.
Get Both Teams on the Same Page
Oftentimes, the goals of these two departments don’t necessarily line up. To resolve this, it’s crucial to facilitate open and honest communication; both departments need to clearly express their needs and hear and consider the needs of the other. To ensure the teams don’t hinder each other, it’s important that both keep in mind the aims of the other when carrying out their respective missions — and even help each other achieve their goals.
Hire Talent Proficient in Both Arenas to Bridge Gaps
Finding talent with experience in both IT and procurement can be hugely helpful in getting these two departments to work together effectively and better understand each other’s day-to-day challenges and goals. Consider assigning a specific liaison so that the needs of each department are thoroughly considered when decisions are made at either end.
What You Have to Gain
IT purchases expensive, and you’re unlikely to be able to recoup your losses if implementation or usage goes south. Making sure that the programs and equipment you purchase work well for your procurement department is important, and it’s crucial that your IT department can get them off the ground and perform maintenance easily.
You’ll also avoid a lot of hard feelings between these two departments if they can learn to communicate effectively. When collaboration is lacking, both of these teams’ jobs can become very difficult.
Effective collaboration means you can save money on IT purchases, and potentially even on other purchases, as the procurement software is likely to operate more smoothly and effectively when these teams are working together. You can also save on maintenance by asking IT what type of technology will be most effective and require the least upkeep.
Moving Beyond Function to Growth
Most of IT spending goes into maintaining current systems rather than innovating new ones that could make a company more successful, but a good working relationship between your IT and procurement departments could change that — ultimately allowing you to reduce current IT spending so that there’s room for valuable innovation in your company budget.
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