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Solve Procurement Problems and Improve Processes with App-driven Innovation

As a procurement and supply chain consultant I have experienced numerous different approaches to process improvement and related software selection and adoption. Traditionally, the approach includes the following phases or steps:

  1. Identify the supply chain problems that need to be addressed.

  2. Define guiding principles, objectives and constraints for a project team.

  3. Design the new process that will meet the objectives and address the problem.

  4. Pilot the improvements without a major technological change or cash outlay, often using some rudimentary tech such as Sharepoint or Excel.

  5. Assess the changes, adjusting as necessary to more effectively address the problem.

  6. Lock in the gains by selecting the optimal software to support the new process.

These are time-tested steps. However, the dynamic Saas-driven business app environment allows us to simplify and speed up this approach. Today, the process and the technology are often inextricable so improving processes must go hand in hand with testing new software. Test driving new software requires little or no investment. You just need internet access and commitment from your SaaS provider. Since SaaS apps exists in a secure cloud environment, there is also no need for installation. This significantly reduces the time spent by internal IT personnel.

This all amounts to greatly reduced investments of time and effort to test new solutions to some of your thorniest business problems. As a result, we can update our process improvement approach to deliver solutions faster with less risk and effort.

My suggestion is that after identifying a problem, objectives, principles and constraints, we move directly to defining the new functional parameters that will address that problem. Ask what we need the new process (app) to do. Then move swiftly to pilot new SaaS solutions that purport to meet or exceed the required outputs. Work with your SaaS provider to optimize solutions and adopt the ones that works best for your organization.

It’s like how we add apps to our phones to solve problems. Search the app store and install an app. Keep it or delete it based on how well it works. The adoption of new tech-based solutions requires only that users become aware of the opportunity to work in a better way, and start trying it.

Many of us don’t expect we could be piloting new business technology almost as easily as we download a personal app to our phones. Our SRM app LUPR is available for trial in the AppExchange, the Business App store powered by Salesforce. Visit LUPR on the AppExchange to get started.

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