Procurement Is Not Your Enemy


One of the top reasons enterprise decision-makers give for not wanting to work with procurement is the time required to complete the sourcing and vendor selection process. Why is it necessary to have a long, formal evaluation effort when you already know which compliance software provider you want to work with? Can’t procurement just help push through the contract? The frustration with procurement delays is especially pronounced in an era when eCommerce makes nearly any good or service available to us at home within 48 hours, and when SaaS compliance technology can be ‘turned on’ instantly.

“Most corporate purchasing is slow, opaque, and downright onerous—fueled by a broader objective to control spending.” A.T. Kearney

Time is always of the essence in modern business, but especially so for compliance officers who are dealing with the need to monitor conduct risk, financial compliance, and regulatory compliance at the employee level and company-wide.

The perception that it takes longer to work with procurement has more to do with additional steps and approval gates than it does total elapsed time. In fact, by adding a few critical steps, procurement can help speed up and even improve the compliance software selection process.

At Sourcing Project Kickoff – Defining the Selection Team

Your compliance management software selection team is aligned. You have documented everyone’s requirements and solicited their feedback about which providers should be invited. An invitation to participate has just gone out to the shortlisted compliance technology vendors when someone realizes that a key stakeholder was unintentionally left out of the process. You now have two choices: press on and risk alienating the excluded stakeholder or backtrack with vendors. Procurement’s standard kick-off due diligence would almost certainly have uncovered the need to include this individual long before the work was done and invitations were sent, preventing delays and relationship damage both internally and externally.

During Requirements Definition – Expanding the List of Qualified Providers

When companies select a compliance management solution based on a limited understanding of the options available on the market, they may fail to prioritize vendors that have the most robust functionality. This can lead to the unfortunate realization after 6 or 12 months that you have outgrown the capabilities of the solution. Procurement routinely researches both the providers that the business has already identified as well as their competitors. This can lead to an expanded list of desired functionalities, making it possible to ‘grow with’ compliance software rather than having to source the technology again in short order or find workarounds to extend the lifespan of the current implementation.

At Vendor Selection - Partnering with the Right Provider for the Right Reasons

Most professionals have (sadly) been involved in a failed or poorly executed software implementation. Investing the time upfront to select a compliance technology vendor that can meet the business’ objectives and whose platform will also integrate well with other in-place solutions can save months of delay and heartache in the implementation process. Procurement is trained in evaluating the primary and secondary requirements of software – including the applications and data sources that need to be integrated and the processes that will be affected.

While it may take longer to select a compliance software provider when working with procurement, following their proven process will help you arrive at an ROI much sooner. The moment of selection is not the moment that the business achieves its objectives. For this, the company has to reach the ‘go live’ moment of implementation. When we consider the total time to value in this context, working with procurement makes the process much faster and far less painful.

In summary, procurement’s standard sourcing process makes it possible to save ‘real’ time in the compliance technology vendor selection process:

  • Having the right people involved in the project from the outset prevents delays due to scope adjustments and embarrassment
  • Selecting a software partner for the long term extends the time period before the need has to be re-sourced because the available functionality has been exhausted
  • Being fully aware of the vendor’s capabilities and ‘fit’ before selection ensures a smoother, faster implementation

Would you like to know more about the procurement process of compliance software and all the secrets for success during the selection process? Watch this webinar that looks at what compliance officers need to know about working with procurement when selecting compliance technology.

Webinar: The Road to a Successful Compliance Technology Purchase

Register Here!

About the Author

Kelly Barner is the Owner and Managing Director of Buyers Meeting Point and MyPurchasingCenter. She has held numerous roles in procurement over the last 17 years. Since 2009, she has covered procurement news, events, publications, solutions, trends, and relevant economics at Buyers Meeting Point. Kelly is also the General Manager at Art of Procurement and Business Survey Chair for the ISM-New York Report on Business. Kelly has her MBA from Babson College as well as an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and she has co-authored three books: ‘Supply Market Intelligence for Procurement Professionals’, ‘Procurement at a Crossroads’, and 'Finance Unleashed’.