Don’t Let Your Procurement Transformation Catch “Fyre”

May 12, 2017

The business world was recently given a sobering reminder of how a lofty idea can come crashing down in disastrous fashion. The Fyre Festival was going to be the party to end all parties. Guests would be shuttled in on yachts and given 5-star “glamping” accommodations.  The result was going to be earth-shattering…. And it was, just not in the way the executive team had hoped. Excited guests arrived only to be met with plain slices of bread and relief tents. Major performers pulled out as they realized the chaos. Fans and young socialites were left stranded and reeling from a dream that came crashing down. So, where did this go wrong and what do we take away from it?


As leaders in your organization, it is important to learn from others’ mistakes as well as our own. The promoters remind us that even as we get excited about the utopia that will be created by our business change, we need to remember to focus on engaging all effected stakeholders and gathering the necessary requirements. You cannot drive a project on hype alone, you must be diligent in your preparation. The infrastructure (or program) must be able to support your new platform or change.


When we think of procurement changes or transformations, this is even more important to consider. Your new tool or processes will impact users at all levels of the organization. Like the Fyre Festival, you are likely to get one shot to successfully roll out your technology or process changes. While the tool or changes may not be perfect at first, you as a leader need to be confident that it is meeting the business needs and requirements. You need to be able to clearly articulate the problem you are solving with the change. Understanding these key components when selecting and designing your new environment will improve documentation.


We can mitigate these risks and challenges by selecting technology that fits your organization’s actual needs and then making sure the organization will have the right program in place to support it. When vetting our partners, we need to make sure they are experienced in the endeavor and as committed to the project as you are.  Partners also need to be able to communicate when our ideas may be too ambitious for our current business maturity level.  Your partners should enhance your project and provide expertise and experience throughout the timeline.


What can we do to be heroes who brought positive change to our organizations? To avoid a Fyre Festival catastrophe of epic cheese sandwiches and relief tent proportions, you need to take the time to gather all the requirements for the new platform and make sure you have all stakeholders that will be impacted involved. This will ensure that you are making the program or infrastructure changes that can support the tool or that the tool is being configured to match your infrastructure. If you plan correctly, you won’t leave your end-users stranded on an island.


Jimmy Hallsworth

Senior Manager with The Shelby Group