The Personas of Procurement: Part 2

October 29, 2020

In last month’s blog installment, The Personas of Procurement: Part 1, we discussed how today’s procurement function has grown into a practice that delivers measurable and meaningful value for organizations. As we discussed last month, we’ve identified four personas that describe a company and how they influence the procurement roadmap. These personas are: The Blank Canvas, The Builder, The Optimizer and The Do-Over.

In this installment, I will highlight The Optimizer and The Do-Over personas. (To read our previous blog that covered The Blank Canvas and The Builder, click here).

The Optimizer

About the Persona

The Optimizer is perhaps the rarest of the four personas in that they are a maturing organization and have probably already gone through sourcing wave planning. They have a formal structure built around downstream procurement and have many structural processes in place already. This organization has consistently, quarter after quarter, proven that they can drive financial results and mitigate organization risk. They have cemented their seat at the table so-to-speak. While there are many organizations that will make it to this point, this is very challenging for most.

The goals of The Optimizer are far different than most because they have the basics down and are now looking to further raise the level of sophistication for business spend management. Their goal is not so much tactical as it is to support the organization in gaining competitive advantages through spend and de-risking transactions.

Optimizer Best Practice

The Optimizer is very proactive in their internal customer collaboration. Their instinct is to help internal customers, knowing from experience that this will prove successful both in short and long term. These are actions of a well-oiled procurement machine – a mature system within the organization. Optimizers take action by aligning to executive company goals and are not afraid to run towards technological innovation if it means more support and potential enhancement for their current processes and policies.

The Do-Over

About the Persona

The Do-Over can be an unfortunate persona to embody. There are companies that have gone through a procurement optimization phase or transformation before and, for a myriad of potential reasons, they have been burned. These organizations built what they felt at the time was a meaningful procurement operation that could handle the capacity and complexities necessary in order to achieve financial enhancement. However, for many reasons, they didn’t utilize what they had created efficiently and/or effectively. They didn’t achieve the return they had hoped for and didn’t see the value they originally envisioned. This causes them apprehension when it comes to taking further steps but at the same time, they’re very interested in rewriting history.

The goals of The Do-Over involve achieving value by reining in spend under management. While they previously built a solid infrastructure, they didn’t optimize their processes and procedures to achieve these goals the first go-around. They desire to get all of the users to adopt and embrace the behavioral change in order to drive success of the program. They also ideally wish to move from only some spend under management to ALL spend under management – move from tactical to being more strategic.

Do-Over Best Practices

You’ve probably heard the saying “measure twice, cut once.” The Do-Over embodies that mentality due to their past. They are extremely methodical with their diligence evaluating new ways forward. Their past has made them extremely effective planners who are constantly double and triple checking their work as they go. In order to mitigate internal fatigue, they are firm believers in crawl, walk, run when adopting a new program or infrastructure. This allows them to not only see the value, but to then demonstrate that value back to enterprise confirming they’re getting it right this time around.  

No matter where you are at in your journey, I hope that you can identify with one of these personas easily – The Blank Canvas, The Builder, The Optimizer or The Do-Over. No matter the size of your organization, there is no “wrong” place to be at the moment. However, creating awareness around your current circumstances and where you are can help you in saving time and resources when planning where you wish to go in the future.

By: Mark Janz, Senior Account Director