User interface vital to success of procurement tools

posted by Francis Churchill
15 March 2018

Procurement needs to prioritise user interface when adopting digital tools.

User adoption is “one of the most important factors” in digital procurement but is given the least amount of time, effort or focus, said David Sinclair, director at PwC.

“User experience is not a nice-to-have, it’s not an optional extra,” he said.

“If you operate in an organisation where you’re dependent on users using and buying goods and services through that solution, then user adoption is the ultimate determinant of success,” he said. “If the users don’t use, nothing happens.”

Speaking at the Ivalua Now conference in London, Sinclair said procurement departments introducing digital tools need to benchmark user interfaces against consumer technologies and not similar business tools. “One of the key challenges I get from everywhere I go, especially users, is, ‘Why can’t my buying experience be as simple as when I buy something online?’” he said.

Sinclair said successful user adoption required a lot of stakeholder profiling and engagement before, during and after implementation, but that a lot of the time this becomes an afterthought. He added that a strong business case for a policy change was never a enough on its own to ensure stakeholders buy in to a new process.

“The business case is never that persuasive or that emphatic that a business user is just simply going to say, ‘Behold, the business case tells me to do it, therefore I shall do it.’ Life doesn’t work like that,” he said.

Buyers also need to be aware of the growing trend towards procurement being asked to manage and mitigate third-party risk. “Historically risk has sat in other parts of the business, invariably finance, external audit, compliance. Increasingly now these activities and disciplines are merging,” he said.

“One of the great trends I’m currently involved in with some of our key clients is: how do you have a common view of risk? How do you have a holistic approach to it? How do you ensure that risk is properly calibrated across your third parties?

“No longer in this world can we have a siloed approach to risk.” he said.

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