Three benefits of a digital transformation

21 June 2019

A digital transformation can not only add value to your business in the future – it can produce benefits here and now.

Delegates at the CIPS Business Briefing on digitally transforming supply in Manchester were told transformations could attract new talent and cut costs.

1. Attracting the next generation

According to Dell, 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet which may cause some difficulty when it comes to planning for the next generation of workers.

However Dale Turner, director of procurement and supply chain at Skanska UK, said embarking on a digital transformation process could actually be key to drawing younger generations to your business.

He said: “People find transformation a really good topic to get stuck into, especially the younger generation coming through now. They've grown up with technology, whereas I find it a little bit difficult, even with 20 years of experience in construction.

“But graduates these days, they know this stuff inside and out and it's something they're looking for in an employer going forward.”

2. Shifting skills

With the emergence of technology such as automation, the skillset needed by procurement professionals is likely to change.

According to Warren Hallworth, director of consulting at GEP, firms can already consider how their team members can shift their job roles and continue to use their skills effectively.

He said: “Driving automation and efficiencies will actually free up your team to focus on the more strategic elements. I think that can be a challenge for people, because there are people that may not necessarily want to think in a strategic way.

“We have seen firms starting to rethink the roles within the teams, and actually move people into roles they're more suited to. Whereas before, when a buyer may have beeen running the full end-to-end sourcing process, they can instead focus on stakeholder management or supply negotiations, with some of the other elements being automated.”

3. Keeping it cheap

Contrary to popular belief, digital transformation doesn’t have to cost the earth.

When Aman Somal, IT procurement manager, and Jack Greenwood, sourcing manager at Clifford Chance, began working as part of a CIPS knowledge group focusing on digital transformation, they found chatbots could add a huge amount of value to businesses without a hefty price tag.

According to Somal, chatbots can help drive efficiency, increase productivity and provide value for stakeholders.

Somal said: “We’re often asked the same questions over and over again via email and the same information is already available on the intranet or provided in materials previously distributed to stakeholders.”

The chatbot can be used to engage with basic queries, providing employees with the information they need and leaving procurement teams free to handle more high-value tasks.

“We're not adding value by answering simple queries. We're looking to move more strategically. The chatbot takes away that noise. It's giving you the capacity to look at more strategic elements,” he said.

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