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From Overwhelm to Orchestration: Empowering Your Digital Procurement Stack

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In the fast-paced world of procurement, sifting through a sea of tech solutions while ensuring smooth coordination among teams and processes can feel overwhelming.

That's where procurement orchestration steps in, promising to revolutionize how businesses handle their procurement operations. But getting everyone on the same page isn't easy.

As Spend Matters points out, procurement orchestration is “meant to break silos and create bridges between applications, thereby making [procurement] complexity less visible or even disappear.” Yet, amidst the buzz surrounding orchestration, there's a pervasive misconception that orchestration is merely about integrating systems or automating processes.

Recently, ORO Labs teamed up with Art of Procurement to chat with execs from Bayer, Bristol Myers Squibb, Goldman Sachs, and ProcureTech to dive deep into the world of orchestration and its role in modern procurement strategies.

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Why is Procurement Orchestration so revolutionary?

Unlike traditional procurement software, procurement orchestration isn't just about providing a solution for one challenge. It's a holistic approach to a number of challenges that optimizes processes, manages data smartly, and stays flexible in a fast-changing world. Think of it as a toolkit that grows and adapts with your business, helping you stay ahead of the game and uncover fresh opportunities for improvement.

"I'm happy to not call it procurement [not process] orchestration. What procurement orchestration does for you is manage that holistic ecosystem businesses require to meet enterprise goals. There's been a mindset shift in terms of procurement’s influence on a business. With orchestration, we can truly be people that drive sales revenue and business goals. Procurement needs orchestration."
-Sachi Rai Gupta, Global Head of Strategy, Intelligence and Digital Transformation, Bristol Myers Squibb.

Best Practices for Procurement Orchestration

Want to join the procurement elite? Here are some top tips from industry leaders like Bayer and Bristol-Myers to help you supercharge your orchestration game.

"A lot of our users are frustrated with the lack of movement between systems and the lack of visibility they have into the process. A dynamic solution allows you to respond quickly. The reality is problem statements can change very quickly. You need to have a solution that is dynamic and sadly ERP solutions can't do that. An orchestration layer allows you to bring in flexibility that is greater than all the parts of an in-suite solution."
-Chris Vessey, Executive Director, Global Product Strategy & Transformation, Goldman Sachs.

Start with Good Data

Good data is the backbone of any successful procurement strategy. With clear visibility into your processes, you can spot bottlenecks, reduce risks, and make smarter decisions. Orchestration makes it easy, giving you a bird's-eye view of everything that's going on and helping you stay one step ahead by centralizing all the information flying across disparate systems.

Unlike traditional application suites or integration approaches, orchestration empowers process mining by focusing on processes rather than transactions and accommodating steps that occur outside or between systems.

Keep it Simple

Procurement shouldn't be rocket science. That's why a user-friendly interface is key. Say goodbye to clunky systems and hello to a streamlined workflow that's as easy as pie. With an orchestration platform that's built for procurement, you can kiss confusion goodbye and say hello to a happier, more productive team.

By unifying every process step and system in a single interface, users don’t need to learn how to navigate multiple systems. Process standardization is enforced automatically – without the need for complicated documentation or hand-holding by procurement teams. Organizations can expect a decrease in stakeholder frustration and a decrease in maverick spending as procurement processes come to mirror those of everyday consumers.

Stay Agile, Stay Ahead

The world moves fast, and your procurement strategy needs to keep up. That means being ready to adapt and evolve at a moment's notice. With an agile approach, you can test, iterate, and innovate your way to success, leaving slow-moving ERP dinosaurs in the dust.

Procurement stakeholders need to be empowered to adapt workflows swiftly in response to their ever-evolving procurement needs and systems.

In order to bridge the gap between procurement expertise and technological prowess, a no-code/low-code solution is essential when considering a procurement orchestration solution. Orchestration platforms should incorporate pre-set procurement semantics and offer composability, facilitating seamless integration and customization.

“Relying solely on traditional ERP systems is useful for financial purposes, but this hurts a procurement team’s ability to drive innovation and be agile [the need for] flexibility in procurement solutions is crucial. Procurement stakeholders need to be able to quickly transition to make changes or iterations to procurement workflows without disrupting the user experience for requesters and suppliers.”
-Elisabeth Schlag-Lawrence, SVP, Head of Procurement Governance and Enabling, Bayer.

AI: Your Procurement Secret Weapon

AI isn't just for sci-fi movies anymore. A sophisticated orchestration platform facilitates the transition from reactive to proactive approaches by delivering intelligent workflows. With the right tools, you can harness the power of AI to supercharge your procurement efforts. From streamlining processes to spotting trends, AI-driven workflows can give you the edge you need to stay ahead of the competition.

These workflows ensure that every user receives timely information and actionable recommendations, expediting cycle times and enhancing decision-making processes. To successfully implement an AI-driven orchestration approach, organizations should invest time in pre-work, such as a dedicated six-week period with ORO, to feed procurement data into AI intelligence systems and establish essential parameters like self-service versus white glove processes and defining spend categories or recommended suppliers.

Where to Start?

As Sachi Rai Gupta wisely puts it, "One of the best 'aha' moments is not going for best of breed procurement suites, but for solutions that fit our ecosystem and our needs."

Ready to take your procurement game to the next level? It's time to invest in the right procurement orchestration solution. At ORO, we've got you covered, offering a range of platforms to suit businesses of all shapes and sizes. Let's embark on this journey together and unlock the full potential of your procurement strategy.