CIO Advisor Magazine - Ensuring Successful Implementation of Procurement Solutions

CIO Advisor APAC Magazine - December 2017

If you believe the statistics published over the past few years, somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of change initiatives fail. ArcBlue have identified that many organizations and their project teams could do better when it comes to initiating and implementing change, especially in relation to the sourcing and implementation of procurement technology solutions.

ArcBlue supports organizations to understand their needs, source the solution, and to manage the change process across the organization. 

ArcBlue provide a range of services across all aspects of procurement including procurement change programs, training, and e-learning; spend analytics and embedding entire procurement teams to reduce costs. Led by Daniel Fielding and Chris Newman, the organization has grown significantly over the last three years and now has an extensive footprint across the Asia Pacific region with the head office in Melbourne, Australia.

 A key service offering is in the procurement technology space. ArcBlue have deep insight across the various procurement technology offerings in the market and their future development plans; allowing them to advise on the right solution for each client. They support organizations to understand their needs, source the solution, and to manage the change process across the organization. ArcBlue believe that managing the change process across the organization is the critical enabling factor for successful implementations. “You can talk to two clients with exactly the same procurement system – one will love it and the other one will hate it. We see the difference is in the process that was used and the change management that followed – often it is nothing to do with the actual system,” explains Daniel Fielding, Director, ArcBlue.

 

The first step of any engagement is to work with the organization to determine the genuine business and system expectations. Chris Newman, Director of ArcBlue outlines that, “We often go into a client and realize quickly that they haven’t really understood what they actually need from the solution – they jump too quickly to selecting a solution. This is a real risk, and we have seen many times that systems have lasted less than a year if the needs haven’t been properly understood.”

When a solution has been selected, it then comes down to change management. ArcBlue believe that change should happen with stakeholders, not to them. As stakeholders can be anyone who interacts with your organisation, we need to consider not just the staff, but how the change impacts on suppliers and clients. Engagement with stakeholders (both internal and external) is a journey and it starts with good planning.

Confidence in your change strategy begins by understanding the project and its objectives. Is it a system change? A business process change? What are the key project milestones? How do you intertwine your deliverables and make sure your change can help guide your project? Once you have a holistic view of the project, it’s time to identify potential change barriers. What is essential to remember about change barriers, is that they are not always the real issue. They are more commonly the perceived issue so uncovering the real blockers is key. The mantra of consistent reinforcement is essential to change management.

Where possible, do your research, and then create meaningful (i.e. plain English, engaging and beneficial) messages up front that you will use throughout the life of the entire change. It is all about what you need at a point in time, and then linking that back to your overarching goals.

Never forget what it is you are there to achieve in the first place. The question of ‘What’s in it for me’ is key – “this question needs to be answered honestly and clearly—most individuals will detect a company line a mile away,” Fielding concludes. 

ArcBlue’s approach has delivered some great success for their clients and has been a key factor in the growth of the company over the last few years, contributing to their status as the leading procurement consultancy group in the  AsiaPacific region.