Last week was one of the more interesting ones on the social media circuit, e.g., LinkedIn.
To start, a post referencing Dirk Spijkers raised an interesting debate regarding technology and partnerships. According to Spijkers, “at a high level, you must do more than provide great technology,” although great technology is still important. However, beyond the technology, you also “need to become a trusted “expert” partner who understands procurement organisations’ challenges across the enterprise and beyond.”
In my comment to that post, I said I would write an article about “breaking down the functional silos that limit the ability of internal and external stakeholders to work collectively toward a mutually beneficial outcome.” Today’s post is the fulfilment of that promise. I will also discuss the “critical role that a service provider will play in facilitating this collaboration to ensure seamless integration and user adoption.
The “Right” Skills
According to an August 2022 CIPS report, success in breaking down silos is directly linked to an organisation’s effectiveness at “facilitating collaboration to ensure seamless integration and user adoption” of new technologies. In short, and as intuitively user-friendly and effective digital tech – including AI is today, it still requires people with the right skills to work collaboratively toward a mutually beneficial result.
The report’s skills included “communication, internal stakeholder management, influencing, supplier relationship management, and negotiation.”
While the above observations sound entirely reasonable, a Deloitte Global Survey of CPOs indicates that a significant gap between recognition and realisation of skills still exists. The survey’s findings suggest that most CPOs are dissatisfied with the progress and results of their digital transformation strategies.
You may be wondering where I am going with this track. I will now come to the point. No matter how great the technology, digital success is built on the foundation of an organisation’s “digital readiness.” The core component of digital readiness means having the right talent and skills to communicate and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders. The collective and proactive application of these skills breaks down silos and paves the way for digital transformation success.
A Degree For Success
Several studies and corresponding articles indicate that in the five years leading up to the pandemic, many CPOs did not believe their existing teams possessed the necessary skills to deliver their strategic objectives. As I thought about these findings – which were somewhat surprising, a post by Iain Campbell-Mckenna caught my attention.
The post “Procurement’s Conscious Degree Bias” lamented the profession’s continuing practice of screening job candidates using a university or college degree as the proverbial “golden ticket” to get their foot in the door. How important is a candidate’s degree pedigree for choosing the next great hire? To what degree (excuse the pun) is having a diploma a predictor of success? Based on CPOs’ views of their team’s capabilities, prioritising education isn’t working.
There are a couple of great articles about “hiring for skills” by Chris Burt (University Business, July 2022) and Jonathan Finkelstein (Forbes May 2021) regarding the shift from diploma knowledge to “skilled experience.”
The message from a growing number of procurement industry experts and executives is becoming clear. Organisations need a team with the “right skills” to successfully break down the silos to achieve the level of digital readiness that leads to success.
Partner Skill and Experience Is Also Key
So, why am I talking about end-user skills as a solution provider?
Because when you are selecting a digital transformation partner, you have to look beyond the great technology to find the right skills, experience, and expertise to turn the digital promise into a digital success reality.
In a future post, I will talk about how you can assess a service provider’s technology and industry knowledge to optimise your success by leveraging advanced intelligent solutions.
TYS, Chief Relationship Officer