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Step to the side – it’s where you’ll find the opportunities

September 27, 2017

Many of the jobs in procurement and sales contracting are squeezed into the middle of the process – that is, the part that starts with preparing or responding to bids and tenders, ensuring compliance, preparing and perhaps negotiating the contract. While these are important activities, they are also highly replicable and therefore threatened by automation, standardization and outsourcing. IACCM estimates that job roles focused on these activities will reduce by some 80% over the next five years.

This means that many of today’s practitioners need to focus their efforts somewhere else, providing support or leadership in areas that either are not so impacted by automation, or alternatively are new roles being created as a result of automation. The good news is that such roles not only exist, but also they are increasingly a focus for management attention.

To prepare for these changes, IACCM recommends that its members think about the performance and integrity of trading relationships. The inefficiencies in managing across organizational boundaries offer remarkable opportunities to generate improvements and measurable business value, in both pre-award and post-award management. To achieve this, we need far more focus on the market, an understanding of new suppliers, new forms and sources of competiton, trends in delivering customer value. Building commercial capability requires not just understanding, but also coordination of internal resources to ensure that these sources of value and differentiation have been developed. Such changes will drive new contract models, alternative approaches to pricing or charging and closer integration across organizations.

A holistic view of commercial performance is something that almost all organizations currently lack. Fragmented investments in technology have not helped the situation. But the new wave of analytical software tools is starting to offer very different insights and the ability to prioritize and tackle key sources of value loss and opportunity erosion.

IACCM will shortly release a series of podcasts with advice on how today’s practitioners can make the shift in their role. Alternatively, discover the answers at IACCM’s forthcoming conferences – see for details.

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