Growth and Optimization

How Procurement Leaders Are Driving Digital Transformation: An SAP Concur Conversations Podcast with Amazon Business

SAP Concur Team |

Procurement teams have long been tactical powerhouses, delivering functional value that keeps their organizations’ operations running smoothly and within budget. Now often aided by ever-growing digital capabilities, the role of procurement teams has expanded far beyond a tactical mandate to something far more strategic. Today’s procurement leaders are digital transformation evangelists, making strategic contributions to bottom-line decisions and driving smart business buying. With system integrations, they’re improving spend visibility and empowering business buyers.

In this episode of the SAP Concur Conversations podcast, Satya Mishra, Director of Product Management at Amazon Business, speaks with Jeanne Dion, Vice President of the Value Experience Team at SAP Concur, about the shift in procurement’s role from tactical to strategic, how today’s procurement teams are digital transformation evangelists, and the transformational power of integrations.

Below are highlights from their conversation, including how e-procurement — the process by which businesses purchase products and services from other businesses online — paired with systems integration reduces manual reconciliation, provides company-wide financial insights, and keeps business buyers happy.

You can listen to this episode on Apple, Spotify, or your favorite place to find podcasts.

E-procurement accelerates smart business buying

When systems talk to each other automatically, this seamless data sharing reduces manual reconciliation. Systems integration might mean, for instance, connecting your company’s procurement system to your expense systems and suppliers. For example, “If an employee purchases something on Amazon Business, instantly the purchase data flows into Concur,” Mishra says. “It gets auto-reconciled.” That’s one of the many benefits of combining e-procurement with systems integration when it comes to saving organizations time and money. “Integrations, or connected systems, can help them achieve that goal quicker in a quick and easy fashion,” Mishra says.

“Integrations are really empowering transformation across the organization,” Dion adds. “It’s not just a technology project. It is a game changer.” Having a procurement system in its own silo can create inefficient processes for collaborating teams. “If you can’t connect it to anything else, you really can’t deliver the type of transformation that you’re trying to deliver across the organization,” she says.

Increased spend visibility can limit rogue purchasing

One of the biggest benefits of system integration for businesses is increased spend visibility and implementing automated approval workflows. Procurement leaders are capitalizing on these benefits.

“They need to have better visibility into spending so that they can make better buying decisions,” Mishra says. “Doing this through online buying — having tools to have centralized spend, having tools to control spend — is going to open more opportunities for them to better save in cost and bring in more convenience and value, not only for themselves but their business buyers too.”

Company-wide, other teams like finance as well as the business buyers also benefit from improved spend visibility in multiple ways, including increased control over purchase tracking, more automated policy adherence, and deeper insights into past purchasing. “You want to make your spend converted to a managed spend where you have full control and visibility,” Mishra says.

“Business leaders, finance leaders, have better visibility into that data,” he adds. “They also have better visibility into the insights that it can provide for future purchase behavior. You are able to better manage that spend.” Moreover, easily accessible, ongoing access to data can prevent spend surprises down the line. “In finance, the last thing you want to be is surprised,” Mishra says.

Make purchasing a satisfying employee experience

Another example of the transformative power of procurement and expense management integrations is the streamlined buying experience for employees. Tools can guide business buyers, helping them to make selections that adhere to purchasing policies and facilitate getting their requests approved and delivered in a timely way.

Organizations can gain internal awareness of procurement policies and increase user satisfaction by educating employees in communications such as emails and intranet portals. Mishra recommends acknowledging employee support. “Make sure that if you have employees who are becoming champions in procurement, you reward them and bring their story in front of others, so that it encourages others also to follow the best practices,” Mishra says. “Proactively track the benefits and share the benefits with employees so that they know why this is important.”

Learn about the transformative power of procurement and expense management integrations and the benefits of smart business buying in this SAP Concur Conversations podcast.

About Amazon Business

Amazon Business combines the selection, convenience, and value customers have come to know and love from Amazon, with unique benefits and integrations designed for businesses of all sizes. From purchasing professionals to occasional buyers, Amazon Business has hundreds of millions of items to help meet the needs of your organization.

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