Antony Harrat, Global VP indirect procurement/Real Estate, Brightstar Corporation
For the longest time, the IT and Procurement departments within organizations didn’t work in a cohesive manner. IT concentrated on implementing and supporting the business and their technological requirements while procurement was viewed as buyers of materials and weren’t regarded as an asset to the organization.
As time has progressed, the evolution of the partnership between IT and procurement has created a solid foundation of value for organizations. Companies have realized that involving their Procurement teams in the forefront of negotiations has resulted in significant savings as well as alieving their IT teams to concentrate on supporting the business to keep systems up and running.
All organizations want to work smarter not harder, therefore it is important that both the IT and Procurement teams work with one another to share ideas and concerns that may affect the business. As companies grow and expand out on a global scale, both teams must ensure they think “big picture”. This also means that both teams must “think outside the box” when it comes to evaluating what is best for all affiliates or subsidiaries involved.
"Making the right choice for the organization is the goal of the IT/Procurement partnership. Both IT and procurement have the business’ best interest at heart"
“Help IT run Smoother”
Common interest with CIO is the bottom line. How can the procurement team help IT run smoother and not stress about the back and forth haggling with vendors?
Simple, involve procurement up front during the initial conversation with a vendor. Allow procurement to do the negotiations but also involve IT so that there is no adverse effect on the technology they need to have in place. The value of the relationship is exponentially invaluable. Procurement can bring value by conducting market research, bundling purchases to increase discounts and savings that can then be reinvested into the business.
The procurement of global platforms instead of local platforms allows IT to focus on technology and how to improve the business rather than dealing with procuring hardware and lead-time issues. We want our IT team to be as easy as pressing a button to get their Hardware and Software purchased and the Procurement team then takes care of the rest.
At this moment, when it comes to hardware or software, we are able to advise our CFO what it is we are purchasing globally and in real time. By having access to this information, this not only takes tedious work away from the IT organization, but provides a great amount of data that can be leveraged for future negotiations.
Let’s face it, as technology changes at the speed of light, IT will always need someone to partner with and source products and services. Procurement has happily taken on this for IT by conducting initial market research, reviewing requirements, talking to vendors, issuing Requests for Quotes (RFQ) or Request for Proposals (RFP) which may take time, but both parties have an understanding of what will be required to implement the solution effectively. The value of working together results in a better understanding of the requirements and allows procurement to negotiate with knowledge from being involved at the start.
Making the right choice for the organization is the goal of the IT/Procurement partnership. Both IT and procurement have the business’ best interest at heart.
“Minimizing Risk, Software Asset Management”
The procurement team plays a large role in Software asset management (SAM). While compliance is crucial to SAM, procurement folks can provide a good methodology for implementation in an organization.
Once all the infrastructure and processes are defined you can have efficient management, control and protection of the software assets throughout all stages of the software lifecycle.
This will not only help the IT team in the day to day administration, but will also help avoiding or reducing software spend, optimize licensing and builds a foundation to enable IT growth.
I always tell my team that our IT folks need to focus on technology and future solutions for our clients and the procurement team is here to relieve them from the burden of the day to day IT procurement operation.
Partnership is the key and the results will then speak for themselves.