Yanni Karalis

Senior Director, Gartner Research

Question 1: What’s the big challenge facing procurement leaders right now?

The world of technology is changing, and organizations want to move with speed and urgency to adopt, develop and implement solutions that will allow them to be competitive in the marketplace. In such an environment, procurement leaders need to be able to manage risk, optimize cost and deliver with speed and urgency. Their biggest challenge is creating differentiated process to allow for speed where it is necessary. The name of the game has changed — and it is not one of risk elimination but one of risk mitigation. Therefore, IT procurement leaders need to be able to move beyond risk aversion and support decision making and calculated risk taking.

Question 2: What is the one take-away an attendee should walk away with from your track?

Your world will never be the same again. The business is demanding you to be strategic, be able to support roadmaps and tight timelines while you keep your eye toward the market and understand the changes that are happening there. The procurement professional of the past, the one that was focusing only on sourcing process execution, is obsolete. Your role has changed and you need to embrace your new role as a sourcing accelerator, risk mitigator and business advisor.

Question 3: What are the must do’s and top 3 best practices to follow when it comes to cost optimization, risk mitigation and speed?

Many procurement professionals continue to focus on cost savings and cost reduction as their primary objectives, and at a time when digital business calls for agility and flexibility, traditional procurement practices can prove inhibitive. So, to accelerate digital transformation, procurement professionals must now represent the critical link between their organization’s internal capabilities and the external digital business ecosystem.

I’d summarize the top 3 best practices as follows:

  • Create differentiated procurement processes that can support speed and agility when it makes sense.
  • Develop your analytical capabilities to be able to play the role of the internal advisor to your stakeholders.
  • Develop your performance scorecard and make sure that you measure your value on key performance indicators (KPIs) beyond savings. Cost optimization does not only come from pushing vendor pricing.

Most important, I’d encourage all procurement professionals to be strategic — in their practices, their processes and their thinking!