I’ve worked in procurement for the majority of my career, and I’m extremely passionate about the future of the function, and how we transform the function in Accenture to be an industry benchmark. The future of Procurement is not only one that is all about cost containment, but also about finding that delicate balance between matching what the business needs with right suppliers. At a minimum, the suppliers need to balance the offer of the right price, quality and value with their ability to partner with Accenture on our innovation and sustainability agendas. It takes collaboration, teamwork—and lots of data—to get there.

Lit up bridge

In our latest case study, we explain how our organization has standardized, simplified and automated the elements of traditional procurement to create a frictionless buying experience. It not only puts us on a fast track toward enabling intelligent procurement, but also means we’ve saved US$51M in annualized working capital as of fiscal year 2021, reduced request-to-order time by 50% and reduced invoice approval time by 30%. If you’re interested in how we achieved those numbers, and how doing this sets us up to deliver greater value to Accenture’s business, then read on.

Adding sourcing value

Our Procurement Plus organization—where the “Plus” reflects our shift in delivering value above and beyond what is expected of traditional procurement—recognized the need for us to be more data driven in analysis, information tracking and decision making.

Our focus is to deliver value and here’s the four-step journey we defined to get us there:

  • Digitize processes to create access to data
    Our first move was to improve the buyer experience by adopting the SAP Ariba Buying and Invoicing system and deploying the Guided Buying capability across Accenture. We transformed by adding content, digitizing procurement processes, and building automations and intelligence on SAP Ariba, all on the path to intelligent procurement.
  • Set the foundation for advanced analytics
    Building on the digitization of our process we’ve developed several advanced analytics solutions. We’re using Celonis, a process mining and execution management solution, to identify and remove bottlenecks in the procure-to-pay process and improve the quality of execution—which helps us to standardize at scale. We’re also using predictive analytics to simplify the user experience by identifing and assigning the financial data on requisitions and non-purchase order invoices for them.
  • Create a holistic, robust digital strategy
    Our strategy includes two layers of data—first, normalized movement of data to enable a simplified user experience and second, positioning it in a shared location so it can be consolidated, consumed and analyzed to guide partnering decisions. We’re developing a “front door” via ServiceNow to provide users with a single and connected entry for all their procurement needs, and we’ve baked in third-party risk management through a risk score and supplier visibility that leverages both historical data on transactions with existing suppliers and market intelligence on what other suppliers offer
  • Use data to drive intelligent procurement
    Our insights help us to engage with the right suppliers to maintain Accenture’s innovation and sustainability agenda. Looking through the lens of the right data, we can highlight current disconnects in our processes, see how to automatically join them up and analyze their overall effectiveness.

We know that the data and analytics we uncover as we progress along the intelligent procurement journey will help us to be better at managing the whole procurement life cycle. But more than this, it helps us to improve that vital factor in any project’s success—the customer experience.

Delivering a buying process that is more automated and easier means we have been able to sell our business stakeholders on how P+ can offer the next level of service and elevate the value of a Procurement function.

Read more around how partnering with procurement is proving to be powerful for our business.

Patricia Miller

Managing Director, Procurement Plus – Digital Transformation

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