Author: think Procurement
Why a modular approach to procurement solutions is optimal
The common perception within the procurement world is that digitisation is inevitable. Most procurement leaders state “it is not a matter of when – but what”. There a number of solutions now available in the market – be it contract management, sourcing platforms or procure-to-pay – all aimed at different levels of organisations (small, medium, large). But what is not often talked about is the ‘how’. How do I go about implementing such technology and what are the different approaches one can take to ensure the success of it?
Below we discuss the benefits of one such approach – a modular one – touching on the key points below:
- Only pay for what you need
- Risk mitigation
- Stakeholder buy-in
- Future proof
But what is a modular approach?
A modular approach refers to the design of any system composed of separate components that can be connected together. In relation to a cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) it refers to the small packages (modules) of independently deployable services. By utilising a modular SaaS system, businesses can get innovative flexible services to market quickly, easily and affordably.
As business services become more differentiated, so too do their needs. This has increased the demand for customised digital solutions – ones which enable customers to create their own experience. As a result, innovative SaaS companies are identifying this change in customer demand and offering their products and features in a modular way – tailoring solutions to customers rather than offering all customers the same universal package.
In a recent Forrester study, “SaaS Gaps Drive The Need For Integrated Cloud Platforms,” a mere 12% of companies using SaaS applications believed their present application landscapes completely and cleanly met their business needs, which indicates that companies are not getting the customisations in the software they require.
Modularity in a SaaS provides this level of flexibility and customisation that is essential for the modern business to thrive.
There are several other reasons why this modular approach to software implementation is the right way forward – some of which are listed below:
Modular solutions allow for better scalability
For a business to scale effectively it is required to be built in such a way that the model and systems can be rolled out and replicated on a much bigger playing field. So, it is important that the software you use supports your business growth. The customisable nature of a modular approach means by the simple click of a button additional features can be added or amended to meet the changing needs as the business grows. This type of flexibility makes it perfect for scaling a business, since it may be unclear what your goals will look like in 6-12 months. By building with growth in mind, hurdles and growth pains are removed, allowing for greater things to be accomplished.
Only pay for what you need
The ability to turn on the functions as your business needs them, means you only pay for what you need, or more simply you put pay-as-you-go. A major benefit of this payment method is there is limited wasted resources since users only pay for services procured rather than provisioning for a certain amount of resources that may not be used. Solutions for flexible consumption help reduce the financial risk associated with new technology adoption. In addition, by implementing a future proof IT solution today can reduce potential costs in the future.
A self-configurable solution that is fit for purpose
Another aspect of this custom, modular approach that benefits business growth is their perfect fit to your business requirements. By customising the software specifically to your business needs, you will be able to use all the functionality and avoid paying for irrelevant features. This is a common issue with new technology implementations (apart from time and budget blow-outs) as they are not truly fit-for-purpose. This results in poor adoption or only minimal use of the technology which makes it very hard to hit the financial targets set out in the business case.
Modular SaaS software reduces the total cost of ownership for small to mid-size companies. Cloud-based SaaS systems were typically developed for large enterprises with complex problems to be solved. However, market saturation, supply chain integration and technology improvements have made it accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises. The introduction of modular solutions allows SME’s to turn on features they actually need. Meaning they too can get a piece of the pie without having to invest in costly software loaded with functionality they could only dream of using. This in turn increases the likelihood of software adoption by the business and full extraction of the business benefits associated with the introduction of such technology.
This modularity could also be a criterion that influences the adoption and integration rate of new systems. When the perceived risk and start-up cost is low, the chances of buy in from senior management and stakeholders is more likely. The advantage of a modular SaaS system is that it can initially be introduced as a very light and low-cost version to ‘test the water’. As the business gains confidence with the system, additional functionality can be added. A common problem with the introduction of new, complex technology is the change required by business units to fully understand and start using the solution. A modular approach that allows the platform to scale as the business capability scales is a far more enticing prospect to the business as a whole.
Future proof your function
It is imperative for any software deployment to think about the future. How does my implementation fit within the strategic direction of the business – Can I pivot easily? Do I have the flexibility to change course? Am I agile in my approach? A modular software design allows for this flexibility. By having the ability to turn features on and off as required ensures that whatever the business throws at you, you can respond in an agile and efficient matter. Being able to scale as the business scales, being flexible in its integrations, paying for features as you need them are all considerations one must consider when choosing the software that is the ‘best fit’ for your business.
One such product that provides maximum flexibility is think Procurement’s procure-to-pay platform. This self-configurable solution provides a modular approach to implementation where you only need to pay for the features you actually need. At the same time the fully automated solution takes the grunt work out of the procurement to payments process – generating both direct and indirect cost savings.
The platform comes with in-built content (negotiated on an aggregated basis) or has the option to bring your own suppliers to ensure compliance with your contracted pricing. The platform offers modules for approvals, delegations, budgeting, GL code mapping, RFQ’s (just to name a few) – which means that you truly can self-configure the platform to your business needs.
In this ever-changing business world, you cannot afford to be rigid and inflexible with your technology solutions. Change is the new norm – the ability to be agile and flexible with your approach is now expected. Having the right technology in place, that allows for your business to scale is vital to not only staying competitive, but perhaps in existence. The challenge for procurement leaders is to initiate a future proof strategy.
- If you would like to learn more about how think’s P2P platform can help you get set up for the future – get in touch here.