Achieving greater operational effectiveness is at the heart of most company initiatives.
Meanwhile digitalisation is a key and critical enabler for enterprise success.
Zip’s 2023 Trends in B2B Purchasing report looks into how organisations are addressing today’s complex procurement processes, where end-to-end B2B purchasing workflows have remained stagnant for over a decade. But that need not be the case. Not when digitalisation is introduced to the mix.
Based on the responses of 1056 US-based finance and accounting professionals, it highlights that no matter how big or small the company, challenges exist regarding such workflows at all levels. Every month, procurement teams are having to deal with high volumes of new purchase requests, paired with them taking a long time to get approved.
Team efficiency and productivity (62.6%), and financial (48.7%), security and privacy compliance (48.2%) climb to the top of the pile of priorities in 2023, where 3 in 4 respondents think ‘greater visibility into their software purchase request and renewals process would allow them to reduce their overall software spend.’
How can Purchasing processes be improved?
As a result of such stagnation, the report identifies how teams are turning to automation to increase efficiency, save on costs and enhance team productivity. As many as 70.9% of respondents believe ‘most of their process for initiating purchase requests and approvals for B2B software and services should be automated.’
In turn they are addressing the key challenges from the employee experience needs to be improved (35.5%), to existing processes slowing teams down (34.4%).
31.2% said their B2B purchasing process is broken, although there is room for improvement here to implement a new software or vendor purchase (something admitted by nearly 50%).
What next for B2B Purchasing?
Automation. Automation. Automation!
Respondents clearly demonstrate the want and need for solutions to help streamline processes to enhance productivity, thus wholly improving company success. Buying software and services processes needn’t be difficult; seeking the right tools will aid more than just productivity, by enabling the employee to do their job properly and ensure approvals are done correctly to reduce risk and compliance issues.
- The report focuses on software spend but this isnt a problem speciifc only to software purchases
- Employees still rely on manual forms of communication to manage initial purchasing requests for new software and services. Where there is a process its often a one size fits all process that is not fit for purpose.
- All of the above leads to friction between employees and the procurement/purchasing team which inhibits the opportunity to contribute to the high-level objectives of the business
- Focus automation towards the ‘tail’ of spend, where intelligent determination of risk can route repeat or renewal purchases through automated approval channels and new ‘low value’ purchases can triage to a solution that handles the vendor setup and orders/payment that eliminate the need for length vendor onboarding processes
- Workflow visibility for both employees (requestors) and procurement (buyers / approvers) through digital solutions that have leading UX and workflow visualisation is solving the challenge to improve employee experience