PAT Chat: Art of Procurement’s Phil Ideson on Elevating the Role of Procurement


I recently had the opportunity to participate in an episode of ‘Pat Chat’ the video interview series hosted by Patrick McCarthy, Global Senior Vice President and General Manager of SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass. He gave me the opportunity to talk about the Art of Procurement podcast and my own perspective on our field as a whole…

What part of my job do I enjoy the most…
What I enjoy most is the work that is hard. These challenges present the best opportunity for procurement to impact the enterprise really showcase our capabilities. There's more value to be had in complex categories because they allow us to solve business problems as opposed to just rolling out a one-size fits all process.

How can we build sustainable procurement organizations…
There’s such a ‘boom and bust’ cycle in procurement. First, we’re just going after the low hanging fruit, saving money at all costs. Then we return our focus to transformation, because the successes of the savings cycle have allowed procurement to build a good story. Of course, some of the strategies or the tactics we've used to save money in the past may not be ones that endear us to the rest of the organization – especially when it comes to business partnering. That’s a sustainability issue we need to focus on more.

What does procurement’s real opportunity look like…
Procurement is at a bit of a crossroads today, but I think we have a tremendous opportunity to focus on spend that is material to the organization. We get involved in all kinds of spend because we want people to engage with us. We want to have an opportunity to make an impact.
When we get to the point that we are focusing on the most strategic 20% of enterprise spend, we’re not thinking about purchasing decisions anymore; we’re driving total commercial value. That work is incredibly exciting. I don't think we should aspire to have 100% of spend under management. We should focus on how to enable the business to transact as efficiently and as easily as possible. We have to focus on the stuff that matters.

Click here to view the full video interview:

By Philip Ideson

Keywords: Digital Transformation, Management, Procurement

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