Natalia Graves, experienced Chief Procurement Officer, explains the complexities of digital transformation in procurement

The Digital Insight is joined by Natalia Graves, an experienced CPO professional who has recently overseen a procurement transformation at Veeam Software. 

Natalia emphasises how important it is for modern procurement professionals to look beyond procurement and understand the wider business strategy…

 You were tasked with implementing a digital transformation at Veeam Software, can you tell us more about that?

I was brought in to continue an evolution journey to further develop, build and lead the procurement capability. Veeam was at a state where procurement happened and it happened fine but at some point, a company grows and it needs to happen in a more mature way. I was really tasked to further evaluate already existent best practices at Veeam and broaden them across the company and to introduce new ones where it made sense.

Part of that was looking at automation, simplifying and accelerating procurement and travel systems and processes. That included evaluating and rolling out a company-wide source to pay platform that allowed Veeam teams across the globe to move a bit faster.

What needed to change?

I think the first thing that stood out to me is that people were absolutely exhausted. People within procurement, people around procurement, could not really keep their heads above the water with the huge backlog of contracts that existed and stakeholders were complaining about the procurement black hole. Procurement was an administrative discipline. It was very manual and functioned but it didn’t look at the spend strategically and there were no categories, no metrics around it, nothing. It simply just processed the paper.

A model like this actually does work for small organizations until a company grows to a certain size and procurement can happen ad-hoc and anyone can do it to an extent but when you really need to think about how the spend is done and do it smartly and negotiate contracts and do the planning around it, you do need a process and you need to look at optimizing how you do this so the company really comes to a point of evolution and then you must build up the best practices. Build on the best practices that you have already and introduce the new ones and eventually transform an organization.

Listen to the full interview on the latest episode of The Digital Insight!