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Talent not spreadsheets will bridge the gap between digital promise and realisation

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This blog has been written by Market Dojo’s CEO Alun Rafique, ahead of our upcoming webinar The real obstacle to digital transformation:  Finding an alternative to spreadsheets and email. Alun, Co-Founder of Market Dojo, started the business alongside Nick Drewe and Nic Martin. The team saw an opportunity in the procurement world to help buyers with negotiating (via reverse auctions), by creating an easy to use, on-demand platform. The founders of Market Dojo have backgrounds covering purchasing and software development as well as sales and marketing. This has been obtained through experience with consultancies, blue-chip organisations and many varied software industries. The balance in these core skills has helped develop solutions for procurement teams to deliver real value while mitigating risk. It has also helped Market Dojo create a friendly environment focused on customer success and a business which has grown strongly year on year.

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When I read Jon Hansen’s article regarding spreadsheets and the need for procurement to move away from the reliance on them to do their job, I did not see it from the standpoint of software or technology alone. The truth of the matter is that the discussion is much bigger than one involving what software or technology is needed for procurement professionals to do their jobs.

Instead, it is a question of talent, and more specifically the growing talent gap and how a continuing reliance on how we did things in the past can prevent us from acquiring the necessary skill sets to be both relevant and productive in the emerging digital age. 

Living Outside of The Box

The concept of thinking – or in this case living, outside of the box is one with which you are likely familiar. When you view your role as a procurement professional through which lens do you see it? 

Is it a functional role, or is it a strategic role? 

With the former, how you do the job, i.e., acquire goods or services, including the use of spreadsheets can lead to considerable debate. Without sounding dismissive, because I believe that the spreadsheet discussion is one that is both important and necessary, we are still confining or perhaps resigning ourselves to a traditional role that is not likely to exist in the near “digital” future.

In this context, and of paramount importance are questions regarding whether our continuing reliance on spreadsheets as well as how we have always worked is hindering our readiness for the digital future. 

In short, there is are much bigger questions we must ask, including how the continuing use of spreadsheets and emails fit into the overall digital equation.

Where Are You in The Talent Gap?

According to industry experts, there are three main obstacles between digital transformation promise and its realization. Besides the paucity of clean data – which is an important discussion for another day, cybersecurity and the growing talent gap are the other two.

In the digital age, where everything we do is not only in the cloud but moving beyond the cloud to the edge, organizations require new skill sets from their workforce –, especially with their procurement and supply chain professionals. The reason I am emphasizing procurement and supply chain is that analyst’s estimate that 70 percent of all digital transformation initiatives will be “delivered” through an organization’s supply chain. And you cannot deliver a digital solution without using a digital solution or platform. Spreadsheets – at least from a traditional use standpoint, are not part of the emerging digital reality.

Unless you believe that digital is a short-lived blip on our collective radar screens, your proficiency at using a spreadsheet will likely not matter going forward. Or to put it another way, digital is happening, and you can either get ahead of the curve or play catch-up down the road.

Given the growing talent gap being proactive makes a great deal of sense. What do you think?  

On November 13th, a guest panel of industry experts will be talking about The real obstacle to digital transformation: Finding an alternative to spreadsheets and email.” I invite you to use the following link to reserve your place for what promises to be a very interesting and important 60-minutes. I will be joined by Procurement Insights’ Jon Hansen and industry expert guest panelists, Iain McKenna of Sourcing Solved and Kelly Barner of Buyers Meeting Point.

 

November 4, 2019

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