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After researching all the options and evaluating the risks and benefits of adopting a Software as a Service (SAAS); your organization has decided to make the move to e-procurement. Let’s review why this is a financially wise decision !

Making change work for you

In previous blogs we discussed the many benefits of e-procurement. We talked about research done by UPS, Gartner, and other consulting groups. Those benefits include:

– Overall cost savings of up to 15% in the first year
– Greater procedural compliance and transparency
– Clearer lines of authorization
– Improved data security and record keeping
– Increased productivity and decreased cycle time
– Improved vendor relationships

We also discussed some of the perceived risks of moving to e-procurement and how making the right choice can mitigate those risks.  The three reasons for resistance that we discussed in our last blog were:

– Cost of switching
– Reliable availability and security of the system
– Loss of long-standing partnerships with suppliers

Today let’s talk about how your organization can utilize change management to optimize the integration of SAAS e-procurement throughout your organization.

So, what is Change Management?

Change management is the philosophy and process that an organization uses to introduce change to its people. However, each organization is unique and requires an approach to change that will work for that specific organization.  You want an SAAS vendor that understands this and will work to maintain what makes your organization unique.

The development of a strong change management plan can ensure that your organization fully integrates and adapts to e-procurement. Developing a pro-active change management plan will provide the organization impetus that needs to be taken to an individual level.

Can’t we just explain what we’re doing and set up training?

Well, yes. That’s one approach but HOW are you going to explain it? How will your teams and departments react to the change? Have you developed a plan that deals with the human aspect that finds change scary and difficult?

But if the change is beneficial then wouldn’t everyone want to make the change?

That’s a great question. The short answer is ‘no’. But many ‘no’s can become ‘yes’s if there is a pro-active change management plan in place.

When an organization makes changes like this, there are a lot of jobs on all levels that will be impacted. The people who work in those jobs will want to know what effect the change will have on them.

How will this change impact their organizational structure, their job roles, their systems and processes? Will they still have a job?

They will also want to know how this change will benefit them. What’s in it for them?

The organization’s outside suppliers will also be impacted by this change. They will need to be brought on board as well and that means developing a plan that includes their concerns.

I see. So even though the organization’s leadership is aware of the benefits and has decided to make this change, we need to get the people who will be impacted to buy into or they may resist?

Yes, essentially organizations need to develop a plan that is customized to the organization’s vision and culture. Doing so will ensure that the impacted stakeholders (employees and suppliers) receive the awareness, training, and coaching needed to successfully integrate the benefits of the change for the organization and themselves.

What’s the best way to develop a change management pan?

There are many philosophies and studies available for this. We look at several and were able to determine that change management can be winnowed down to a few basic principles:

– Maintaining the organization’s vision and internal culture
– Clear lines of communication up, down, and across the organizational structure
– Enthusiastic backing from leadership that is shared with front-line managers and employees
– Continuous revision and improvement based on growth and feedback
– Clear identification of resources

8 steps identify changeEight basic steps to developing such a plan include:

– Clearly identify what change is being made.
– Identify the reason(s) for the change. What will be improved?
– What benefits will the change deliver? To the organization? To teams? Individuals?
– What impact will this change have on current processes?
– What are the negatives? Will jobs be lost? Addressing negatives openly is important.
– How will this change be implemented? Training? Equipment? What are the resources that will be available?
– What are the goals? How will success be measured? How can each department or individual contribute?
– What could go wrong? And how can it be corrected?

Another step would be to invite buy in of the change by giving your stakeholders the information and then asking them to come back in a few days with their questions. Be prepared to encounter some resistance but by identifying the reasons for resistance, an organization can often defuse it.

Although it’s important when making changes to have the strong, positive backing of leadership throughout the organization, it is also important to address the human issues of uncertainty and resistance.

A formal plan for managing change should be developed early. It should be flexible, proactive and adapt often as change moves through the organization. Change management should be as much a part of any redesign of systems as project management is to ensure the project is integrated, adopted, and used to its fullest benefit.

An established e-procurement vendor like International e-Procurement (IEP)will work with your organization to ensure that your transformation to e-procurement is well managed and easily integrated by both your organization and your suppliers.

If you’d like more information about what International Eprocurement can do for your organization, contact us at 1-866-526-9266 or through our website at