Innovations in Governance & Compliance: GEP

Published September 11, 2019

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Written by: Future of Sourcing Awards
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Can you outline why your team embarked on this project and the problem that needed to be solved?

The client, a multinational Oil & Gas company with users across multiple locations had been using a legacy system along with other stand-alone systems to drive its procurement operations and associated activities such as savings tracking. The lack of integration between these different systems complicated the processes to be followed by the end user. Along with reducing process complexities and improving efficiencies, the client also wanted to improve compliance to global procurement processes across all sites while pushing locally required differences for each affiliate. 
GEP partnered with the client to implement a single, integrated procurement platform – SMART by GEP – that could replace the legacy system and also be fine-tuned to incorporate regional nuances. The aim was also to automate controls, thereby improving compliance. Integrating the process on a single application and redesigning it would help cut down the procurement cycle time.  

How were things done originally and what was the inspiration to innovate the process?

The legacy software was an on-premise, outdated system being used by the procurement team along with other home-grown tools. This resulted in low visibility and transparency into procurement processes across different locations. In addition, procurement processes were also being managed offline, using tools such as MS-Word, PowerPoint, E-mail, etc. The then-adopted processes required the same information to be entered across multiple systems, causing errors due to manual data entry and reducing the procurement team’s focus on strategic, value-adding activities.  

What KPIs did you use to measure success for this project? (For example: performance, customer satisfaction, revenue, sales or relevant financial gains?)

The outcomes were measured using the following metrics: 
  • Time taken to replace the legacy systems with SMART by GEP for end-to-end procurement operations  
  • User adoption across different global locations
  • Number of suppliers onboarded  
  • Number of sourcing events conducted using the platform
  • Time taken to complete each procurement activity
  • Number of savings projects initiated, and savings realized 

How do you plan to ensure that the new model remains relevant and adapts to the future needs of the market?

SMART by GEP is an open platform that supports future innovation with emerging technologies such as AI, RPA, IoT and Blockchain. The platform can be further leveraged to automate spend analysis, project tracking, opportunity assessment and the entire source-to-pay process. With the ability to be able to process heavy volumes of procurement information and drive procurement processes – for instance: build a huge contract repository or a supplier database with thousands of supplier catalogs – SMART by GEP would help users of the platform perform compliant purchasing to fulfil their requirement with just a few clicks.  
Since SMART by GEP is a cloud-native procurement platform, any changes and enhancements would reflect enterprise-wide for the client. In addition, GEP invests heavily in innovation and the client will be able to enable any future improvement to the existing platform directly from the cloud.  
In addition, a feedback loop has been implemented within the client organization to get feedback. This feedback will be used to enhance the product roadmap and improve user experience.  

What advice do you have for those who may want to implement this innovative approach in their own organizations?

  • Identify clear goals and objectives for the program, ranging from tangible business case benefits to intangible goals such as improving end user experience
  • Ensure alignment with senior stakeholders on goals, project timing, staffing and approach
  • Agile deployment methodology with continuous user engagement and the willingness to iterate and improve design continuously
  • Suppliers having a seat at the table as very important stakeholders in the S2P process
  • Organizational focus on process optimization, master data harmonization and change management
  • Not being restricted to the program as a technology-only project and having a razor focus on the end-user experience, adoption and the business benefit 

How did you get your company and/or stakeholders to get on board and support this project?

Multiple factors contributed toward building a strong business case for this project: 
  • The client’s legacy system was outdated and on-premise. Upgrading the system and implementing the change across all locations would be a time-consuming and expensive affair.  
  • Deploying cloud-native SMART by GEP unified procurement platform with functionalities supported by Artificial Intelligence, RPA and NLP, among others, was a better option compared to upgrading the aging infrastructure of the legacy system. The acquisition and operational cost of SMART by GEP was comparatively lower than the cost to upgrade the existing legacy application.
  • GEP was open to co-develop, enhance and fine tune SMART by GEP based on the client’s requirement to ensure coverage of the end-to-end procurement process
  • Internally, with this client, GEP also increased its portfolio of clients in the Oil & Gas industry significantly through the successful implementation of SMART by GEP. The client is currently pleased with the capabilities of the SMART by GEP platform and intends to increase its spectrum of usage within the organization. 

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