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Does Procurement Have to be a Road Block to Innovation?

Most innovations are evolutionary changes to existing processes, uses, or functions, which are made better by one (or several) contributing inventions.

If innovations infer the “use” of a new idea or method, then an invention that leads to innovation is really qualified by how much it changes the behaviors of the users.

Procurement Lead Thinking vs Innovation Lead Thinking

The enterprise technology procurement process is more straightforward & seamless when selecting a single, or fewer vendors. This forces evaluators to choose the best fit, versus the best possible solution for each initiative, project or problem you are solving. A position they don’t want to be in.

This is a common mistake made by too many when selecting vendors. Rather than choosing a vendor that can deliver the best possible solution, today, tomorrow and for many years to come, a compromise has to be reached to reduce the overhead put on other teams in security, procurement and legal.

The days of high levels of technical debt, and lack of interoperability are gone. This opens up vendors to be selected purely on being best in class at their core business, which play nicely with any other systems that do the same.

It is an approach we can now take favouring innovation, and not what is best possible fit for the the technical landscape internally or otherwise. Today, open source platforms and API’s make it possible to have your cake and eat it too.

Generally speaking, the more vertical or horizontal products and services a company offers is generally proportional to the decline in investment and therefore innovation they are able to deliver on additional products or services that are not part of their core business.

This same investment must be spread over the portfolio. The core products that generate the most revenue and margin, will therefore receive the most investment.

Others become supplementary, or loss leaders. Basically minimum viable products (MVP’s) used to stay competitive with the changing landscape of their market, and offering everything into an “All-In-One”.

This strategy attempts to win market share by eliminating the competition by reducing their price points either drastically below market, cost, or at a loss, depending on the number of core products.

This strategy does not attempt to win customers by having the best possible product or service in the market. And it is here that we arrive at the compromise the evaluator has ultimately made.

Does Procurement Have to be a Road Block to Innovation?

Technical Conformity Thinking vs User Experience Thinking

Look at the enterprise email story. Users brought their own devices to work well before BYOD, because the user experience is far superior than anything being built and delivered to the standard issue corporate devices.

Employees would rather carry two devices and consume only those applications forced upon them on the lesser device. At some stage, enough pressure comes from the business to strong arm the IT department into doing whatever they have to, to make the backend infrastructure work with the user experience they demand, rather than what is imposed upon them. Enter critical mass adoption and engagement through BYOD.

Everything as a service paved the way for best in class applications to be built for the business, to be operated by the business, which effectively removed IT departments from the purchase equation.

In an era where enterprise applications are built mobile first, (that hardware that employee's own themselves) and leapfrog over the desktop altogether, superior user experiences will lead to mass adoption and engagement and force the backend, or related systems to conform to them.

Physical Marketing Thinking vs Digital Marketing Thinking

When television became commercial, the first marketers were buying advertisements the same length and format as recorded in radio. Once they changed their thinking and adopted the new format, we eventually  ended up with scripted, 30 second commercials.

With the emergence of the world wide web, the advertising industry's first instinct was to buy banner advertisements and display them everywhere like a digital magazine. That’s a physical approach to something that is digital.

Take a superior user experience, gain critical mass and adoption, drive engagement, and you have a platform in which to build services that drive real value for all the stakeholders involved, and the marketing discipline skews and evolves once again.

What’s interesting about the attention that curated, feed driven targeted marketing demands is that it is effectively found time. At an airport, on a  bus, during, or between sessions at a conference.

Take messaging: While the home telephone enabled real-time communication, and the web passive communication, messaging enables constant communication. Conversations are never ending, and colleagues, friends and industry peers come and go at a pace dictated not by physicality, but rather by attention.

Unfortunately, I see a lot of marketers & event professionals continue to exclude events from their integrated marketing communications mix, because on the surface it is a physical and therefore immeasurable landscape.

What if we lead our requirements with the data first, and worked our way back through the end user experience, all the way to the backend technology, right back to event management and registration.

The lifecycle of an event starts with planning and registration, sure, but it is the end goals and objectives that all those formalities are meant to lead us towards. Now we are able to define our requirements with those end goals and objectives, in a digital way (data) and work backwards through to what drives that data (user adoption, and engagement) through a superior user experience.

I work for DoubleDutch, a Live Engagement Platform that delivers digital measurability to event professionals and marketers who operate in a physical landscape. Want to learn more? One of our reps would be happy to help

By DoubleDutch Insider | May 25, 2016

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