The True Power of Process Orchestration

June 11, 2024
June 10, 2024
min read
The True Power of Process Orchestration

Procurement is awash in new technology, but challenges remain. In fact, new challenges are popping up as a direct result of this technological deluge.

Too many procurement processes have become frustratingly obtuse and overly complicated. In most organizations, simple intake processes now include dozens of steps, consisting of long forms and spread out across siloed stakeholders, all of whom must toggle between several different applications and systems in order to adequately submit or complete a request.

What’s the way forward? One answer: process orchestration.

“We are witnessing a critically important innovation happening right now,” wrote Dr. Epstein, Partner at Kearney and author of the famous procuretech spider map, in a LinkedIn post last year. “This has the potential to be the [proverbial] 1 app to rule them all... or at least the single smart interface to all the capabilities on the chart.”

What is process orchestration?

Process orchestration refers to the strategy—enabled by process orchestration platforms—of coordinating automated business processes across teams and existing, integrated systems. These processes can facilitate all procurement-related activities. Importantly, they can also wrap around all your organization's existing systems and accommodate employees' many different working preferences and styles, which is why experts such as Dr. Epstein are so bullish on them.

Rather than simply adding to your organization's complex stack of tools, process orchestration allows you to use your existing mix of people, data, and tech better together.

How so, exactly?

Well, thanks to their holistic integrations, with process orchestration technology, you can create and execute procurement processes that meet requesters and approvers in whatever application environments they already work in. You can extend to employees in those environments cutting-edge functionalities, such as Al (which you can connect to any of your organization's various data systems and policy repositories) and real-time, in-workflow collaboration.

And because process orchestration platforms funnel all captured data back to a centralized portal, you can ensure that all actions taken across a process are transparent and visible to all stakeholders.

The true power of process orchestration

The true promise of process orchestration is to finally put internal shared service teams like procurement in charge of the tools they deploy.

It solves, in other words, the problem that too much new technology has created within procurement.

It also allows procurement teams to finally, truly make their technology work for them and the employees they serve—as opposed to making people work for technology. Process orchestration breaks down the siloes that typically separate working environments. No longer do stakeholders have to log in to your ERP or P2P platform to submit or approve intake requests. The technology will meet them wherever they are.

This has the corollary effect of empowering procurement to spend more of their own time focusing on creating new business value, as opposed to manually pestering employees to abide by prescribed procurement processes, or manually shepherding tasks to resolution.

What is that business value born of?

  • Vastly reduced cycle times. The procurement team at Semrush, a Tonkean client, revealed to us recently that thanks to Tonkean's intake orchestration capabilities, they'd cut cycle times for intake requests from 19 days to 10.
  • Earlier and more productive procurement engagement. For procurement to create unique, stand-alone business value, they need to be involved in buying experiences starting at intent, and present throughout procurement processes through resolution. Process orchestration makes that possible.
  • Much higher process adoption. Which bolsters compliance, lowers risk, and further reduces costs.
  • Higher quality work. Real-time, in-workflow collaboration both enables faster decision-making and reduces the need for follow-ups, but it also ensures that procurement is able to in-process context and timely support—which itself guarantees more accurate data capture and more rapid resolution. There’s less need to make corrections or track down missing information

Improved experiences make procurement a better business partner

There's another, perhaps even more important benefit of process orchestration, however. Simply, it allows procurement to provide for the employees it serves—be they end-users trying to buy a laptop, IT conducting security checks, or legal teams conducting approvals—an exponentially simpler, people-first experience.

For a long time, procurement has been a necessary, but not-necessarily-valued back-office function. This has something to do with the traditional experience of engaging with procurement, which has tended to be complex and time-consuming at best and frustrating and confusing at worst.

Process orchestration gives procurement teams the ability to change that, and to emphasize instead the unique, net-new business value they alone are able to provide—in part by empowering procurement to spend more time delivering that value, but also by giving them the means to provide categorically more enjoyable and easy buying and approval experiences.

Procurement processes of the future, thanks to this "1 app to rule them all," will be definitively dynamic, integrated, smart, flexible, and streamlined—for all stakeholders.

The entire procurement process will be less complex—and more successful. 

Want to see how? Learn more with Tonkean’s ProcurementWorks, the preeminent process orchestration platform for procurement teams.

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