What Comes First: The Process or The Tool?

ProcureCon

Backstory: This blog is a synopsis of a presentation by Determine customer Dave Quillin, Manager of Procurement & Third-Party Risk Management at Alliant Credit Union, one of the largest credit unions in the United States, at ProcureCon Indirect West in September 2017. This year, Alliant deployed several modular solutions on the Determine Cloud Platform. This is the story of how they approached the strategy, planning and methodology used to understand and select Determine.


Alliant’s need was based on a number of distinct business process functions, including: third-party onboarding and management, contract management, procure-to-pay and integration with core back-end systems. It’s a great case study on approaching an enterprise implementation on this scale, and useful reading for anyone considering adopting all the advantages of cloud platform-based source-to-pay solutions.

A process is the foundation you build on.

As Dave Cravens, Vice President of Client Success at Determine, notes in his introduction, Quillin has a passion for solving business problems with technology. Because technology is a tool, it can’t begin to solve anything on its own, or create a process. It can help you understand and make changes to your current process, and provide consistent process. But you need to know the goal of your process before you can choose a tool to support it.

Consider framing the scenario as a building project. Constructing a garage is different than erecting a mansion. The essential principles might be the same, but the scope and scale of what you need to get done will dictate the best tools for the job.

For Alliant, Quillin was tasked with building out a centralized procurement team and third-party risk management.

His approach was to first assess what each departmental area was using for their process and tools. This level of information gathering is critical upfront, as it allows for a more solid strategic approach to developing a holistic, enterprise methodology (a topic covered recently in an OutLoud podcast with Determine’s Implementation Manager, Trent Fairbrother).

What can procurement do for you?

One reason for this approach is to gain buy-in across an organization in order to pre-manage the change. By understanding the individual challenges, they could create a collaborative response: “Now that we know what the process needs to be, here’s how procurement can help solve your problems using the right tools.”

Of course, as a financial services company, Alliant is also under constant scrutiny from regulators and agencies. This means many requirements need to be built into the process upfront. Legacy processes and technology, and increasing company complexity, also created additional challenges, all of which needed to be taken into account before choosing a tool.

The right tool for the job – every job.

Once the process was developed, Alliant put together a technology wish list: One platform and code base that would allow them to do everything from onboarding and managing third parties, to procure-to- pay and contract management; and one platform that was configurable and scalable to a changing organization and that was always updated to the latest version.

Alliant established their process first, and that dictated the right tool. A lot of RFPs, shopping and meetings led them to Determine – the only provider that could check off everything on their wish list.

You can read more about Alliant in our press release, blog and on their website.

If you’re ready to see how Determine can power your process across source-to-pay and enterprise contract management, schedule a personalized demonstration.

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