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The Future CFO: Evolution of the Role

From the pandemic, supply chain disruptions, inflation and military conflicts – planning has become exceedingly difficult. Today’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is the CEO’s most trusted adviser and strategist. Traditionally, a CFO’s responsibilities included reporting the numbers, measuring performance and monitoring process compliance. But, as we move through the 2020s, the future CFO role is much more than the once traditional CFO role. 

Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face,” and the last few years have illustrated that in the world of business. 

The CFO of the future needs to continue delivering value as their duties evolve, avoiding “punches”  while also building skills in other areas of the business, enabling them to transform into a multi-disciplined strategist. This blog explores one area for CFOs to evolve: procurement.

 

Procurement: Moving From Order Taker To Strategic Asset

 

Unfortunately, procurement is often caught up in a vicious cycle that results in its value to the organization being downplayed. Here’s how that cycle typically plays out. 

  •   Cost savings generated by procurement generally impacts only the bottom-line revenue. Shareholders and analysts focus on top-line revenue, so the value procurement adds through cost savings often goes unrecognized.
  •   Procurement data is of questionable quality, causing procurement to inaccurately report and forecast costs, eroding its credibility.
  •   Because of this unenviable combination, procurement struggles to recruit and retain top talent. The best analytical and strategic thinkers migrate to departments where their skills are recognized, resulting in better compensation.

 

How the Future CFO can Adopt a New Mindset 

However, a CFO can break the vicious cycle around procurement by bringing value to business partners. Doing so puts a spotlight on the contributions procurement brings and earns the CFO a more strategic role within the C-Suite. Here are three ways the CFO can realize value for stakeholders.

 

1. Be Strategic

 

The traditional, one-dimensional view of a CFO’s role as the numbers person limits an organization’s potential. This coventional view of procurement relies heavily on outdated processes that employ technology to reduce manual and repetitive tasks. These tactical implementations are only as successful as an organization’s ability to manage change (and the people’s willingness to adopt new technology.) Technology that, by design, only replicates a familiar process with marginal improvement. 

It may look good on paper, but given the massive changes and disruption involved, the risks outweigh the rewards. 

The future CFO has to do more than invest months implementing software in hopes everyone will embrace the same process (but managed using new software).

 

2. Use Procurement As Strategy

 

How does the future strategic CFO succeed? The way to prosper is to give procurement a seat at the strategy table and don’t hesitate. Trust that procurement can add value and be prepared to act on the opportunity.

The future CFO should invest in platforms that unify data across disparate systems to enable this approach, creating a comprehensive real-time view of purchasing, supplier, and process performance data. Utilizing the right technology is crucial. 

Arkestro’s data orchestration platform has specific industry-leading capabilities and will allow the procurement function to:

  • Predict and win 2-5x faster savings
  • Improve forecast and benchmark accuracy and frequency
  • Better align Procurement activities to organizational priorities
  • Build better relationships (internal and external)
  • Influence more spend and, thereby, save more
  • Do more with less. Higher resource productivity from procurement FTEs
  • Identify and favor high-performing suppliers
  • Transform procurement from a bottleneck into a strategic partner to the C-Suite

 

3. Change The Game: Put Theory Into Practice

 

When done right, future CFO invests, not in tactical software upgrades, but in a strategic Predictive Procurement Orchestration platform. This investment results in fewer steps, fewer decisions, less typing, a better user experience and all of the business benefits of high-intent procurement, including cost savings, supplier performance, and multi-dimensional cost savings aligned with ESG, risk management and diversity goals. 

Procurement has long been criticized for being short-sighted in optimizing for short-term cost savings – because that is how many organizations measure procurement’s success. By optimizing for high-intent and high-impact decision making, financial cost savings are the effect of a great process running on a self-driving system rather than trading off with other corporate targets or the end user’s experience and sense of urgency.

 

The Future Is Now


Predictive Procurement Orchestration can change the world and make the CFO a major strategic player in the C-Suite. Whether it’s aligning cost savings with diversity or sustainability goals, greater supply chain resiliency, driving dramatic cost savings procurement offers numerous leverage points for strategic CFOs to create differentiated value and impact. 

Drop the outdated software and adopt Predictive Procurement Orchestration, with fewer steps, fewer decisions, less typing, a better user experience and all of the business benefits. This is the future and this is how a CFO can break the vicious cycle around procurement and bring value to business partners.

 

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Rob DeSantis

Founder

As a former co-founder of Ariba running sales, Rob has deep expertise in the procurement space, having helped propel Ariba from zero to $250 million in revenue in four years and IPO of the year in 1999 before its acquisition by SAP a decade later. In addition to co-founding Ariba, Rob was also an early angel investor and board member of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional online network.

More recently, Rob served as an investor and advisor to a small portfolio of companies including Bloom Energy, AEye, Inc., HiQ Labs, Agiloft, USEND and more. He is also a co-founder of Dibbs Technology and TrueParity. Rob holds a BSME from the University of Rhode Island.

Marty Meyer

Chief Financial Officer

A trusted partner and advisor on the executive team, Marty has a unique background having been the CFO of nine venture backed technology companies. Marty has raised over $300M in venture funding and has closed six strategic M&A transactions with a combined value of over $1B. Marty has deep domain expertise in ecommerce, consumer internet, networking, data security, data privacy, media technology and enterprise software industries. Marty is especially experienced in the finance and operations activities of SaaS companies and is driven by data and metrics to help create outstanding customer experiences and drive efficient growth.

Neil Lustig

President and Chief Operating Officer

Neil is a seasoned executive with over 30 years of experience leading and building teams in Tech. Neil brings insights from a variety of market spaces and company sizes. Most recently Neil was the CEO of GAN Integrity, an innovative SaaS Compliance technology company serving enterprise customers in North America and Europe. Before that Neil was the CEO of Sailthru, a leader in ML driven personalized multi-channel marketing communications for media and e-commerce markets. Prior to that Neil was the CEO of Vendavo, the leader in B2B price optimization and management for large enterprises. Before Vendavo, Neil led the commercial team at Ariba, the market pioneer that defined and created the eProcurement space. Neil served as the GM of Ariba Europe and subsequently the GM of Ariba North America. Neil started his career at IBM where he spent sixteen years, initially as a software developer, and then twelve years in a variety of Sales and Marketing roles

 

Neil has a BS in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics from SUNY Albany. He is a native New Yorker, Brooklyn born, and still resides with his wife and three children in New York City.

Bonnie Adams

Director of People Operations

Bonnie is a People Operations and HR veteran, with over a decade of experience establishing successful people and culture functions for early to mid-stage tech startups going through high growth phases. She has a passion for supporting and creating inclusive and collaborative work environments and is well-versed in driving positive changes in her organizations as a trusted leader. Prior to joining Arkestro Bonnie worked as the People & Culture Coordinator for Ionic Security, helping them scale from 5 to over 200 employees in addition to a $120M funding round. Most recently she was the Head of People & Culture for blockchain innovator Storj Labs and was the Director of Human Resources at PrizePicks, the largest independently owned Daily Fantasy Sports platform in North America.

Arym Diamond

Chief Revenue Officer

Arym Diamond joined Arkestro in January 2022 bringing over 20 years of experience in the enterprise software and consultancy industry.  He is responsible for the worldwide go-to-market revenue strategy. Prior to Arkestro, Arym was Chief Revenue Officer at CalAmp focused on Telematics and Logistics. He also served as the area vice president of North American Sales within the Salesforce.com Enterprise Business unit for Einstein Analytics & AI, where analytics and machine learning were re-imagined for the front office.  Prior to that, he spent over 10 years at Oracle in various sales positions. Arym holds an MBA from the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, and an undergraduate degree from California State University.

2022 Gartner® Hype Cycle™
for Procurement and Sourcing
includes Arkestro.

2022 Gartner® Hype Cycle™ for Procurement and Sourcing includes Arkestro.

Gartner® Hype Cycle™ are registered trademarks of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

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