What Your Procurement Team Needs to Know about Finding the Right Expertise to Support Your S/4HANA Transformation Initiative

Brian Trout, Executive Vice President, Sales, Baer
Brian Trout
Executive Vice President, Sales, Baer
27 October 2023

As more enterprises conclude the exploratory and planning phases of their SAP S/4HANA initiatives and begin lining up the expertise for their 2024 innovation cycles, we are hearing from an increasing number of clients about the challenge they are facing in helping their procurement teams understand the opportunities and risks in hiring expertise to support their programs. The crux of the problem is this: these types of initiatives require highly specialized expertise that traditional procurement processes and general IT staffing agencies are not designed to support.

Casting a Wide Net vs. a Precision Approach

Procurement plays a critical role in simplifying the laborious process of evaluating and onboarding vendors, ensuring the organization adheres to complex national and statewide labor and compliance parameters, and controlling costs. One of the ways they do this is by consolidating the number of vendors an organization uses for similar services, leveraging economies of scale, and negotiating bulk discounts. In the IT labor market, this often means identifying a single, large staffing company to support a diverse range of IT needs or funneling everything through a pre-existing managed services agreement.

Unquestionably, this can be a valuable approach for more general and commonplace IT-related skillsets. It can even be useful in sourcing more broadly needed ECC-related expertise. However, an S/4HANA initiative is one of the most critical, strategic, and transformative initiatives an enterprise can undertake, and the skills required to see it through are anything but common. In fact, many of them are so far out on the leading edge that you will need to staff tomorrow’s technology with today’s expertise. The pool of talent with proven experience is incredibly small and identifying and establishing relationships with them requires a long-term, precision approach.

Here's how things can go wrong: general IT staffing firms cast a wide net by matching keywords. Since they do not truly understand the technology at hand, they do not have the capacity to evaluate or even pre-screen the influx of candidates, so that burden falls to the hiring manager. Multiple sets of time-consuming, inefficient interview cycles follow and likely don’t yield results—the resources with these skills understand their value, and they are not signed up with general staffing agencies. The hiring manager chooses the best available—but still unsatisfactory—candidate just to move forward. That person can’t deliver, is disengaged, or doesn’t stay with the program. Critical paths are delayed, costs overrun, and strategic goals are not met.

It is my firm belief that no procurement team would want that outcome, and if they understood the true risk, they would, as their charters mandate, seek a better solution for the company, the program, and the IT team leading the initiative.

The alternative here is to work with an enterprise resources partner like Baer that has a deep understanding of technology and knows how it has advanced over time, so you can have more strategic and detailed conversations about precisely what you are looking for. Using specific details about your initiative as our guide, we can ask the right questions, more thoroughly and deeply evaluate expertise, and identify candidates with precision—many of whom we have worked with previously—making for a faster and more efficient selection process.

Because we only staff these types of initiatives, and we understand the necessary types of expertise, we proactively identify and build relationships through our Opportunity Edge network. That way, we can identify the right people, at the right time, for the appropriate investment, ensuring you have access to the specialized S/4HANA expertise when and where you need it.

You Can’t Solve a Strategic Problem with A Tactical Approach

At the end of the day, both the IT and procurement organizations are on the same team. Both want what is best for the organization—to streamline processes, maximize efficiencies, minimize risk, control costs, and help the company deliver its strategic goals. However, in the case of hiring highly specialized expertise in a competitive labor market, strict adherence to traditional procurement methods can increase risk, delay critical paths, and drive up costs. You simply cannot solve a strategic problem with a tactical approach.

An enterprise performance partner like Baer can minimize risk, save time, and help contain costs. That’s a win for the entire organization, IT and procurement included.

About Baer

Unlike typical technology staffing companies, Baer is a true enterprise performance partner. We have a deep understanding of the scope of enterprise technology transformation initiatives and the highly specialized skillsets you will need at different stages of the process.

To learn more about how Baer can make a positive impact on your enterprise transformation, please reach out to Brian Trout, btrout@baergroup.com, Executive Vice President, Sales, or John Wilson, Vice President of Strategic Accounts, at jwilson@baergroup.com.

We look forward to speaking with you and learning about your specific challenges.

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