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With all the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, it is more important than ever for businesses to be agile, build resilience, and embrace flexibility. Procurement leaders everywhere have had to pivot their strategic focus towards this while continuing to be productive.
In the second episode of Spend Your Time Right, Amazon Business UK & Ireland General Manager, Molly Dobson, speaks to Roger Maull, Professor of Management Systems at the University of Exeter’s Business School, and Academic Director of the Digital Institute for Digital Economy. Professor Maull’s research focuses on digital capabilities and transformation and how that drives productivity. Molly began by asking him how much we can rely on digitalization to help us operate effectively and productively in business.
“I think there’s a fundamental change taking place. I think it’s a real revolution. Like steam, like electrical, we’re about to see a fundamental change in the place of work, and also in society. In the way that the industrial revolution changed society – trade unions were formed, towns were created, we have now got digital tech enabling creativity,” said Professor Maull.
“We should look forward to a time when we leave technology to run all that can be automated, because technology can run it repeatably and successfully. So that what’s left with us is that which needs ingenuity, and that bit of creativity that comes from the human, augmented by technology. That’s what we will be left with in the place of work and that’s a fascinating future to look forward to,” he said, expressing a high degree of confidence in digitalization helping us work more productively by sparing us time for strategic and intelligent work.
Procurement leaders across the board are faced with the conundrum of how to do more with less. Letting technology run the time-intensive repeatable functions frees up time to tackle the more strategic pieces of work such as mitigating supplier risks and expanding diversity-spending initiatives, to name a few.
However, the shift to digitalization is not without challenges. Not much is known to us at this stage, says Professor Maull, and more time needs to be spent in understanding the technology in order to use it to our benefit.