The Why and How of Digital Transformation

The crucial role of digital transformation in procurement, enhancing efficiency and unlocking savings through strategic data utilisation.

According to procurement consultant David Holmes, there’s one thing driving digitisation: information. In a world where data is the new oil and cash remains king, the rapid exchange of information is high currency. And for any organisation without a clear plan in place to capitalise on their data, time is running out to act.

“Faster information means for a faster service,” says Holmes. “So for procurement, that means keeping up with your vendors, keeping up with your clients and keeping up with the supply chain as a whole.

“When you are digitised, your communication is that much quicker and more or less every company is going down that route – so there’s a risk of being left behind. As such I don’t there’s an argument against it. I do however think the approach you take to digitisation and the reasons for it need to be crystal clear.”

As a case in point, he argues that procurement should be looking to save money first and foremost. But does that come from the payment system, the procurement system or the supply chain? Or does it need to be a mix?

“All those elements have masses of data attached to them. That data is the key to unlocking a lot of potential for procurement. But before you go ahead and digitise the lot, you need to think about what you really want to do, what you’re really hoping to achieve, and are you ready for digital transformation.

“What’s your business case? What’s your return on investment for doing that? It could cost a lot of money. And you are to a certain extent, doing parallel running with your current manual systems. So you’ve got those costs as well, because while you’re doing one, you’re doing the other until such point you cut over.”

Screenshot of a detailed Power BI report generated by I-Tel Group, illustrating comprehensive analytics and insights for optimised procurement and supply chain management, aiding strategic decision-making and digital transformation. I-Tel Group.

Where to Start with Digital Transformation

If you’re going to digitise your procurement department, it pays to hire expertise. Having strategist or consultants on board who will map the digital transformation process, align it to your business and build a case for ROI, will save you money in the long-term. Moreover, it makes the transition smoother and far more likely to succeed.

“You need to understand the tools that are best suited for your business and that are going to get the most from your data,” Holmes says. “Not all services, suites or products will do what you want them to. “Not all will suit your needs. And if you don’t know what you’re doing, your total cost of ownership will go through the roof and your overall service will suffer.”

Holmes adds that an overlooked aspect of the equation is knowing where to look in the first place. For that he recommends tendering as you would with any other service or major investment, which clear and obvious objectives.

“Your business transformation program needs to match the strategy. And then your strategy will drive how you want to tender and how you want to move forward. And therefore you need to have a plan.

“Tendering is fine, but once you’ve gone out to supply, what are you going to do with it? It could be a two or three-year plan, but you need to go back to basics. And that’s where a lot of companies fail because they rush into it and they haven’t really thought of the plan.”

Leveraging Data

The case for data has been cut and dried for several years. Frankly, if you’re not using it you ought to be; history shows us that yesterday’s innovative is today’s standard – and if you’re not up to standard then it’s very easy to fall behind and into obscurity. Evolution is very much the name of the game.

Not all data was created equal of course. And as far as procurement is concerned, less is more – to an extent anyway. Carefully selected and intelligible data is better than a poorly managed, illegible mass; it is after all how you use and interpret the data that counts. That job is made far easier if you’re prudent about what you choose to monitor.

“For procurement to take advantage of digitisation, it should be using key procurement data,” Holmes says. “You need to be able to look at spend data, contract data and invoicing data. Those three elements give you insight into category spend, supplier performance and the nature of your processes, among many other things.

“With clarity on those elements, you can start to see patterns emerging. You can start to make decisions with confidence and accuracy, and you can make incremental and iterative improvements to the fundamental aspects of procurement. Over time, this compounds and transforms procurement into strategic partner within the business – as opposed to a cost centre.”

Tellingly, this phenomenon loops back to the idea that faster and better information ultimately leads to better service and to a better performing business overall.

One of the major selling points of digital transformation is that it frees execs from mundane repetitive tasks into more strategic work. In his experience, Holmes says that happens – and it leads to significant improvements for the organisation.

“I was able to save a contractor seven figures recently, simply because I had data to hand. I was able to approach the team that is responsible for compiling and analysing data and ask for specific procurement data sets.

“Using that data, I was able to spot an opportunity to make the saving. If I’d had to find and compile that data myself it would have been too time consuming and the opportunity would have been missed.

“I was able to make a decision in half an hour. In today’s market, that’s a huge competitive advantage, and one that not many business can afford to pass up.”

WCMC Case Study

Find out how we provided a seamless IT hardware portal to cater for a fragmented, global workforce.
Procurement solutions with I-Tel Group


Real-time, customised procurement intelligence with our eProcurement solutions and Power BI dashboards.

We're here to help

Are you looking to streamline your procurement processes and save costs? Get in touch today to book a free audit.
Gareth Shaw, I-Tel Group

Gareth Shaw

Senior Procurement Consultant

Gareth has over 19 years’ experience in commercial procurement contract management across both public and private sector. Holding senior positions at the Ministry of Justice and Turner and Townsend Gareth has overseen several multi million-pound contracts.
Guiding I-Tel in best practice and sustainability while offering practical solutions to steer our procurement team towards red tape reduction and compliant, efficient services.

Gareth Thompson

Legal & Compliance

Gareth is a qualified, senior commercial solicitor with 30 years’ experience. As counsel to the directors Gareth brings a wealth of experience to enhance I-Tel’s legal compliance and ensure supply chain legitimacy.
Overseeing all our commercial agreements and supporting the individual requirements of our clients, Gareth brings tremendous credibility to the whole organisation.
Dee Sarikaya, Head of Marketing, I-Tel Group

Dee Sarikaya

Head of Marketing

An impressive background with blue chip companies Dee is a former global B2B Commercial manager for Dyson. A proven track record in marketing and communications Dee is responsible for I-Tel’s client onboarding and messaging.
With huge experience in strategic international campaigns and working effectively in cross-functional teams Dee brings strong commercial acumen alongside an excellent ability to interact and influence at all levels.
Paul Keenan, Head of Client Services, I-Tel Group

Paul Keenan

Head of Client Services

Paul has over 30 years’ experience in B2B sales in both the public and private sector and heads up our client services division. Overseeing high value public and private sector contracts Paul has in depth knowledge of the industry.
Key contact to senior management and C suite clients with a problem solving, customer service excellence ideology.
Andrew Plummer, Operations Director, I-Tel Group

Andrew Plummer

Operation Director

A co-founder from the outset Andy has headed the operations team for I-Tel group. An engineer by trade Andy has a vast experience in manufacturing, logistics and warehousing.
Overseeing the day to day complexities of our hybrid model and ensuring all the individual parts function to produce the seamless highly efficient business model we see today.
Melvin Gauci, MD, I-Tel Group

Melvin Gauci

Managing Director

Managing Director and founding partner at I-Tel Group. Mel has been instrumental in transforming the business from a start-up cartridge manufacturing facility to an innovative forward thinking procurement company.
With 15 years at the helm and in depth knowledge of I.T. infrastructure and data analysis I-Tel Group is today one of the latest key players in the indirect procurement space.

I-Tel Time is a bespoke service that can be tailored to your specific business needs. In order for us to advise you on this service please let us know some business details and select the services you’re interesed in from the list.

Select services from the options below that you’re interesed in. This will help us find the most effective solutions for your business.
Specialist Services
Administration Services
Logistics Services
If you’d like to give us any further information that is relevant to your business please send us a message.