Did You Really Just Approve That IT Procurement Request?

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By: Ilyas Iyoob|Co-written by: Paul Mears, Ana Maria Bezerra

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You’re on the approval team, and you make dozens of important procurement decisions every day. No one gives you credit for all the good decisions you make, but one wrong decision can make for one expensive and embarrassing day. If the following concerns look familiar to you, don’t worry: There’s a solution right around the corner.

  • “Standard” requests for approval flood your inbox. Essentially, your inbox gets filled with a ton of requests that are more or less the same. Wouldn’t it be nice if workflow automation could handle these for you?
  • Complex requests take time. Mission-critical IT requests often involve technical intricacy, and you usually need to set up a meeting (or two) with the requester to properly understand what’s needed. What if the CIO standardized these offerings in an electronic service catalog for you to compare and contrast?
  • Prices are unknown and highly variable. The cost of on-demand services varies over time due to price changes and usage patterns. What if an estimated bill of materials could be generated for you to review before you approve?
  • The actual bill is different from the initial estimate. The bill from the provider almost always varies from what was originally expected. This is not unusual for cloud services. In fact, it’s almost essential to allow this variability in order to nurture agility and innovation. But wouldn’t it be nice if you could manage these gaps through bill reconciliation for better governance?
  • You’re haunted by a fear of being audited. The types of requests coming in are becoming more random by the day, and you’re not always sure what you’re agreeing to. What if the legal team could document standard terms and conditions so you don’t have to take that risk?

Everyone wants you to make the best decision when you grant an approval — and they want you to do it now. Of course, you want to meet that demand, but who’s going to automate and standardize the approval process so you can filter through the noise and get to the truth about a request? The challenge is, this isn’t a single department’s problem to solve — it involves almost every department in your company.

Unification of the approval process among finance, legal, IT and individual business departments is coming, and your day will become much better when it does. When you hear your colleagues start throwing around the term brokerage services, you’ll know that day is getting closer.

About The Author

Ilyas Iyoob

Distinguished Engineer, IBM

Dr. Ilyas Iyoob is a Distinguished Engineer with IBM Global Technology Services. He has pioneered the application of Operations Research to Cloud Computing. He is in the forefront of developing Cloud Analytics, which includes the algorithms for IT Supply Chain Optimization, Virtual Data Center Capacity Planning, and Automatic Scaling and Provisioning of Virtual Machines. He has spent over 10 years providing strategic and tactical decision support to the office of the CIO. Dr. Iyoob holds multiple patents in Cloud Analytics which has become the rosetta stone of Cloud Brokerage. He routinely speaks at International conferences and his work has been published in a number of peer reviewed journals worldwide. In 2001, he was awarded the "World Mechanics Prize" by the University of London.