The Future of Skills Required in Public Procurement

Digital Technology is disrupting the Public Procurement Space in a drastic way. The question therefore arises as to what skills are required for a Public Procurement Professional to Survive in the Future. Most Public Procurement Professionals come from non IT backgrounds so how will they face the future ?  Will there be huge Job losses or with additional skills will these jobs survive?  What additional skills would these professionals need to survive in this disruptive market?.

To answer these and several related questions let us look at the current skill scenario in public procurement. Many Institutes now offer courses in Block Chain and Artificial Intelligence which will become some of the major technology disruptors in public procurement. Thanks to innovation in the field, Training Programs delivered through the e-learning module now provide a more-thorough training experiences focused on specific needs at a cost that is generally lower than classroom training. While these courses may help it is rather the utility  of these technologies which is critical. On Job Learning on an ongoing basis is another solution although risky as the pace of change may overtake the learning process.  

In addition to the above, let us look at the way procurement is being handled in the Private Sector. There is no doubt that procurement in private sector is far evolved technology wise than the one prevalent in Public Sector. The reason for this divide is that while Public Sector Procurement is more focused on compliance to regulations whereas Private Sector follows the approach which will deliver the most value. It is for the same reason that Private Sector procurement presents an opportunity for customised learning for public sector professionals.

Private Sector Firms provide more opportunity for utilization of these Technologies and their adaptability in the work space. This is because usage of these Technologies is quite rampant across Private Sector Organisations. Public Procurement Professional need not be so well versed with programming and software codes but they should definitely be well versed with the adaptability of these technologies. It is for the same reason that these professionals should be in constant touch with Private Sector Space and Learn from the applications being done there. Journals and Articles can be one form of learning about these practices although direct touch with professionals from Private Sector can be ideal. In the nutshell current trends in technologies in Private Sector Procurement are bound to become future trends in Public Sector Procurement and it is in this knowledge that Public Procurement Professionals can prepare for the future.

Author: Amit Sethi, Associate Vice President, EY LLP