As someone who runs Procurement at DocuSign, I am very excited to invite conversations about Procurement in our thought leadership series.  We hope to cover topics of all shapes and sizes on how best-in-class Procurement teams are developing in today’s business environment.  Please welcome Doug Seward of DocuSign as our first guest blogger.  


Conventional media hosts much chatter about healthy and sustainable business practices. Often times, newspapers and other critical sources identify a singular individual as responsible for a businesses’ balance sheet.  In real life, a team shares the burden.  But is there one function within your business that establishes and encourages preferred behaviors for every employee and every vendor to make your enterprise healthy?  And if so, what group is this?

I believe that function is procurement.  In fact, we call it the unsung hero. Procurement can provide highly skilled advisory services such as:

  • Process
  • Sourcing
  • Effective Policy Enforcement
  • Vendor management
  • Contract management
  • Risk detection
  • Relief strategies

Procurement is a particular business function that touches every level of an organization — from the front line of a requisition all the way up to the boardroom where the highest levels of value are created and recognized.

I would like to open a discussion about the procurement function, not only to build awareness of its strengths, but also to demonstrate why everyone in the business world should consider procurement as a critical element for competitive advantage.  To stir these thoughts, we want procurement wonks to take a moment and shout from the rooftops about the un-sung greatness of the procurement treasure. We’d love to hear about new and traditional opportunities for procurement leaders.   

I hope you’re inspired to let us know where you believe procurement adds the most value. Below is a high level overview of the top areas that we believe drives procurement to the top. Also, KPMG published a deeply comprehensive global survey that educates those new to Procurement[1]. I recommend this survey to refresh and inspire your thoughts. In the coming weeks, we’ll show you a series of articles that define the hallmarks of a super high functioning procurement team. In the process I hope you’ll join us in discussions about the latest trends and developments within procurement.

Happy reading and here’s a list to get us started…

Sourcing – A strong sourcing team deftly supports the selection of vendors and helps define (even govern) what happens inside the contract so it’s a fair reflection of reality.


Business Process – When a strong source-to-pay system is adopted and implemented, procurement’s reach becomes greater and more powerful.  This is arguably the single most important element of a best-in-breed procurement organization.


Policy – Our aim is to keep it simple, easy to follow, and as relevant to every employee as possible. 


Compliance – The relentless pursuit of making the desired behaviors also the easiest ones to do.


Risk Management – After a contract has been negotiated and the best practices have ben communicated, how do we improve the likelihood that everyone is aligned with stated objectives?  And how do we ensure that the practices used to achieve our goals are acceptable to most everyone?   With emphasis on strong decision rigor and awareness of the softer implications that can live in a contract, a great procurement team ensures that business can move forward with fewer entanglements than if it were not involved.

Teamwork –  Awareness that our practices influence every employee and vendor is one thing – but recognizing that we cannot be successful without intimate knowledge of our Accounting, Finance and Budget Planning brethren is what separates the good from the very best!