The Importance of Stakeholder Engagement in eSourcing Processes


Discover the importance of stakeholder engagement in eSourcing processes. Learn how effective collaboration creates successful outcomes, promotes effective relationships across all teams and departments, and boosts efficiency. This article will explore key strategies to enhance communication and decision-making, ensuring your organisation stays ahead in the dynamic world of eSourcing.

A lot of factors contribute to smooth eSourcing processes. It’s the human factor that drives your business forward and stakeholders play an essential role in the approach. However, you need to keep your stakeholders engaged with a vested interest in the outcome.

In this article, we’re going to provide some effective strategies to enhance stakeholder engagement and encourage their participation in the process. We’ll explain why stakeholders are so important in the eSourcing process and why you need to pull out all the stops to keep them on board.


Who is Classified as a Stakeholder?

Stakeholders are the people who play an active role in your business’s operations. Their actions or contributions impact your business either positively or negatively to a larger or lesser degree. Often, such as when stakeholders are on the board of directors, they are included in the decision-making process. In critical decisions, an innovative stakeholder engagement strategy that is founded on open communication could be the factor that sways a decision your way.

You don’t need to be on the board of directors to play a role in decision-making, but it does have something to do with which group you slot into.

There are two groups: Internal and external.

  1. Internal stakeholders are directly related to the business, for example, all employees, board members, owners, and shareholders.
  2. External stakeholders are indirectly related to the business; for example, suppliers, clients/customers, investors, government departments, and social media followers.

What Does Stakeholder Engagement Entail?

The level of stakeholders’ engagement is the degree to which stakeholders participate in a project or eSource process. It’s “enthusiasm lite.” You want to generate excitement and willingness to play a constructive role in the eSourcing process, but not to the point where stakeholders push their own agenda or incite conflict because their way is the only right way.

Instead, engaging stakeholders should build interest and encourage input so that they feel included in projects or processes in which they have some kind of vested interest. You could, for example, invite suppliers to a monthly or quarterly progress meeting. They can attend via an online meeting platform instead of in person. Their attendance can also be limited to the item on the agenda that concerns their contribution.

How do Stakeholders Benefit the eSourcing Process?

Internal and external stakeholders provide various individual benefits, but collaboration enables them to provide overarching benefits for the eSourcing process as a whole. These include the following:

  • Share mutually beneficial resources, which increases access to knowledge and skills. Shared resources enable cost savings, sustainability, and relationship building and networking.
  • Promote awareness and understanding to provide a holistic view of the process and the role stakeholders play in it. This includes recognising the talent and tools they each bring to the table to foster mutual respect.
  • Improve efficiency and performance through their diversity of skills and knowledge. The range of their experience and expertise shines a light on opportunities, obstacles, and risks that might otherwise have been missed.
  • Open, honest, and regular communication facilitates collaboration and the flow of ideas to overcome the risks and capitalise on opportunities identified.
  • Joint accountability as all stakeholders are allowed to have their say and have the chance to participate in any action that follows. The viewpoints from the variety of parties involved can lead to insights that result in informed decision-making.
  • Joint collaboration ensures key stakeholders are on the same page regarding goals and the eSourcing solutions that will achieve their goals.
  • Insights and shared knowledge can prompt creating thinking and cutting-edge innovation that gives you a unique advantage over your competitors.

How To Engage Stakeholders in the eSourcing Process

The benefits of stakeholder engagement are non-existent if you can’t convince them to play an active part in your eSourcing process. With this end in mind, you should put a great deal of thought and effort into designing a stakeholder engagement plan to coax them on board.

Facilitate communication

eSourcing provides a single hub that creates a centralised area for tender documents, but it also facilitates processes, like communication. Stakeholders value communication because it keeps them in the loop and provides collaboration opportunities that might not be available in traditional sourcing.

Demonstrate efficiency

The eSourcing platform automates time-consuming tasks, which enables companies to focus more on core activities. The way in which the platform works enables stakeholders to see all of this in action and even collaborate with teams to further streamline eSourcing processes.

Emphasise transparent communication

The platform is geared to make information available to all parties concerned. There’s no place to hide. With all this available at a click of a mouse, eSourcing stakeholders can work together, perhaps taking efficiency another step forward.

Promote cost savings

One thing all stakeholders want to hear is how much money is saved. The seamless operations, focus on core activities, and team collaboration that eSourcing provides enhance efficiency and productivity, which is a great way to save money

cost effectiveness - eprocurement

Additional Tips Include

1) Know what you want to achieve

You should be able to describe your goal or vision clearly and succinctly. Avoid jargon and don’t waffle. Encourage input, anticipate questions, then invite questions. Stakeholders must know the goal, understand the plan, and look forward to their contribution to the project.

2) Understand your stakeholders

It’s essential to understand your stakeholders if you want to engage them. Know their roles, their areas of interest and expertise, their wants, needs, expectations, and capacity to meet expectations – yours and theirs. This is essential to keep them motivated and inspired, rather than overwhelmed and out of their depth.

3) Always provide feedback

When you encourage communication you must respond to questions, complaints, and suggestions. Do so tactfully; thank them for reaching out, let them down gently if their input doesn’t fall within the parameters of the process. Alternatively, thank them for reaching out, acknowledge the spot-on suggestion, and invite them to present it to the other stakeholders at a meeting.

4) Always take feedback on board

It works both ways. Accept feedback gracefully, present it to stakeholders concerned, and then respond diplomatically, regardless of what you decide to do with it.

5) Establish lines of communication

It’s a good idea to create a communication channel specifically for the process, a dedicated email account or WhatsApp group, for instance. Allow for group and private communication. Someone who feels too shy to announce ideas to the group, might feel better sending a private email. Updates, on the other hand, can be shared with everyone.

6) Maintain lines of communication

It’s more efficient to assign one person to monitor and manage communication. It ensures consistency, as well as quick turnaround times.

Emphasise Stakeholder Engagement to Drive eSourcing Processes Forward

Stakeholder engagement is one of the most important factors that contributes to successful eSourcing processes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always get the time and attention it needs to realise its potential. The stakeholder engagement strategies we’ve looked at in the article should help change that.

You can see that communication is one of an eSourcing platform’s most valued functions, in part because it enables stakeholders to engage more fully with the processes and even opens opportunities for stakeholders to collaborate on some activities.

It’s this engagement and participation that clearly demonstrates that stakeholders are of the utmost importance in eSourcing processes.

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