Careers Influence

134: How Google is Moving the Procurement Sphere of Influence w/ David Natoff & Bernd Huber

As a procurement leader, how do you balance the needs of your stakeholders with your responsibility to be guardians of third party spend?

That is the challenge being addressed head on by today’s guests on the Art of Procurement.  I’m delighted to be joined by David Natoff, the Head of Procure to Pay at Google, and Dr Bernd Huber, the Head of Google’s Sourcing Center of Excellence.

We focus our conversation on how Google Procurement continues on their journey to become a trusted business partner in a complex and agile organization, while ensuring that they remain strong corporate guardians.  Balancing these two objectives that are often in conflict with each other is Google Procurement’s greatest challenge – one that they are solving through their journey to move their sphere of influence.

“We talk about this sphere of influence. It’s really about how we prioritize, how we put our stakeholders first, but also how we think about supporting our company. We really introduced this as being a trusted business advisor, but realizing we also have a guardianship responsibility. And if you’re not guardians of the company, you’re not really being a trusted business advisor, either.”

In this episode, you will learn:

  • What impact does the pace of growth and change at Google have on the demands of the procurement organization?
  • How Google procurement uses data to prioritize projects and opportunities.
  • What is the Sphere of Influence, and why is it pivotal to the next phase of Google’s procurement journey?
  • The role of outsourcing and third party experts in supporting Google’s procurement delivery model.
  • How Google procurement views emerging technologies such as RPA and AI, and if working in a tech centric company accelerates the experimentation and use of these technologies.
  • What are key behaviors of trusted business partners?
  • Considerations when setting team and individual metrics when cost savings are not the only priority.
  • What can procurement professionals do to stand out from the crowd?
  • Why David believes that specialization can be a career limiter.

Links and Resources:

About the author

Philip Ideson

Philip Ideson is passionate about the role that procurement professionals and leaders can plan in creating competitive advantage for their organizations in ways that go beyond the traditional value proposition.

Philip founded Art of Procurement as a way for the procurement community to learn from each other, increasing the impact they have on their organizations. In 2017, he co-founded Palambridge, a virtual platform of procurement experts, technology, and intelligence. Palambridge provides a broad range of flexible procurement solutions, available on-demand.

Prior to Art of Procurement and Palambridge, Philip enjoyed a career that spanned the procurement value chain, working across three continents for organizations such as Accenture, Procurian, Ally Financial, Pfizer and Ford Motor Company.