Behind every small business and every billion-dollar, big-name corporation is an IT department that keeps things running smoothly. Information Technology, commonly known as IT, is essential in our fast-paced modern world because it focuses on harnessing the power of electronics to store, purchase, share, and access data.
IT departments support hardware and software functions for personal, commercial, and not-for-profit uses – and everything in between. Without the technology advancements that IT teams support, you couldn’t send a text message to your best friend, subscribe to your favorite influencers’ feeds, or likely even send an email required for your job.
Many IT departments have a variety of positions from entry-level to senior-level, but one that has become increasingly more popular and integral to anyone’s IT department is the IT purchasing manager. Not sure what that position is? Read on to find out.
What exactly an IT purchasing manager?
Whether you call them an IT purchasing manager or a procurement manager, this individual manages all of the phases of procurement for IT departments. They’re basically in charge of your department’s asset management and acquisition. Let’s back up a second – what exactly do procurement and acquisition mean?
It’s essentially a term that covers everything from purchasing to equipment management. Every resource that an IT department needs is generally oriented through the IT purchasing manager.
Someone working in the purchasing manager role has a variety of different tasks for which they are responsible. These tasks might include…
- Defining clear requirements for a company’s equipment and services
- Researching suppliers
- Directing the sourcing process in order to ensure the IT department has everything that it needs to function properly
- Ensuring that department milestones and goals are met while still adhering to approved budgets
- Negotiating contracts, pricing, service level agreements and terms.
An IT purchasing manager is an individual who can prioritize the needs of the workplace on all levels – because it is their job to get the necessary supplies for the department to function. The supplies they acquire should be priced reasonably so that it not only adheres to the budget determined by the IT department’s strategies but also saves money while ensuring quality equipment.
What is the role of an IT purchasing manager?
The IT purchasing manager is a career made possible in only the twentieth century due to the fact that technology is a necessity in most, if not all, businesses. In the past, it wasn’t uncommon to have a few local vendors whom you worked with and maintained an amicable relationship with, but that’s not possible any more with the global nature of information technology and its equipment.
One of the major roles of an IT purchasing manager is maintaining relationships with companies to ensure the best prices as they become available, while still keeping up with the new trends and the opportunities alongside those. While many of the things an IT purchasing manager does are listed above, there are some aspects of their day-to-day work and more specific examples that are important to note…
- Developing a purchasing strategy that abides to budgets
- Establishing and regulating standards for fair and efficient procurement
- Reviewing and processing purchase orders
- Managing subordinates of the purchasing team
- Maintaining records of goods ordered and received (and the costs of those goods as well as how they have dropped or risen over time)
- Creating requisitions for quotation (RFQs)
- Coordinating with fellow managers in other departments to monitor inventory
- Scheduling deliveries and ensuring timely fulfillment of equipment needs
- Ensuring quality of procured items and address problems as needed.
What level of management is a purchasing manager?
A purchasing manager is a senior-level position that would require at least five years of experience in general IT as a contributor to these processes and how they work to understand the importance of the role. A procurement officer, another term for the role, works in making all personnel decisions with their department, so supervisory experience of one to three years is ideal as well.
While a business strategy is very important, your purchasing manager must have experience working alongside people in their team, not just the vendors, and utilizing that team. When the purchasing team works together, especially under a capable purchasing manager, the best results are found.
Do you need an IT procurement officer?
It isn’t uncommon for some companies to lack an IT procurement officer. However, having one may be essential to your business and IT department’s overall success. Having an individual who fits this role of a purchasing manager can drive down unnecessary costs and ensure the purchasing of the company runs smoothly.
It’s difficult enough to run a company, let alone focus on all of the aforementioned roles, which is why many high-level executives view purchasing managers as vital to their business in order to stay afloat in an increasingly technology-reliant world.
Businesses that do not have an IT procurement officer often put these tasks on the desk of the CEO, COO, or finance director – or perhaps divvy out these assignments among the three. This puts procurement in a tactical position rather than a strategic one. In other words, this often means that the focus is only on getting the equipment necessary rather than purchasing it at competitive prices.
An additional problem with not having a specific, defined position for procurement is that it may result in vendor management getting out of control or lower-level employees not understanding who to report to when supplies are needed. Putting an IT purchasing manager in place can help the structure of not only your IT department but also your business as a whole.
What to look for in an IT procurement officer
When looking to hire a procurement officer, one of the basic requirements you should scan for is a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent. The applicant should specialize in either accounting, business management, or in this specific field, information technology.
An IT procurement officer is not an entry-level position by any means, and you ideally want someone with both a wide knowledge of IT and someone who has worked in a supervisory position for at least one year.
Any IT purchasing specialist for a company needs to have excellent negotiation, communication and personal skills, because not only are you going to rely on them to create long-lasting relationships with vending companies, but also you want them to get the best deals.
Individuals who focus on the big picture are ideal for this position, because the management of IT purchasing is not a small task. The best IT procurement officers are able to think three steps ahead – much like a skilled chess player.
After reading this article, we hope you have a deeper understanding of the importance of having an IT purchasing manager as part of your company. IT procurement managers benefit the company as a whole and better the efficiency of your IT department.