• Service: Advisory, Management Consulting, Business Performance Services
  • Industry: Financial Services
  • Type: Video
  • Date: 3/14/2014
  • Length: 4:29 Minutes

The Challenge of Transformation: Sustaining Inertia 

Scott Wharton, Citi:

cutting through complexity


Sustaining inertia

Managing Director
Chief Procurement Officer

in conversation with

Advisory Partner
KPMG in the United States

Sustaining inertia

Rally the organization around transformation

SCOTT WHARTON: Challenges in the transformation journey that we weren’t anticipating, I think really, there were a couple of key ones. For me, firstly, I’m going to describe organizational inertia, so actually getting my organization rallied around the need for change, certainly at the senior end of my organization, there was very broad agreement around the need for change, but when you go out to the individual procurement organizations around the world,


we have people sitting in many countries. In fact, I have 50 countries around the world that are part of my procurement organization, getting those groups all rallied and having a view as to the need for change and what they need to do to effect that change was a bigger challenge than we anticipated.

Sustaining inertia

Start at the top and communicate broadly

So lessons learned around this transformation program, I’d say there’s probably a couple of key ones. I think firstly, start at the top as far as sponsorship and gaining clarity in the senior levels around why you’re looking to change the organization, how you’re going to do it, and what help you need from them. The second one I would share is ensure not only that you have a clear project plan, but make sure that that roadmap is very well communicated throughout the organization so that everybody, from the top to the bottom, has a good understanding


of the steps that you are going to go through, over what timeline, and what’s expected of them, and importantly, what the changes are, broader, that are coming through that will begin to impact them.

Sustaining inertia

Achieving transformation requires cultural change

Really, what it’s about as far as our transformation is aligning a group of people around a common set of goals, objectives, common view on performance standards, a clear view on why they come to work each day, and what they’re looking to achieve as a collective, and with their partners in the business. So we spend a lot of time talking about our expectations around behavior, around how we want to be viewed as an organization, and the role that the individuals within procurement have to play in making that all happen. When you think culture change, it doesn’t happen overnight, and we’re probably halfway through that journey of


getting our culture to where we want it to be.

Measuring bottom line impact

Transformation is a journey, not a destination

SAMIR KHUSHALANI: I thought Scott had a very interesting set of points that he raised. It’s clear that he understands the value of procurement, he understands what it takes to transform the procurement function, and the fact that it’s a journey, it’s not a destination. Procurement transformation requires an emphasis and a holistic perspective on looking at people, process, technology, data, and it appears that in the program that he’s talking about, that he’s ushering in to Citigroup, he is looking at every one of those angles, and I think, from that perspective, the change that he will bring about will be sustainable, and it will be institutionalized, and it was very interesting, because the focus on people came out very loud and clear, and that, at the end of the day, is what’s going to make sure that this is not a short term phenomenon.


cutting through complexity



Procurement transformation requires an emphasis on integration of processes, technology, data, and perhaps most importantly – people. Scott Wharton, CPO at Citi, discusses how his organization considered these dimensions during the transformation process, examining the particular importance of rallying the organization to gain alignment around a common set of goals. This focus on people has proven to be a substantial enabler to maintaining momentum throughout the transformation process.

Scott Wharton, Citi

Scott leads Citi Procurement Services globally. Prior to his current position, Scott led Citi’s Regional Corporate Services organization across the Asia-Pacific, which included Process Reengineering & Productivity, Procurement, Market Data Services, Global Event Marketing and General Services. Prior to joining Citi, Scott held the position of Asia-Pacific Region Head of Expense Management & Strategic Sourcing at Nomura, and had previously worked at other financial services companies in Asia-Pacific both as a senior manager and as a management consultant. Scott specializes in operations strategy, business reengineering and strategic procurement. He holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Sydney, a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Technology in Sydney, an Executive MBA from INSEAD and an Executive MBA from Tsinghua University in Beijing.

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