KeyBank: High-Performance Procurement in Action

Procurement teams play an important role in their company’s ability to find efficiencies, trim costs, and drive digital transformation. Learn how KeyBank—with 2,000 vendors and more than 5,000 contracts in motion—adopted a unified source-to-pay platform to push its procurement transformation forward.

Picture of a KeyBank location

Amidst pricing volatility, margin pressures, and an increasingly complex global business environment, procurement departments around the globe are embracing change.

Among the top priorities for chief procurement officers (CPOs) are identifying cost savings and managing supply risk, according to an Ardent Partners survey. And digital transformation—in order to deliver real-time capabilities that can handle highly dynamic market challenges—isn’t far behind. 

Procurement teams also play an important role in achieving related yet even broader goals across their companies, including new efficiencies, lower costs, and stronger risk management and compliance practices. That’s especially true at banks, where risk management and shifting regulatory requirements are the norm. 

KeyBank, one of the largest bank-based financial services companies in the U.S., had previously embraced digital transformation with the Workday enterprise cloud platform, including Workday financial management and human resources applications, which helped to modernize and simplify a complex ecosystem of processes and operations.

“That opened the door for us in procurement to rethink the status quo,” said Jacob Loos, KeyBank senior vice president and procurement solutions manager, in a recent Workday webinar. “We had to make a decision—do we make the switch to Workday like the rest of the bank, or do we stick with our legacy systems?”

The answer was clear soon enough: it was time to evolve KeyBank’s procurement technology across the board, from sourcing to payments to contract compliance. Successfully moving away from a legacy system at that scale, however, would require a commitment to proactive change management.

Seizing the Opportunity 

KeyBank’s procurement department handles activities that range from managing and negotiating high-risk, large-spend deals, to providing KeyBank teams with self-service options including vendor catalogs, meeting and event coordination, corporate travel, and expense management. Most of the bank’s third-party purchasing happens through a centralized procurement process, spanning bid analysis to payments. 

For that reason, it made sense to utilize Workday Strategic Sourcing to support the source-to-pay business process. That didn’t mean saying goodbye to specialized tools that deliver clear value to KeyBank’s procurement activities. In fact, the bank utilizes more than half-a-dozen tools, some integrated with Workday Strategic Sourcing and others standalone, to support market analysis, document signature, risk management, and data analytics.

That said, the decision to move on from its legacy procurement system in early 2022 involved large-scope change, Loos noted, encompassing requirements identification and identification of buying channels, contracts, receiving, invoicing, requisitions, purchase orders, payments, and reporting. 

The sheer size of the undertaking was daunting, but the array of benefits made possible from operating on the unified Workday platform made the major shift more than worthwhile, according to Loos. For the procurement team, moving off their legacy system resulted in benefits that include: 

  • Real-time contract reporting that connects directly into agreements to make updates, tag stakeholders, and enter status notes—no spreadsheets necessary. 

  • A “Team Chat” function that permits tagged stakeholders to review requests and quickly take action in one place with no need for overlapping email threads. “A colleague can log in to the tool and chat with my team, so we have a live, active record of all the communication going back and forth on our contracts,” Loos said. 

  • Access to automated emails that KeyBank uses to notify approvers of a contract in queue for review and/or renewal, and seamless DocuSign integration for signature.

“Workday Strategic Sourcing has also leveled up procurement management through visibility into and collaboration on the organization’s pipeline of projects,” said Ryan Pytel, vice president and procurement category manager at KeyBank. Because the platform enables easy status logging and categorizing of projects in motion, Pytel has a clearer sense of the team’s current and future workload.

Meanwhile, Pytel’s team can provide seamless coverage when someone is out on personal leave. “Now somebody is able to pick up a project and continue it, leave notes and documentation, attach different bids, etcetera. The platform really gives that seamless transition from one hand to another,” Pytel added.

Knowledge sharing and project preparation have also transformed. Previously, pulling together a new request for proposal (RFP) meant a search in shared folder drives for examples of past similar RFPs. Today, searching isn’t necessary.

“In Workday Strategic Sourcing, all that information is there; it’s all linked together through a chain. You can see the project that led to the contract, which is tied to the savings booked,” Pytel said. “It really gives great efficiency to my team, as well as to me from a leadership perspective.”

In 2021, KeyBank’s finance organization made the strategic decision to adopt Workday finance products to help modernize and simplify a complex ecosystem of processes and operations.

Champions for Change

All those benefits didn’t appear overnight, of course. They resulted from a seven-month process of planning, designing, configuring, testing, and deploying. Dozens of KeyBank staffers were involved, including a 12-person change management team charged with ensuring that the implementation process went smoothly. 

The team’s change management strategy focused on creating a Change Champion Network. “We pulled people from different focus areas across the bank to become Change Champions,” Loos said. Change Champions were equipped to train their peers and make the value of moving to the new Workday Procurement platform clear.

The change management model worked well leading up to the go-live date and beyond. “The fact that we had the change management process and team in place during implementation significantly helped for a smoother rollout,” said Andrej Mejak, KeyBank’s procurement contracts administrator. 

The Change Champions helped smooth the path-to-value realization and reduce points of friction for about 18,000 KeyBank employees with the ability to access supplier catalogs, place non-catalog requisitions, and interact with procurement for contracts.

As KeyBank works through subsequent phases of its digital transformation, the financial services company expects to continue to realize true value from its Workday deployment.

20/20 Spend Vision

The procurement version of the business adage “You can’t manage what you don’t measure” might be: “You can’t control the spend you can’t see.” Workday spend management solutions were designed to achieve more than just cost savings—although those savings are very real. The benefits flow from the software’s innovative architecture that automatically links data and transactions related to all procurement activities, and then automatically makes real-time adjustments.

A crucial result: analytics and reporting that eliminate data silos open up visibility into spending and power valuable insights. “From the beginning, our goal was to challenge the status quo,” said Julie Peacock, director, solution marketing, spend management at Workday. “So, we really rethought the notion of enterprise software as a platform that was built for change.” Workday spend management applications provide a full source-to-pay platform that tightly integrates with a company’s financials, planning, and reporting foundation.

With proactive spend management capabilities now at hand, Peacock said, “We have customers who have seen real ROI: $40 million in savings for every $1 billion spent.” That’s what a single platform joining activities across the entire source-to-pay continuum—thus enabling complete stakeholder engagement and powering continuous spend insights—can deliver. 

And it’s not an all-or-nothing change proposition. Workday spend management solutions can be implemented in a modular fashion. “You can take bits and pieces of this as you’re implementing, and really drive organizational alignment, adoption, and value over time,” Peacock said.

These benefits are crucial to keeping the business on track for growth. As KeyBank works through subsequent phases of its digital transformation, the financial services company expects to continue to realize true value from its Workday deployment.

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