John Hill, Chief Information Officer and Senior Vice President of Business Planning at Carhartt, has 20 years of experience in IT management, including expertise in strategic sourcing and strategic planning. Established in 1889, Carhartt is a family-owned workwear brand based in Dearborn, Michigan. With more than 5,600 associates worldwide, Carhartt continues to build upon its 131-year-old legacy of delivering purpose-built products to hardworking people.\nRunning Carhartt\u2019s 125-130-person IT department is just one of the hats that John Hill wears. Unlike many of his IT peers, the CIO and Senior VP also oversees all aspects of the company\u2019s planning operations, including demand, channel, assortment, and supply chain planning.\n\u201cI spend more than half of my time on business matters, not on IT,\u201d Hill says.\nHill\u2019s planning roles are far from trivial. Over the past 15 years, Carhartt has produced more than 80 million garments and accessories in its U.S. plants, using materials sourced from both domestic and international suppliers.\nNo surprise then that, for Carhartt, procurement and supply chain management have always been a key focus of IT. \u00a0Growing numbers of Hill\u2019s CIO peers are also finding they must devote more attention and support to these once-peripheral areas as their strategic importance grows and their IT demands increase.\nAn embrace of the cloud\nAs is true for most of Carhartt\u2019s IT operations, the company will look to leverage a cloud-based solution for its procurement and sourcing needs. \u201cOver the next couple of years, we\u2019ll get rid of our data center,\u201d Hill says.\nWhile expense reduction is a common catalyst for cloud migrations, cost isn\u2019t the main driver behind Carhartt\u2019s cloud adoption. Hill cites three main reasons for moving to the cloud: faster time to market; reducing risk (\u201cA big cloud provider can spend far more on security than I can,\u201d he notes.); and leaving it to the cloud provider to manage the infrastructure upgrade path.\nOne major element of Carhartt\u2019s cloud migration involves a broad transformation program to replace the company\u2019s ERP system. That project, which will entail an end-to-end overhaul of all of the company\u2019s business processes, will include the deployment of an SAP ERP suite in Microsoft\u2019s Azure cloud infrastructure.\nDespite Carhartt\u2019s selection of the multifunction SAP suite as its core ERP platform, Hill\u2019s team has not decided on a procurement and sourcing platform. Hill, who started his career in procurement and ran a $3 billion sourcing operation, knows that Carhartt\u2019s complex and global supply chain operations require a best-of-breed solution in this area.\nEven so, Hill isn\u2019t rushing to make a selection. \u201cWe\u2019re getting our sourcing processes and best practices in place before we even start thinking about a sourcing system,\u201d he says.\nSpend management is key\nOnce Carhartt is ready to move forward on this front, \u201cThe number one issue in selecting a sourcing platform will be spend management,\u201d Hill says. \u201cYou need to understand where your money is going and how it\u2019s driving your business objectives.\u201d\nMore specifically, a key attribute for any sourcing and spend management solution is the ability to help a company determine how its spending compares to other firms, Hill says. Such consumer-like community data and insights \u201ccan help a business get an understanding of absolute competitiveness,\u201d he says. \u201cThat\u2019s where you see the benefits of the networking effect.\u201d\nThe spend management platform should also integrate easily with contract management solutions and help a company properly structure negotiations with vendors and other partners.\n\u201cA lot of companies are a little too freewheeling when it comes to their approach to negotiations,\u201d Hill cautions. \u201cThey don\u2019t understand all of the deal terms and tradeoffs.\n\u201cEvery term and condition needs to be transformed into a cost,\u201d he adds. \u201cThe ability to monetize that as part of the negotiation strategy would be a differentiator for any sourcing product.\u201d\nBusiness Spend Management leader Coupa gives companies the visibility, control, and insights they need to better manage their spend, and in so doing, facilitates IT and business unit partnership. For further information about Coupa\u2019s solution, go to https:\/\/www.coupa.com.\nClick here to read this ongoing series of interviews about how the role of the CIO is evolving as digital transformation initiatives mature.