The analyst team at Ardent Partners has been writing about procurement people, processes, technologies, and industry best practices that have helped to propel the profession forward even before the firm’s creation. In the nearly 20 years since, we have seen the development of innovative, game-changing technologies, like business process automation tools, mobile devices and applications, social-collaborative tools, cloud-based technologies, and solution suites. At the time of their development, these were considered “advanced;” but today, they permeate the business landscape and would hardly be considered so. Still, they continue to improve business processes, drive value, and make lives a lot easier for sourcing and procurement practitioners.
Choosing a supply management solution or solution suite today can be a difficult decision. The B2B solution market abounds with powerful automated tools that can remove paper and inefficiency from the source-to-settle process and make quick(er) work of it all. Fewer hands can get more done now than ten or even five years ago; and things are poised to only get better. Many solution providers have seen the writing on the wall with the rise of connected devices (the so-called “Internet of Things”), Big Data, and the opportunities that lie therein to extract value from it all. As a result, many solution providers have begun the long crawl from simply managing large volumes of data to harnessing its power in order to further improve business processes and provide even more value to enterprises.
Ardent Partners’ recent research report, Sourcing and Procurement: The 2016-2017 Technology and Innovation Outlook Report, chronicles the evolution of sourcing and procurement technologies over the last two decades to where they are today and poised to go tomorrow. This report, which is chock full of great insights on many advanced, distinct sourcing and procurement technologies, has spawned a series here on CPO Rising that will look in depth at each of the innovative solutions coming onto the market today and in the near future. This series will feature discussions on:
- “Moneyball for Procurement,” which leverages Big Data, analytics, and performance metrics to make empirical sourcing and procurement decisions, rather than by “gut feel”;
- Optimization-based sourcing tools, which take a holistic view of supply chains and shipping lanes and provide users with the “optimal” supplier and carrier scenarios;
- Contract analytics, discovery, and search tools, which leverage advanced algorithms, automation, and Big Data to scour reams of contracts and deliver actionable contract intelligence to users when and where they need it;
- Performance, or savings management tools, which consolidate spend and savings data relative to a project over the lifecycle of that project, which can be handy when justifying program expenditures and overhead;
- Cash management tools, like dynamic discounting and supply chain financing, that are giving enterprises more flexibility with regard to how they finance purchases and build supplier relationships;
- Advanced, or next-generation spend analysis solutions, which once again harness the power of Big Data to provide even more insightful and actionable intelligence;
- Predictive analytics, which will take spend analysis even further by learning from reams of spend, supplier, and market data, and modeling scenarios for data managers and procurement leaders;
- Machine learning, which leverages past sourcing events and user interface to learn patterns and adapt to the way that users and organizations conduct business;
- Artificial intelligence, which leverages machine learning and initial human interfacing to turn process automation into robot process automation;
- Natural language processing, which leverages algorithms and speech recognition to allow humans to converse and interact with AI, issue orders, make requests, and other things that were considered futuristic only a few years ago.
There is so much to learn in this new report (click here to download it with our compliments) that we are happy to present this series on all of the innovative sourcing and procurement technologies available in the market today and being developed for tomorrow. Be sure to tune in every week for the next installment.