Ivalua Blog

AI, Data and the Future of Procurement



by Vishal Patel

“I’m sorry George, I’m afraid I don’t have an answer for that!”

Recently I overheard my 6 year old son, George asking Siri if she had a willy.  For those of you not familiar with either small children or colloquial English, try it yourselves, and see what happens!

We will no doubt all have seen the amazing demo from Google and, whether it was as ‘real’ as Google made out, this tech is coming.  Microsoft also have one, just in China for now, and again it looks amazing.

These two tech giants are investing big and your future workforce i.e. George (albeit in around 20 years) will not even remember a time when we didn’t have it, so time for all of us to get onboard.

46% of Procurement Leaders interviewed, said they were planning major investments in AI this year

Procurement Leaders are going to be investing big in AI in the next 12 months,  according to a recent Forrester Report, “Enabling Smarter Procurement How Modern Software Can Help Address Chief Procurement Officers’ New Priorities”,  46% of Procurement Leaders interviewed, said they were planning major investments in AI this year.  A further 9% is planning major investment in the next 24 months.

If you are in the 18% that has no plans, or the 2% that is not sure, you might want to rethink that decision.  If you are in the 25% that will be testing the water, then you might be interested in reading the above report, or even checking out a blog I recently saw on Procurious’s website by Betrand Maltraverne, which looks at 2 user cases

Use Case 1: Chatbot as Admin helping with Guided Buying – so as in my example above the chatbot, could steer users away from non catagolue purchases and also crucially remind users of awaiting approvals and also do approvals via the chat.

Use Case 2: Chatbot acts like a Colleague or consultant reacting to a change in circumstances, in this case an earthquake and offering a response to make sure that business is not affected.

Have a look at the blog, as it includes 2 really nice demos of the 2 Use Cases.  

10% of the Senior Procurement Leaders think Data Quality is “insurmountable”

Many Procurement Organisations are already using these examples in real life, and Ivalua has seen great innovations in guided buying and getting reports and queries.  However, we strongly believe that, before rushing in, organisations spend time cleaning up their data, as Forrester say in the report “Enabling Smarter Procurement, May 2018”

“AI-based applications have finally come of age and can now add tremendous value to organizations, in that they can free up time consuming tasks and offer contextual insights. However, this is completely dependent on data quality, which should run parallel to technology adoption

10% of the Senior Procurement Leaders interviewed as part of Forrester’s Research said that Data Quality was an “insurmountable” which is something that Ivalua is well positioned to address.

The Future of Procurement

George will be available for employment in around 2035, if his ‘future job’ has not been already taken over by a Bot.  However, what is certain is that the role he will be doing will be adding more value to his organisation, and will be more intellectually stimulating as the Bots will be doing a lot of the more mundane tasks, leaving future employees free to get on with the more Strategic initiatives.  I like this vision of the future where AI works alongside humans, rather than replacing them! Read Tim O’Reilly’s Blog Do More! What Amazon Teaches Us About AI and the “Jobless Future”, which is a great viewpoint on how we are are already benefiting from AI and machines and how it is driving huge change and opportunity.

Read the Report, Tune into the Webinar

The Enabling Smarter Procurement Report by Forrester, commissioned by Ivalua is available to download.  This week on the 13th June we are also lucky enough to be hosting a webinar, at which Duncan Jones. Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester, will be talking through the findings of the report.  Click here to register.    We would love to hear your viewpoint on this subject, so do get in touch if you have questions or want to add your voice to this debate.

Vishal Patel

VP Product Marketing

Vishal has spent the last 1​5​ years in various roles within the Procurement and Supply Chain technology market.  As an industry analyst, he researched and advised organizations in various industries​ on best ​and innovative practices, digitization and optimization.  He brings a thorough understanding of market trends and digital​ technologies that can help enterprises be more effective ​with their Procurement and Supply Chain strategies.  He works to ensure that ​organizations are empowered with technology platforms that enable flexibility, innovation, and agility. ​

You can connect with Vishal on Linkedin

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