New Research

Procurement can’t afford to be a digital laggard in today’s complex landscape

Alex Saric, CMO, Ivalua

In today’s turbulent business landscape, the challenges facing organisations have become increasingly complex, with uncertainty from geopolitical events such as Brexit and tariff negotiations impacting day-to-day operations. Leading the charge in navigating this constantly shifting trading environment is the Procurement department.

Procurement teams are becoming a more intrinsic part of business strategy, able to help organisations manage and predict supply chain risk, unlock innovation, create sustainable cost savings, and help grow revenue. However, as things stand, many Procurement teams aren’t digitally mature enough to provide this input to the business.

Outdated processes draining time and money

While functions like marketing and accounting have embraced emerging technologies to make significant efficiency improvements and provide business value, too many of today’s Procurement professionals are still heavily reliant on inefficient manual tasks, limiting their effectiveness. In fact, our latest report of UK businesses, conducted with Vanson Bourne, found that two-thirds (66 per cent) of businesses are still reliant on paper-based, manual processes as part of their Procurement or supplier management function.

This is having a serious impact on the effectiveness of Procurement, with teams spending almost a third (31 per cent) of their time dealing with these inefficient processes, spread across a sprawling mess of emails, spreadsheets and paper forms/documents. Not only is this costing UK businesses on average £1.94 m annually, it’s also limiting the time teams can spend on strategic tasks, effectively holding them back from doing their jobs.

Smart Procurement can unlock a strategic advantage 

To address this, Procurement must play digital catch up. Encouragingly, many organisations are starting to take heed, with the majority of businesses investing in technology to digitise processes. Cloud and data analytics are leading the way to help centralise data and help teams identify trends. AI and digital assistants are also being adopted, to provide help with task automation and answering simple queries. 

However, despite this investment, businesses have currently digitised less than half (45 per cent) of Procurement processes. This lack of digitisation means data is kept in various places and forms, limiting Procurement’s ability to gain insights into spend and supplier management. 

Digital transformation has become a major priority for Procurement departments to access and provide these insights. But to enact this transformation, more must be done to invest in the right tools to help Procurement succeed. It’s vital that organisations capitalise on the opportunity to transform themselves from a digital laggard into an advanced Procurement department. 

Cloud-based Smart Procurement platforms are key to enabling effective digital transformation, helping businesses to centralise all spend and supplier data, capturing everything digitally. Making Procurement become smarter allows organisations to create a competitive advantage and unlock the strategic benefits Procurement holds, something that’s vital if businesses want to thrive in today’s fierce global market.

If you would like to read the latest UK Report –Procurement: The next great digital transformation frontier? please click here

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