Procurement and supply chain technology is hot. This has certainly been true as far as investment in procurement-related and supply chain software goes. Between 2011 and 2015, the annual number of deals grew by over 500% and the annual investment in these software companies grew by an astounding 1000%.
Clearly most of this steady rise of investment into procurement and supply chain technology has been in software outside of contingent workforce and services procurement. But while the technology temperature has been rising rapidly in goods and material (direct and indirect) procurement, it is also beginning to inch up, perhaps imperceptibly to many practitioners, in labor and services procurement, as well. And that rise may be accelerating, as new entrants, especially digital platform providers, potentially leapfrog some of the incumbent technology players.
Contingent workforce practitioners and VMS and MSP professionals — a heads up. We’ve all heard of the scenario of the frog in a pot of cold water that’s gradually heated to the boiling point. That’s something you'd probably like to avoid.
Contingent workforce and services buyers and technology solution providers would be well served by seeing what’s happening outside of their contingent workforce and services procurement silo (or kettle). Doing so may provide some insight into the future of contingent workforce and services technology.
Technology is quite liquid and has little respect for status quo boundaries. Moreover, integration across the procurement technology spectrum is starting to happen, presaged by the SAP joining of Ariba, Concur, Fieldglass, and Success Factors. (Note: To read more at Spend Matters on this overall trend, check out our recent commentary and analysis: Why World Domination in Indirect Procurement Might Come from VMS and VMS and E-Procurement: Bridging the Indirect and Services Procurement Gap.)
As enterprises rely more on external suppliers and services in an increasingly digital and networked world, procurement technology becomes essential to competitive enterprise performance. In just the past five years, there have been significant developments in the procurement technology space: new entrants, new solutions based on new technologies, new models based on platforms, networks and integration. (For example, read iPaaS 101: What Is It and Why It Matters.)
These developments are not stopping. The next stage is arriving already with big data, analytics, AI and machine learning and more. Technology will increasingly become the main lever through which procurement functions succeed in a critical role in the increasingly "borderless enterprise," and integration in many different directions will be a significant aspect of what unfolds.
There is an opportunity coming up March 14–15 that could help. The Global Procurement Tech Summit is designed to help procurement professionals gain insights into technology and technology solution trends — and real developments — and go back to their organizations better prepared to chart a course for their procurement technology investment and adoption. It can be very useful for contingent workforce and services buyers and technology solution provider professionals to look into the hotbed of the whole span of procurement and supply chain technology
We strongly suggest that contingent workforce and services procurement managers and technology solution professionals join us. The temperature is rising — don't be waiting for the boiling point.