What Procurement Processes are Organizations Automating the Most?

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When it comes to automating procurement processes, the automation of invoicing receipt and processing is most widespread, according to a recent survey. About 50% of procurement and finance professionals surveyed by spend control and e-procurement solution provider Proactis reported a high level of automation in invoicing processes within their organization. Additionally, 14% said their invoicing systems were fully automated.  

Automating purchase-to-pay (P2P) processes was also popular, with 43% of respondents reporting a high level of automation and 25% saying their P2P process was fully automated.

The fact that these procurement processes had the highest level of automation is not surprising, according to Proactis. The high level of invoicing and P2P automation could be due to an organization’s strategic initiatives such as standardizing and centralizing accounts payable and other shared services, the report said.

However, an interesting finding in the survey was that among the organizations without any automation in invoicing processes or P2P, roughly a third have no plans to introduce automation to those areas of the business. Thirty-five percent of survey participants said they had no plans to focus on automation invoice receipt and processing in the near term and 33% said they had no plans to automate P2P processes.

Procurement Processes Lacking Automation

The procurement processes with the lowest level of automation was supplier relationship management, with 68% percent of survey respondents reporting no automation in supply relationship. Half or more of the procurement and finance professionals surveyed also reported no automation in supplier information management, electronic supplier commerce and strategic sourcing processes at their organization. Proactis said these results were consistent with conversations the provider has had with organizations.

However, organizations do plan to ramp up automation in the near term, according to the survey. For example, 56% said they would implement supplier information management automation in six months or less and 93% said they would do so “at some point.” Similarly, 52% of procurement and finance professionals said would automate supplier relationship management processes within six months or less and 95% said they would “at some point.”

Public Sector Sees More Automation Than Private

More public sector organizations are automating processes than those in the private sector, the survey showed. The public sector, overall, had the highest average level of automation in most areas when compared to the private sector and the nonprofit sector. Nearly all respondents in the survey within the public sector reported some level of automation in their organization. The public sector is also the only sector that had respondents saying they were fully automated in any source-to-contract areas.

Overall, the majority of organizations surveyed across all sectors have relatively low levels of automation, meeting what Proactis defined as “basic” or “structured” automation maturity levels, according to the report, showing there is much room for improvement and growth opportunities.

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