Is the Future Already Here? Best Intelligent Procurement Posts of 2016

It’s been a year of mashups.

In the first quarter of this year, we held the Global Procurement Technology Summit (GPTS) in Baltimore, Md., during which CPOs, ex-CPOs, academics, government officials, NGOs, analysts and providers all joined together to speak, listen and discuss the future of procurement — a nexus of industry intelligence.

Same goes for perhaps the most fascinating company for the industry, Amazon, which is itself a mashup. As Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell put it in the Top "Intelligent Procurement" Post of 2016 (below), Amazon is “the ultimate mashup firm with perhaps the most advanced supply chain in the world.”

1. Procurement: Be Intelligent and Disrupt Thyself!

Because of the above statement, Spend Matters plans to have a dedicated Best of Amazon in 2016 post, so we won’t get into too many details here. Yet intelligent procurement was indeed the cornerstone of the GPTS in many ways, from Amazon Business’s Prentis Wilson presenting an overview of their procurement mantra, to IBM’s Dan Carrell outlining how Watson is slicing and dicing massive sets of data to arm the procurement function with advanced ammunition.

In "Procurement: Be Intelligent and Disrupt Thyself!," Mitchell gets at the heart of why the future of procurement technology matters so much to practitioners and their organizations’ overall processes.

2. Big Data Presents Opportunities for the Supply Chain, but are Organizations Taking Advantage of It?

Speaking of Watson, the Spend Matters team has been all over Big Data and ‘cognitive procurement’ this past year, and Kaitlyn McAvoy’s post from this past June looked at the industry’s relationship with Big Data analytics. (Some companies, such as IBM, are blazing the trail in cognitive procurement, which is light years ahead in many interesting ways.) But many others are still trying to figure out exactly how to attack big data within their businesses — to say nothing of their varying advances toward overall digitization.

3. Procurement as a Service: The Time is at Hand

Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention our coverage of Procurement as a Service — including design-centered thinking and innovation as applied to the industry, and much more to come down the pike in 2017, led by Pierre Mitchell — but a top-read post from this past year was a guest contribution from a kindred force in the procurement media world, Phil Ideson of the Art of Procurement. An excerpt:

“The as-a-service delivery model will give companies access to subject matter expertise and technology that is delivered on-demand. Organizations will be able to pay for only the services and technology they need and, importantly, use. Activities will be unbundled and will be available on a plug-and-play basis. This shift will present significant opportunities — and challenges — to the c-suite, procurement service providers and practitioners. As I talk to clients and industry thought leaders, consensus is building on the possible impact of the as-a-service delivery model on procurement.”

We’re all excited to see what the “as-a-service” mantra will mean for procurement, intelligent and otherwise, in 2017.

And as for a parting thought for all of us, maybe procurement can’t truly become intelligent until it decides what it should call itself.

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