The Innovation Category

Extinction event: Amazon Textract has just killed the OCR industry. Who’s next and who’s safe?

disruption

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Doug Hudgeon, a business automation expert.

The annual Amazon AWS Re:Invent conference has just finished. The most interesting announcement in the conference was not one of high-profile changes to their serverless and machine learning platforms. The most interesting announcement was a three-minute video about Textract, a new OCR (optical character recognition) service from Amazon. This service extracts text and tables from documents and is priced at $1.50 per 1,000 pages.

The Textract OCR service is interesting for three reasons, each of which is worthy of an article in itself, but we'll briefly look at all three here and the industries that are affected.

AI in Procurement: The Day After Tomorrow [PRO]

SciQuest

Spend Matters has been exploring the state of artificial intelligence in procurement. Before we look into the future, let’s see where we’re at now. We started with AI in Procurement Today (Part 1 and Part 2), which was followed by AI in Procurement Tomorrow (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). This leads one to ask, what comes next? A number of vendors are already working on the tomorrow features and a few even have some in beta.

We aren't going to look too far into future because we want to stick to capabilities you should see in the next decade. So here’s a representative list of some of the more common features coming down the pipe. You should expect to see:

  • Tail spend elimination
  • Guided procurement
  • Performance improvement

AI in Procurement Tomorrow (Part 3): Category Wizards Will Save Time, Add Strategic Muscle [PRO]

In this series, Spend Matters delves into the status of artificial intelligence, with a focus on how AI can improve the sourcing and procuring process. Today the technology is really “assisted intelligence,” which was detailed in our precursor series: AI in Procurement Today, Part 1 and Part 2). The technology of tomorrow promises the “augmented intelligence” that we are discussing in this series, as some vendors already have limited beta capabilities. In the first two articles, we discussed how tomorrow's systems are going to help considerably with overspend protection and how "ninjabots" can crunch data on buying and automatic opportunity identification. In this article, we'll consider “category wizards” and how they can put a halt to manual tasks — like defining/assessing categories and choosing the best procurement process — thereby adding strategic prowess for even the lowest of buyers.

AI In Procurement Tomorrow (Part 2): Ninjabots and Augmented Intelligence [PRO]

In this series we are discussing artificial intelligence, with AI touted by many a salesperson. Virtually every vendor is claiming AI, even though it’s a stretch to promote having a fully functioning model. However, if you are willing to settle for “assisted intelligence,” that AI exists today (as per our precursor series that you can read here: AI in Procurement Today, Part 1 and Part 2), and it won't be long before we have the “augmented intelligence” that we are discussing in this series, as some vendors already have limited beta capabilities (that are typically restricted to a subset of categories) in many of these areas. In our last article, we discussed how tomorrow's systems are going to help considerably with overspend protection. In today's article, we'll consider “ninjabots” and dive into invisible buying, automatic buying and automatic opportunity identification.

Blockchain Can Pay Off for XaaS Businesses and Others That Don’t Dismiss It, Study Says

blockchain

As the potential for blockchain usage moves beyond its roots in digital currency, a new study sheds light on how blockchain can bolster “everything-as-a-service” (XaaS) business models, now pervasive in the e-procurement area. “For the emerging ‘everything-as-a-service’ delivery model, blockchain application code will be a key to enabling pay-by-the-use arrangements between service providers and consumers,” says the study by The Hackett Group.

AI in Procurement Tomorrow (Part 1): Recap and Overspend Prevention Examples [PRO]

As we highlighted in our earlier series on AI in Procurement Today (see Part 1 and Part 2), artificial intelligence is the buzzword — or, more precisely, the buzz acronym — du jour in procurement software. Virtually every vendor these days is either claiming to have AI or to be working on it, even if all the vendor has, or is working on, is robotic process automation (RPA).

Whether your vendor has AI or not, however, is not the most pressing question. Because AI is coming, possibly faster than you think. Moreover, if you don't adopt (at least the precursor) technology today, your procurement organization may be left in the dust tomorrow.

From Palm Pilot to AI: How Today’s Technologies Will Shape the Modern Finance Office

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Melissa Hendrick, Yooz North America's vice president of marketing. 

Remember the early days of personal digital assistants and cellphones? Before they were “smart”? We were wowed by the first hand-held computers like the Palm Pilot and BlackBerry, but few among us knew then that in a few short years, we would become dependent upon them in all aspects of our personal and business lives. Technology and time march swiftly on, and business moves fast. Senior finance executives need to understand how today’s emerging innovations are already impacting business operations, profits and productivity, and how to adapt or consequently fall behind.

ERP Systems Under Pressure as Internet of Things (IoT) Piles on the Data, Survey Finds

As the industrial internet of things (IoT) integration grows more complex and the cost of broad-based IoT integration and monitoring continues to fall, businesses are becoming aware of the limitations of their enterprise software in making use of IoT data, a survey finds. IoT involves the monitoring of all aspects of manufacturing or a business by imbedding monitors in things like components, production lines or fleets of vehicles, so it’s easy to see how they would create a flood of data. IFS North America, a business software provider who commissioned the study with researcher IEN and analyzed the results, asked 200 IoT decision makers across a range of industries how well their software facilitated IoT data integration in 2017 and 2018. The results show a decline in confidence.

Sponsored Article

6 Ways to Leverage AI in Procurement Today

cognitive computing

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most hyped-up topics in business right now. Gartner has included a number of AI applications in their 2018 Hype Cycle for most important emerging technologies. To take matters further, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai recently said he expects AI to become more important for humanity than even fire or electricity.

Almost every week we hear of new ways AI revolutionizing business practices, but where does this leave procurement? The good news is, if your procurement organization is ready for digital, it’s ready for AI. Here are six concrete ways you can get started.

‘I Have Plenty of Stories’ — Roy Anderson Details Procurement’s Digital Roots and Its Future

Procurement veteran Roy Anderson understands the current digital revolution that holds so much promise, and some pain, for businesses because he’s been a leader of it for over 30 years. From Raytheon in the 1980s to building procurement software from scratch to today’s AI buzz, he has a story for every step of the way:

“Moving to a printed requisition was what [stakeholders] thought was automation.”

“Simplify the process. ... Eliminate the excess and then automate the mundane. … It’s still valid today, on how to do business.”

“As I did strategic sourcing, I found problems. I have plenty of stories around problems you find. ... Your current suppliers know bad things have occurred, but they always want to stay quiet.”

Anderson, now with Tradeshift, sat down with another procurement veteran, Pierre Mitchell of Spend Matters, to share some laughs and lessons about how the industry adapted to digital changes over the last 40 years. The following is the first of three-part series of their conversation, which has been edited for clarity. Part 2 will run Wednesday, and Part 3 on Friday.

AI in Procurement Today (Part 2): 6 Applications in P2P [PRO]

As we discussed in Part 1 of this series, AI is the reigning buzzword of the day in procurement software. Just about every enterprise vendor out there claims to have AI, even if all they have is RPA. To help procurement organizations get up to speed, we reviewed the definition of each of the technologies in the “cognitive” stack — RPA, ML, AR, AI and cognitive — and discussed how some (but definitely not all) platforms are making use of these emerging technologies to make procurement faster, better and more productive than ever before.

Specifically, in Part 1 we discussed how the right application of these assistive technologies today can give you a platform that provides true automation, smart auto-reorder of MRO/retail stock and enhanced mobile support. We also noted that there were just a few of the applications that were available. Today, we review three more capabilities that a best-of-breed procurement platform should provide to take your (tactical) procurement to the next level.

Why Community Intelligence is the Leading Coupa Value Proposition

Brexit

The Spend Matters team is on the ground at Coupa Inspire 2018 EMEA, in London, where Coupa CEO Rob Bernshteyn kicked off the event by reiterating the company’s vision through a letter-by-letter explanation of Coupa’s name. We’ve covered this approach to defining Coupa before, and while the attributes of openness, usability, prescriptive and acceleration are all of course applicable, we respectfully disagree with choice for “C.” While Coupa is indeed “comprehensive,” there is a better choice: community.