The Innovation Category

How AI Forces Procurement to Change the Concept of Contract Management: A Q&A with Seal Software CEO Ulf Zetterberg

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Artificial intelligence (AI) may be the holy grail of procurement software capabilities, but few vendors have begun to distinguish the plain chalice of useful functionality from the jewel-encrusted goblet of empty marketing promises. This is especially true when it comes to contract management software, which claims numerous possible applications of AI yet few real-life case studies. To learn more about how the contract management software market has evolved in this context, we sat down with Ulf Zetterberg, founder and CEO of Seal Software, a provider of contract discovery, extraction and analytics solutions, to discuss how procurement organizations can tell if AI capabilities are the real deal, as well as how regulatory challenges from GDPR and increased M&A are changing the very concept of CLM.

The Rise of the Social Enterprise (Part 3): Are Humans and Robots Smarter Together?

Robots are not our overlords (yet), but they will be our colleagues — if they aren’t already. According to Deloitte’s survey of 11,070 business and HR professionals around the world, the findings of which are published in the colossal 2018 Global Human Capital Trends Report, 47% say that their organizations are already undertaking automation projects. Twenty-four percent are using artificial intelligence and robotics to perform routine tasks, 16% are using automation to augment human skills, and 7% are restructuring work altogether.

Solution Provider Product and Technology Roadmaps: Are They Important? [Plus+]

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The short answer to the question posed in the title is emphatically and definitively “yes” — now more than ever. When screening or evaluating technology solution providers for e-procurement, contract lifecycle management, vendor management systems (VMS) or any other solution, there is frequently an inherent present and backward-looking bias in evaluating and making decisions about these solutions. Considering only what solutions have done or are doing for their clients (and ex-clients) only tells so much about whether or not the solution is a good fit.

There are probably a number of reasons for this bias, including that it may have led to optimal decisions in the past because vendors often over-promised and only partially delivered. But in today’s world, this bias can handicap a procurement organization given the growing number of new solutions and rapid changes in technology. Whether intentional or not on the part of the solution provider, “adverse selection” may come into play here — to the detriment of all. By not knowing where a provider plans or intends to (or actually can) take its solution in the future, the buyer is missing crucial information that could result in a bad decision. Making sure that roadmaps are reviewed and analyzed is an important way to mitigate this risk.

In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, we explore this problem and make suggestions to support ways to move beyond it, including how to look at a provider’s product and technology maps from a 2017 cloud-era frame of reference. For those who are new to this topic, we start with the basics, providing an explanation of what vendor product and technology roadmaps are, what they should contain and what you should expect.

The 3 Contract Management Concepts that Will Enable Digital Transformation

As we explored in the first part of this series, a successful digital transformation is defined by certain characteristics. These characteristics touch the core processes of the business, which means that driving a digital transformation requires changing the core systems of commerce as well. And there’s no better way to start reforming core business processes than taking a digital approach to managing your contracts. With the strategy clear, the next step to enabling digital transformation is to understand the key aspects of a digital contract lifecycle management (CLM)system. Knowing these three key concepts will get you up to speed, and putting them to work will create the business and technical foundations you need for a successful digital transformation.

SRM Provider Kodiak Rating to Develop Blockchain to Improve Supply Chain Transparency

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The Stockholm-based supplier relationship management provider Kodiak Rating announced that it will apply blockchain technology to improve supply chain transparency and traceability and to better manage supplier risk. Research and development will be supported by a 800,000 SEK grant (approximately $92,000) that was recently awarded to Kodiak Rating by Vinnova, a federal agency under Sweden’s Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation.

Achieving a Successful Robotic Process Automation Implementation: A Case Study of Vodafone and Celonis

Procurement organizations are beginning to catch on to robotic process automation (RPA) and the potential benefits that the technology can bring, which include cost reduction and more time for strategic, value-add activities. In fact, more than a third of procurement organizations are already piloting the technology, according to research from The Hackett Group. This was certainly the case for British multinational telecom corporation Vodafone, for which adoption of RPA quickly yielded results.

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Predictive Procurement: What Artificial Intelligence Promises to Purchasing

Social networks brought with them upheaval, by radically changing the way people and companies communicate with each other. With this we can see how a new technology has been able to change corporate practices, particularly in purchasing, by inducing a more collaborative approach in the supplier relationship. So, what about AI and robotization? Will these new digital technologies invest in purchasing? What results will such a transformation cause?

Study Finds Nascent Adoption of AI and Robotics in Retail and Manufacturing Supply Chains

Take a guess: How widespread is adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in retail and manufacturing supply chains? The answer is somewhat complicated. According to a recent survey from Eft, 46.1% of retailers and manufacturers report no usage of AI in their supply chain operations, but a significant percentage (33.4%) are using the technology in an experimental manner. Only 4% reported extensive usage on specific business processes or throughout the entire supply chain.

How Can Retailers Use Blockchain? New Deloitte Report Outlines 16 Use Cases

Last year, the value of the global counterfeit goods market was estimated to exceed $450 billion, an issue that blockchain solution providers such as Everledger and Blockverify have begun to tackle. The retail and consumer packaged goods industries particularly stand to benefit from implementing blockchain, a new Deloitte report argues. Blockchain would be able to tackle a number of supply chain challenges that these two industries face, from traceability and compliance to stakeholder management and flexibility in the face of risks and unexpected events.

Companies Are Investing in AI and Automation to Boost Talent Recruitment and Retention

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If you haven’t yet listened to the demo of the much-buzzed-about AI-powered Google Duplex, which can book your haircuts and make dinner reservations, certainly do so. The ambition is remarkable — can artificial intelligence really master the nuances of polite conversation? — even if the product does not completely deliver. (At times, Google Duplex sputtered and jumped jarringly between different speech cadences.)

Google’s developers confirmed that the human on the other end of the call would be informed that she or he is speaking to AI, which makes me wonder how social norms would change in a human-AI conversation. I thought of this when I came across Randstad Sourceright’s recent report showing that businesses are increasingly using AI to recruit skilled employees and address talent shortages, a well-reported challenge in the procurement sector.

Why Supply Chain Finance Could Be the Key to Widespread Blockchain Adoption

Organizations are emerging from the hype phase for the technology and instead starting to take stock of whether they have the technical expertise and talent to actually use blockchain. To do that, they’ll need to know not only where blockchain could be applied in the supply chain but how exactly it works. Only then can procurement organizations begin to assess whether they’ll be ready to take the next adoption step with the technology.

This is the objective of a new study by CAPS Research of Arizona State University. During a presentation Monday at ISM2018, Dale Rogers and Thomas Choi took attendees through a detailed tour of blockchain, from its origins as a descendant of ERP systems to potential ways procurement can spur adoption of the technology using supply chain finance.

Coupa Inspire Dispatch: Rob Bernshteyn on the Shift to Business Spend Management

Rob Bernshteyn, Coupa’s CEO, kicked off Inspire 2018 this morning with an hour-long speech that only he could pull off.

Rob’s talk zig-zagged between providing an overview that framed spending and buying in a new context (“business spend management”), providing a fly-by of Coupa’s suite on a high level, diving deep into products in specific areas, sharing what seemed like 100 screenshots of current and emerging capabilities (especially centered on community intelligence and user guidance) and ploughing through some 50+ facts and figures highlighting different areas of progress Coupa is making.