The Procurement Systems & Architecture Category

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How a Source-to-Pay Migration is Like a Home Renovation

As with any home renovation project, your expectation is that you are going to wind up with a better home at the end. The same should be true for a move from one provider to another.  You should expect a serious upgrade at the end of your source-to-pay renovation. If you’re about to undergo your own S2P renovation, consider the following when making the move.

Manufacturers Are Moving Toward Digital Supply Networks, Despite Barriers

Manufacturers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits digital supply networks offer, but implementation of the technology still lags, according to a new study conducted by Deloitte and the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI). In contrast to a traditional supply chain, a digital supply network is a “flexible, interconnected matrix that allows data and information to move non-linearly to maximize efficiency to meet changing consumer and market demands,” the study authors write.

The Age of Analytics: Mainstream Adoption by Procurement Expected to Triple by 2021

Procurement has likely entered the beginning of a massive swell in the adoption of advanced analytics tools. Researchers from The Hackett Group have found that mainstream adoption of advanced analytics in procurement functions is expected to more than triple in the next two to three years, increasing from the current 20% to 63%. Given the benefits associated with the effective use of analytics, the increased adoption makes sense. Earlier research has found that analytics-driven organizations are twice as likely to be top financial performers and five times as likely to make faster and better decisions.

Robotic Process Automation Adoption: Early Challenges and Lessons Learned

Despite early successes, mainstream organizations are not yet making use of robotic process automation (RPA) technology. This may soon change, according to Hackett Group analysts, who predict that RPA adoption rates will rise in the next two or three years. According to the Hackett Group research, executives across departments are interested in increasing RPA adoption, with finance and global business services (GBS) executives particularly enthusiastic. GBS executives believe that mainstream adoption of RPA will increase five-fold to more than 52% within two or three years, and finance executives predict that adoption rates will increase to 38%.

3 Ways to Make Procurement Software Rankings Work for You

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If you’ve been living in a cave — or have been, say, mired in a labyrinthine RFI process with no hope of finding your way out — you may have missed Spend Matters’ Q1 2018 SolutionMap release earlier this week. The Spend Matters analysts and extended team unveiled comparative rankings of 40 procurement and supply chain technology solution providers, based on buying personas across nine total solution categories and presented in the form of two-by-two graphics. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg

Tech Enabling Procurement Shared Services: SAP Ariba Begins the Journey [PRO]

Procurement shared services organizations and centers of excellence (CoEs) are sometimes tasked with the operational management of source-to-pay technologies on behalf of the organizations they serve. But up until now, they have not utilized purpose-built solutions to improve their own operations. While many use core analytics, sourcing, contract management, supplier management, e-procurement and invoice-to-pay solutions in some capacity in the delivery of their services, the actual operational management of shared services organizations and CoEs themselves has been loosely integrated with underlying procurement technology at best.

In other words, there has not been an operational solutions layer specifically designed for procurement shared services and CoE groups that provides a single workbench to manage activities. This is true even though legacy SharePoint, business process management and workflow solutions often loosely hold some knitting together for these teams. SAP Ariba is hoping to change this with introduction of its Procurement Desk product, which Spend Matters PRO recently profiled, covering the solution’s current capabilities in its initial release and planned roadmap for the coming quarters.

This Spend Matters PRO brief explores how different procurement technologies enable the various roles that shared services organizations and CoEs assume — and the opportunity for an operational overlay on top of underlying procurement technology modules. As part of this analysis, we also consider how Procurement Desk may help meet the broader needs of shared services and CoEs, as well as opportunities for SAP Ariba and others to close the gaps that remain in developing purpose-built operational management solutions for these organizations.

SAP Ariba Procurement Desk: Shared Services and Center of Excellence (CoE) Enablement [PRO]

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Procurement shared services groups can take different shapes and can add different sources of value. Shared services tend to focus on procure-to-pay (P2P) and accounts payable support, including supplier enablement, supplier master data maintenance, transactional purchasing, transaction processing, invoice automation and exception management. CoEs focus on both a classic shared services model (i.e., supporting processes on behalf of the business units) or a more transformational CoE model (i.e., giving business units tools, training and focused resources like third-party services). 

The former tends to focus on tactical buying like spot buying and tail spend management, and the latter tends to focus on strategic procurement areas such as analytics, sourcing, category and supply market intelligence, and contract management support. Increasingly, a number of CoEs are focused on both areas, whether run and administered internally or in an outsourced manner — sometimes only in part — by a business process outsourcing (BPO) partner such as Accenture or GEP.

Yet even with the help of these outsourced partners, procurement shared services teams and CoEs have not had up to this point a purpose-built technology solution to manage their own operations. SAP Ariba is hoping to change this with its new Procurement Desk product. Available in March to limited release customers and in the summer months to all SAP Ariba customers, Procurement Desk has big plans to improve the capability of shared services teams and CoEs to deliver value and drive continuous improvement.

Based on demonstration sessions, presentations and analyst discussions at SAP Ariba Live in March 2018, this Spend Matters PRO research brief introduces the initial release of Procurement Desk, explores some of SAP Ariba’s ambitions for future releases based on the product roadmap and offers our initial analysis of the new offering, along with recommendations for SAP Ariba customers. A subsequent PRO research brief will provide a generalized CoE operating framework spanning all areas that procurement shared services groups can address with SAP Ariba’s current and planned capabilities for targeting this market.

Getting Real with Artificial Intelligence in Procurement

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the hottest technology topic right now, and it’s certainly going to be the most disruptive business trend going forward. To be sure, there are other technology topics that are also hot right now. Blockchain, for example, will certainly be disruptive, but no CPOs I know are clamoring for distributed ledgers as a must-have enabler to meet their goals. But as big as AI will eventually be, it’s still overhyped right now, even within “cognitive procurement.”

By Prioritizing Contract Management, Procurement Can Drive True Digital Transformation

When it comes to long-term business planning, no one wants to be the next Kodak. That’s why companies large and small have embraced digital transformation as the path forward, hoping to accelerate growth, tap new markets and defend against competitive disruption. To drive digital transformation throughout the enterprise, companies will need to change the foundation on which their business process are built. And there is nothing more foundational or business critical to a firm than the contract. Prioritizing a strategic, digital-first approach to contract management, then, is a perfect way to begin a digital transformation.  

4 Reasons Why Procurement Teams Are Choosing SaaS

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Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Eric Christopher, CEO of Zylo.

The role of procurement has changed drastically in the last decade, mostly due to the introduction of SaaS and other cloud-based delivery models that have completely changed the way organizations select and deploy technology. In the past, procurement teams sent out lengthy RFPs and reviewed all of the responses, often requiring weeks or months of evaluation before they presented their findings and recommendations to the executive team or other internal stakeholders. As the SaaS delivery model for software was introduced almost two decades ago, the procurement team has shifted its focus and priorities. It’s had no choice but to adopt the SaaS way of doing things, which also means adopting a more expedient process for internal evaluation of new technologies.

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Purchase-to-Pay System Implementation: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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Rising costs and lack of control over purchasing activities are just two of the key reasons that drive many businesses to implement professional procurement for the first time. Of course, a purchase-to-pay (P2P) solution has clear benefits to any organization — we’re talking about controlled spending, reduced maverick spend and improved, automated processes. So, why not? Yet we often only see the benefits and forget to evaluate the impact. So, before you start jumping right onto the P2P bandwagon, have a look at this quick guide, which takes you through the good, the bad and the ugly of implementing a P2P system so you can understand what steps you need to put in place before and during the project to ensure success.   

New Report Warns that More Affordable Artificial Intelligence May Be a Blow to Cybersecurity

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Artificial intelligence is becoming more affordable and available to different companies and industries. However, this also means more risks in the realms of digital, physical and political security, warns a new report co-written by a team of 26 AI researchers from prominent American and British universities and think tanks. There are a number of reasons AI can bring about a new level of risk. Most AI researchers believe that AI will exceed human performance in a wide range of tasks within the next 50 years — and if an AI system can lead to better farming practices, it can certainly also conduct more devastating cyberattacks. AI can allow for a greater degree of anonymity and distance for the human actor. And AI systems tend to be efficient and scalable.