Jason Busch Procurement Scenarios – Technology Proves More Than Transformative

Before Xmas, we started featuring Jason Busch’s five scenarios for the next ten years, and what they might mean for procurement. Of the five, the third is the one that really, you have to read his full article (in two parts, here and here) to get the full benefit. But we'll try our best to summarise it!

It’s all around technology, and the impact that changes and developments will have on business generally and procurement more specifically over the next few years. Here is Jason.

Yet how this scenario plays out may in fact prove as disruptive and chaotic as any potential procurement path. During any period of punctuated equilibrium, there are those that can adapt and those that fall off the pace, dropping out of the pack entirely. Here at Spend Matters, we believe that current social and web-based world that is taking shape will look very different in only a few years. And without question, emerging enterprise applications, mobile computing, social "intelligence" and technology democratization will change the possibilities (and priorities) of procurement.

So, as he says, “the medium will be as important as the actual interface -- desktop, notebook, tablet, phone or reader/pad included”.

Voice and video will become as critical as text for communication, and mobile and location-based services will prove highly transformative, eventually making it hard to separate out application capability from content and intelligence. As an example, he suggests “location-based push discounts for certain vendors or merchants” – so a business traveller may be told on arrival at an airport on a great deal in a local restaurant or with a car hire firm for instance.

And in the manufacturing environment, it could lead to very different ways of working with suppliers and across collaborative ventures; so “when one of the supplier auditors from Achilles goes on-site to conduct an audit, the real-time inputs into an application by the auditor could spark immediate qualifying questions from the members of the buying community that are part of the group collectively auditing the supplier in question”.

In part 2 of his analysis, he gets into somewhat “techie” areas – as he says,

“When it comes to technology, it will be critical for procurement to better understand and embrace the building blocks of what is coming ...”

He talks about the consequences of cheaper memory and processing capacity, and the likely growth in the “platform" approach, and providers who will open up their ecosystem to third parties.

Two players to watch here, incidentally, are Rearden and TradeShift. Both have some truly game-changing, platform-driven capabilities in store and two distinct distribution approaches to go viral with the acceptance of their models. Other platform-like models to watch in this space include Intenda, FullStep, and those building off of the SalesForce.com platform, including Ariba and SupplierSoft.

He then goes on to talk about master data management and customer data integration, and how increasingly this will provide “access to complete, accurate, up-to-the moment snapshots of customer-facing, back office, and business intelligence systems that reside both within and outside of an organization”.

This will have major implications for supplier information management, giving us the ability to pick up supplier related historic and real-time information from numerous sources, inside and outside our organisations – “turning mass amounts of decentralized data into structured insights”.

Do take a look at these insightful articles – the successful procurement leader of the next decade won’t need to be an out and out techie, but (s)he will certianly need to understand what technology can contribute towards procurement and supply chain success. Here’s how Jason finishes his piece:

I'll make the call that technology will prove absolutely transformative for procurement. The question is whether or not the set of underlying capabilities I've described in this post truly go mainstream and viral in the next decade. I personally believe many of them will.

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