Science Warehouse Procurement Trends Report – Spend Analysis Still Has Some Way To Go

We wrote here about the Science Warehouse customer event in Leeds recently, which also acted as the launch event for results from the firm’s Procurement Trends 2017 Survey, their sixth such report.

So what does it tell us this year?  It highlights four key themes; data, technology, strategic procurement and “the future” which includes Brexit and other interesting unknowns! There is quite a range of interesting findings; this is just a sample here to whet your appetite really.

Starting with data, which includes procurement solutions generally, there is no surprise that “ease of use” is the most important factor in choosing procurement solutions. That suggest procurement functions have realised – quite rightly -  that stakeholder expectations are high as B2C technology has become so simple and ubiquitous.

Perhaps more surprisingly, only “10% of organisations have been able to achieve best-in-class” spend analysis. In other words, they have automated reporting from a unified data set classified to line level.” Most organisations are stills struggling here – despite it being many years since spend analysis first became a core capability. Private sector organisations seem to be even worse at this than public, another shock.

Only 17% of respondents have adopted a full “Source to Settle” suite so far. But 41% plan to invest in some technology, which is around the historical average. Frankly we’re surprised it is not higher – it probably should be if procurement is to progress as it should. 20% say they are planning to increase procurement headcount, down from the average of 26% in recent years. But that still exceeds the 12% who are planning to reduce headcount.

So the robots aren’t taking over just yet! But maybe they will – last year, just 6% of respondents thought artificial intelligence would be relevant in the next 5 years, this time it was 21%. ) Oddly, there was a decline in people saying cloud-based solutions were the most relevant technology for procurement. But we suspect that is simply we now take it for granted that most tech will be cloud-based; it is a bit like asking whether electricity will be the most relevant factor! Supplier networks was the other area that saw a big jump in expected importance.

The section on measures used for procurement threw up some interesting findings. The size of savings targets seem to have declined in general – perhaps more realism is the cause (speaking as a cynic about how savings are measured in most organisations anyway)! Spend under management remains important, but there is little sign of a general increase in this across the sample, although the percentage of organisations that have a very low figure for that metric seems to be declining, which is good news.

Anyway, we could go on, but instead, do download the report and take a look yourself – it is available here, free on registration.

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