Peering Into the Spend Management Crystal Ball

As someone who got their start in the business world by doing scenario planning work, I've always had a soft spot for those futurists who care to cast their vote on what reality might look like down the road. For that reason, I enjoyed a recent Supply Management article that interviewed a number of industry observers about how the future of procurement will look 75 years from now in the year 2082. Ian Pearson a futurist with BT, notes that in that time frame "almost all procurement ... will be done by machines, from machines, and mostly for machines. Even when people are still involved in procurement, the other side of the interaction will only occasionally be human."

A more grounded perspective on the future of procurement comes from Lynette Ryals, a professor, who notes that "the procurement manager will increasingly be seen as a strategic function, managing relationships with suppliers and protecting the organisation's scarce resources. The role will dovetail into supply chain management, and organisations will combine the two functions."

But personally, I like the prognostications of Professor Richard Lamming the most. He notes that traditional procurement practitioners will be "replaced by improved technology and a new breed of 'deal shapers' -- young, independent agents who control access to market and supplier information. The deal shapers will make decisions based on economic and market data, as well as price."

Fascinating stuff, I say. After all, I've always contended that Spend Management it as much about information management as anything else. And even today, information that resides outside a company is as important as what's inside. My hope, of course, is that these deal shapers are using a Spend Matters -- rather than a Bloomberg -- content platform to do their job. Stay tuned to see what I mean by this ...

Jason Busch

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