Examining the Future of Procurement Technology: Accenture’s Take on 5 Key Solution Areas


Earlier this summer, Accenture published one of the most inventive and daring pieces of research on the future of procurement to date: Procurement’s Next Frontier – The Future Will Give Rise to an Organization of One. Based extensively on interviews with procurement organizations as well as some of the best minds within the firm, it’s anything but the conservative white papers that often come out of consultancies. In fact, I would go so far as to say it’s daring – and very daring for Accenture!

Authored by Kai Nowosel, Kris Timmermans and Abigail Terrill, the paper argues that procurement will fundamentally change in structure, integration and digital enablement. Central to the argument of how the new procurement organization will operate is an evolution of technology.

Specifically, 5 separate applications will represent, in Accenture’s words, the “main bundles” of solutions that “will be required for procurement to be successful in the future.” These solutions will unite: “cross-functional teams, internal stakeholders, business users, other buying companies, logistics providers, unchartered suppliers, transactional suppliers, strategic suppliers and innovators."

The 5 technologies that will support these groups are:

  1. Virtual category room
  2. Virtual supplier room
  3. Supplier network
  4. Virtual company mall
  5. Supply analytics

While these all require deeper explanation, at least 1 of the tech areas will take on a new and expanded definition from what it is today. The new area I speak of is Accenture’s view of what supplier networks need to become – which is actually in complete alignment with our own analysis and predictions going back a number of years.

In a series of posts covering Accenture’s explanation on each of these 5 areas and our own analysis and ideas – including the future supplier network – I hope to get to the bottom of not only where procurement technology is going but also how the journey will need to take us off course from where many of us are headed today.

Stay tuned!

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