Spend Matters View: Realizing Accenture’s Future Supplier Network Vision (Part 1)


Building on my earlier post introducing supplier networks and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) – which was inspired by some of the thinking in Accenture’s paper, Procurement’s Next Frontier: The Future Will Give Rise to an Organization of One – when considering supplier networks of tomorrow, I can think of dozens of future network-based applications that will supplement, augment or replace existing procurement and supplier tech applications.

Here are a few ideas for what’s possible with future PaaS-driven network applications:

  • Predictive cash analytics, which enables true cash position forecasting based on access to all the feeds coming from real-time information contained within buyer and supplier systems, as well as banks
  • Big data analysis of P2P activities, based on the context of additional buyer/supplier data (e.g., inventory and VMI information) tied with transactional information
  • T&E plugins – providers that enable suppliers to get in front of customers with additional touch-points. Just as one can book an Uber via the United travel application today on the iPhone, think about the ability to take advantage of immediate offers, such as discounts on air, hotel or car upgrades through network-based data and profiles, when employees manage their own spend.
  • Digital signatures and signing at all levels – not just physical manifestations of legally binding signatures – think Docusign, for example – but also true “digital” certifications, stamps and signing that take place seamlessly in the background for authentication and verification
  • Third-party content that can “plug and play” into all the types of procurement and network-based applications we’ve discussed. This could include corporate social responsibility (CSR) data, detailed supplier capability profiles even down to the machine or capacity level in manufacturing and, of course, risk-related content of all sorts. This content will help suppliers to get independent validation of peer/competitive capability and, for buyers, will be a tool to drive increased compliance and risk reduction – as well as to form the basis of active, real-time predictive modeling that will drive network-based recommendations.
  • Extended visibility into related non-procurement systems. This could include buyer and supplier-based inventory management, QA, production/planning and scheduling, employee/workforce scheduling, human capital management, customer relationshipo management (CRM), marketing automation and related systems

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