2017 Procure-to-Pay (P2P) Preview: 3 Key Tech Trends and Disruptors

We here at Spend Matters have not been able to resist one of the most popular buzzwords in years: disruption — and especially the digital kind.

Whether you’re looking at the services procurement and contingent workforce space, supply chain risks or the procure-to-pay landscape, it’s hard to throw a rock — or a snippet of code — and not hit some hand-wringing over digital disruption. (We’ve even ranted about it.)

Procure-to-pay, also known as P2P or the procurement/purchasing process cycle, is now front and center. Turns out 2017 may just be the most disruptive year yet for P2P technologies and processes.


The Spend Matters analyst team has been exploring and analyzing this question over the past several months, and they’ve come up with a comprehensive case. (If you’re interested in hearing Jason Busch and Xavier Olivera present it, they will do so live on a free webinar.)

Here is a sneak peek at three very important tech trends and disruptors for the P2P sphere in the coming year:

Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

  • What it is: A robot is a machine (especially one programmable by a computer) capable of carrying out a complex series of actions and automatically learning from it (AI).
  • Why it matters for P2P: Companies will increasingly adopt AI and ML technologies to gain productivity and to enable complex P2P scenarios, eliminating the need for human resources (to make decisions) and to allow for continuous system customizations. (Here’s more on AI and how it pertains to contract lifecycle management.)
  • When it happens: Between 2017 and 2020, third-party apps could accelerate the adoption of AI and machine learning in P2P — look for general native P2P suite capability towards the end of this timeframe.

Big Data

  • What it is: Simply put it is the management of increasingly large data sets (that introduce unique challenges). The term addresses analysis, capture, data curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualization, querying, updating and information privacy.
  • Why it matters for P2P: Companies will increasingly require the ability to handle and analyze structured and unstructured P2P data to make better-informed decisions and improve buying, spending, and payment outcomes.
  • When it happens: Between 2017 and 2019. The faster, the better.


  • What it is: A blockchain is a shared digital ledger which includes a continually updated list of all transactions associated with a given “object” or grouping of objects (e.g. BOM). This decentralized ledger keeps a record of each transaction that occurs across a fully distributed network and replaces/complements systems of record with systems of agreement.
  • Why it matters for P2P: The ability to program activities when matches occur; supply chain traceability; and simply being a new network architecture and design. (Here’s more on the intersection of blockchain and P2P networks.)
  • When it happens: Not until 2020 to 2022 will blockchain scale in P2P — it’s still in its infancy today, but apps are already being developed.

To get the whole picture, and how your business can make better decisions involving P2P technologies, be sure to register for the webinar.

And if you’re a glutton for punishment and just want to read more about the ins and outs of P2P, there you go!

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