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E-Procurement 2018 Trends for Practitioners and Providers: An Overview

02/23/2018 By

For a consumer of information, there’s something magical in coming across “predictions,” whether they’re about the weather, which team is going to win Super Bowl or something even more exciting (to us) — trends in the e-procurement market.

But that’s the thing about magic: it often has no substance. That’s why the Spend Matters analyst team focuses less on predicting the future and more on sharing analysis gained from research and engagement with practitioners and providers.

We recently published a series called “E-Procurement 2018 Trends and Forecast” on Spend Matters PRO, covering customer adoption and priorities, provider analysis, and market sizing.

Here are some specific things throughout the series that nabbed our attention — and are too good not to share with those who need to be in the know about the e-procurement market this year.

Rise of the Nimble Persona

Spend Matters launched SolutionMap in 2017, which is a comparative vendor analysis framework based on matching practitioner organizations with buying personas. One persona we’ve seen steadily rising is the Nimble persona, one led by business users rather than the IT/technology department.

Some hallmarks of what Nimble-persona users seek: quick implementations, faster time-to-value, affordable pricing, ease of use and sufficient functional capability.

In Part 1 of the PRO series, authors Jason Busch, Pierre Mitchell and Xavier Olivera outline eight distinct reasons that 2018 is set to be the Year of the Nimble Persona when it comes to e-procurement specifically, including:

  • Ease of use and “no touch” training becoming the expectation
  • Procurement increasingly owning discretionary budget for funding procurement technology
  • To use transportation metaphors, procurement placing increasing value on transportation versus the car itself. Why buy the feature-laden Cadillac, let alone a Honda, when you have an Uber app at your disposal?

However, even though users are making more selection decisions based on Nimble-persona criteria, their selection practices should not quite yet be described as nimble, the authors note.

Read E-Procurement 2018 Trends and Forecast (Part 1: Customers Adoption and Priorities) in full here.

Technology Solution Provider Consolidation and M&A

We recently did a 2017 (and early 2018) M&A roundup on Spend Matters, providing a high-level overview of the big deals that impact the procurement and supply chain technology sector.

The authors dissected specific provider trends in Part 2 of the PRO series, and e-procurement tech-provider sector consolidation and M&A won out as No. 1. A host of deals took place in 2016 and 2017, with the buyers’ rationale for most of these link-ups falling into specific buckets, from buying specialized technology to buying geographic or industry expansion.

Industry consolidation and M&A activity has especially important implications for customers’ negotiation strategies. The authors expect consolidation to continue in 2018.

For more considerations when it comes to negotiating e-procurement technology contracts, as well as the key intersections of P2P and B2B, read E-Procurement 2018 Trends and Forecast (Part 2: Provider Analysis) in full here.

Artificial Intelligence Starts to Look Real for E-Procurement

In the third and final part of the PRO series, the authors examined a few additional provider trends, including the resurgent role of B2B e-marketplaces such as Amazon Business and new and varying approaches to chasing tail spend.

The final trend, however, piqued our interest: the early rise of embedded artificial intelligence (AI) in an e-procurement context.

We’ve run a significant amount of digital newsprint on the implications of AI, machine learning and other advanced technological capabilities for the procurement function the past year or so. Many leading practitioners and others have gone on record stating the importance of automating procurement processes for procurement pros, and the Spend Matters analysts do not disagree.

Save yourself time by gaining a fuller understanding of the e-procurement sector and check out the rest of E-Procurement 2018 Trends and Forecast (Part 3: Provider Analysis and Market Sizing), including the complete 2018 forecast and market sizing details, here.