2021 Procurement and Supply Chain Predictions from the market — SAP (part 2)

SAP Pixabay

2021 Procurement and Supply Chain Predictions from the market — SAP (part 2)

Continuing our market predictions for 2021, let's look at what enterprise technology and intelligence firm SAP foresees:

Suppliers will be the driving force for innovation

The evolution of procurement over the next five to 10 years will be driven by macroeconomic factors: the exponential growth of the digital economy, declining productivity and the stagnation of globalization. Living with the coronavirus pandemic, and planning for a future with increasing uncertainty, many organizations are watching global supply chains and taking stock of their own risks in the market. Supply chains need to be structured differently moving forward to remain resilient and adaptable, and spend management organizations are going to play a pivotal and central role in leading that change. We can expect to see suppliers as the driving force for innovation in most organizations, helping realize the promise of artificial intelligence and begin to reverse the productivity slump. As such, companies will need to take a very different lens regarding management of their supplier base from in the past. I anticipate the rise of spend management professionals as trusted advisors, providing solutions and preparing for unforeseen events; delivering greater value by moving the conversation from cost-saving to strategy.

Baber Farooq, Head of Product Strategy, SAP Procurement Solutions

Human/Machine intelligence will play a bigger role in decision making

Humans are innately resilient. As companies — large and small — strive to survive the pandemic period and its devastating economic effects, we see human and machine intelligence coming together to play a significant role in decision making. Not only is this helping companies survive and fuel recovery efforts, but it is also inspiring new business models and transformation initiatives that are setting the course for long-term growth. Companies are banding together as they look to share resources, responsibly dispose of inventory and spares, shift culturally to be more inclusive in work-from-home policies and naturally place greater emphasis on employee health and safety. Businesses will continue to incorporate more network-driven and digital strategies to engage with existing trading partners and find new ones. Meanwhile, procurement operations are front and center leading efforts to accelerate digital transformation and drive greater supply chain resilience. To operate in today’s business environment, companies must focus on digitalization to increase productivity, leverage data and intelligence to drive visibility in supply chains, shift sourcing strategies and create responsible trading partnerships for long-term sustained business resilience and growth.

Padmini Ranganathan, Global Vice President, Procurement Product Strategy, Future of Procurement, SAP

Contingent workers and services providers will play a leading role in recovery

In the new year, I expect contingent workers and services providers to continue to play a leading role in helping organizations rebound from disruption, regain their competitive edge and respond to the shifting needs of customers. The creativity and flexibility for which external labor is renowned may not be new. But, for some organizations, gaining visibility into this often unseen segment of the workforce may be. In 2021, I believe the transparency and insights made possible by cloud-based external workforce management solutions will help to determine which organizations return from the pandemic stronger than before — and more responsive and resilient to unforeseen change.

Arun Srinivasan, General Manager, SAP Fieldglass Solutions

If 2020 was a year of disruption — and was it ever! — then let 2021 be a year of rebuilding. In the year ahead, I foresee cloud-based solutions, particularly with regard to external workforce management, playing a vital role in lending businesses the flexibility they need to take steps toward recovery. Just as they always have, contingent labor and services providers deliver the depth of skills and expertise necessary to propel businesses forward. With the right sets of digital tools, organizations can achieve maximum visibility and value from these essential workers, ramping up and down efficiently as the new year unfolds.

Vish Baliga, Chief Technology Officer, SAP Fieldglass Solutions 

Thanks to all the executives at SAP. Look out for an overall take on the series from our analysts in the next few days. See all of the 2021 vendor predictions here.

*Please note that the order of vendor predictions in this series is based entirely on the order in which they dropped onto our digital doorstep, nothing more. 

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