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New Year Insights for the procurement solutions and services marketplace 2024: The Smart Cube

12/14/2023 By

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For several years now, Spend Matters has been collecting and publishing a series of articles about procurement, supply and services trends for the year ahead from expert tech and service providers in the market.

This year we’re highlighting the customer demands, market movements and advances in procurement tech that are exciting the world of solution providers, how they expect them to shape the S2P landscape next year and how they plan to respond to them.

Our series runs from mid-December to mid-January, then our senior analysts will wrap up with their own take on the key themes that emerge.

In no order of preference, other than by the date they arrived in our inbox, today let’s hear from:

Omer Abdullah, co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer at analytics and market intelligence services provider The Smart Cube, and one of Spend Matters 50 Procurement Providers to Know.

Digital transformation will pick up pace with GenAI and machine learning center stage

The past years in procurement have been characterized by continuous digital evolution. In 2024 we expect the pace and scope of digital transformation to be greater than ever before, presenting exciting opportunities — as well as challenges — to procurement leaders.

By understanding and applying emerging technologies with a holistic mindset, procurement teams have a unique opportunity to completely reshape how they work and create value. In my view, one of the most significant digital opportunities includes harnessing generative AI and machine learning.

By far the most ‘hot topic’ item is generative AI and machine learning, whose capabilities can detect patterns in vast amounts of data and translate them into more digestible insights — which makes them ideal for supporting a huge range of procurement tasks. Historically, the challenge has always been how to convert the right data into actionable insights at the point of use. AI is filling that gap and empowering procurement experts to focus on contextualizing these insights to make informed decisions — an activity which cannot be automated.

Digital alone isn’t enough

To ensure AI and other new digital technologies really fulfill their potential, organizations must introduce and use solutions in a way that enables and empowers their employees. This includes investing in the upskilling of teams, not only from a technical skills, but more importantly a soft skills perspective, as well as encouraging a shift in mindset towards accepting data and intelligence as the foundation for decision making, otherwise we risk leaving people behind. Human intelligence (HI) and contextual awareness still play a pivotal role in the procurement process, and it is important to deploy AI in ways that fit into this reality.

To unlock procurement’s full digital potential, leaders must look beyond the hype and strategically align their digital capabilities with the needs of the business, emphasizing the ability to get to the best outcomes. They must, in parallel, be willing to challenge the status quo and discover how new technologies can help reimagine the way the procurement function works. Finally, they should ensure that new digitally enabled workflows are supported by a solid change management plan to facilitate adoption.

This way, procurement can become a leading creator of value in 2024.

Many thanks to The Smart Cube for being a part of the series. You can read our senior analyst’s take on the key themes from the series here.

If you need to find the right procurement technology provider or service for your business needs next year, try Spend Matters TechMatch for a free rapid shortlist.

For granular analysis and comparisons of procurement technology solutions, subscribe to Spend Matters Insider.

As always, reach out to discover how Spend Matters can help with your new year commitments and wishes.

Insights 2024