AI in Supplier Discovery: Tomorrow [PRO]

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In Spend Matters’ last PRO article for the AI in Supplier Discovery series, we overviewed some situations where you can find it today, or at least functionality that looked like it was enabled by artificial intelligence (even if it was not), and set ourselves up for a discussion of true AI that is going to creep into supplier discovery platforms tomorrow.

However, when we say true AI, we mean the definition of AI as “assisted intelligence,” because there is no true artificial intelligence out there and probably won't be for a very long time (with some futurists conjecturing it will be 2060 before machines are as smart as the dumbest of us). Note that we don't even mean “augmented intelligence,” as even though the platforms will augment your knowledge, it will still be up to you to make the right, intelligent, decisions tomorrow. (And maybe the day after that, but that is a subject for our next article.)

In our last article, we reviewed the capabilities of the leading discovery platforms today, which mainly revolved around:

  • Smart search
  • Community intelligence
… and the intersection of both.

We discussed how the improvements in computing power and web-usability made it possible for platforms to implement better and more powerful search algorithms that actually made searches useful across wide supplier directories and networks; how community intelligence allowed an organization to quickly narrow potential supplier pools down to reasonable sizes; and how the intersection allowed for the definition of "like" searches that could not be done before now.

But as of today, those "like" searches are still pretty high level. And they are best at finding suppliers that provide finished products and services that can be well-defined and compared to other suppliers that provide similar finished products and services. In fact, most systems with "like" searches are for the identification of suppliers for indirect. Not direct. (And not services either.)

But that is going to change tomorrow. Tomorrow, supplier discovery systems are going to support:
  • deep capability match that uses bill of materials, production requirements and other deep factors to support supplier search for direct suppliers
  • resource capability match that can identify needed skill sets, knowledge and related attributes for services suppliers
And we'll finally have smart supplier search for all. But how will it happen? And what will it look like? Let's explore.

Getting Ready for Brexit

We are pleased to feature this timely article on Brexit preparedness from Ruud Van Hilten, Senior Vice President at Tungsten Network Listening to the news at the moment, you could be forgiven for slipping into a victim mentality. With so many variables and potential outcomes on the table regarding Brexit, particularly now that the process faces delay, it is easy to feel like there is nothing an individual business can do to prepare. While it is true on a macro scale that businesses may feel powerless, at a micro level, there are still urgent, concrete things that procurement teams should do over the next few weeks to help put you on the front foot. The number one priority In particular, maintaining, boosting and encouraging transparent supply chain relationships should be a top priority. No matter what happens between the UK and EU, prioritising supply chain management will result in business [...]