Procurement Performance – Why the Time Is Right for Community Intelligence

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We have several briefing papers still available to download - one of which is Community Intelligence – A Procurement Revolution, sponsored by leading spend management software firm, Coupa and written in conjunction with Peter Smith. You may remember, we participated in a webinar on the same topic at the end of last year.

If you missed that, you can still listen to it at your leisure – just register here for the link.  In the session, John Callan from Coupa and Peter Smith talked about the underlying concept of “Community Intelligence” – that is, using the data, knowledge and information from across a community of buyers and buying organisations for mutual benefit. We call it “revolutionary” even though it is not a new concept, because developments, mainly technology-related, both speed (power) capability and data volumes, mean that it is possible to achieve far more, far more easily from this community intelligence.

To accompany the webinar, we produced this paper, and here is an extract to give you an idea of why it's worth downloading ...

Why Is the Time Right for Community Intelligence?

Community intelligence in our context means organisations, procurement functions and people in particular, forming communities – which may be loose or tight, or anywhere in between – and using their combined knowledge, data, and power to mutual benefit in terms of procurement performance. That might mean cost reduction, improved internal processes (such as supplier acquisition and onboarding), better risk management, or other supply-related value opportunities.

But why now? Much of the opportunity, as with so many other innovations, is driven by the sheer increase in computing power in recent years and the resultant improvement in terms of what can be done through collecting and analysing data.  More organisations have better data, which is increasingly available in real time, and systems can pick that up and make use of it. So, for instance, we don’t have to wait weeks or months to collect and compare price benchmarking data.

New tools are also emerging, and in most of these developments, artificial intelligence and machine learning will play a vital role. For example, AI is undoubtedly going to play a role to address points mentioned earlier, such as seeking true commonality with other organisations or looking for patterns that might identify opportunities amongst a mass of benchmark data.

It is also clear that the “Millennial executive”, ascending the corporate ladder as we speak, is going to be more comfortable with some of these ideas than previous generations. Having been brought up in a connected, social-media-savvy world, with different concepts of collaboration compared with their parents’ generation, it is likely they will be very open to the benefits of community and sharing. Indeed, whether millennials or baby-boomers, community intelligence supports many of us in our personal lives; for example, we share location data with Google or Waze and receive community-informed real-time traffic information in return.

In business, collaboration is growing in many industries…. The need for speed and flexibility in a connected, global, digital environment applies to virtually all industries, and means no-one can do everything themselves. The ability to collaborate successfully, to look for those 2+2=5 opportunities, is increasingly a critical success factor.

So, if we are going to see growth in terms of this community intelligence concept, what might it actually look like? What are the practical options that stand a high chance of being in regular use in a few years’ time?   (Download the paper to find out)!

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