September 15, 2023 | Procurement Software
There is no ignoring the big wave of change that artificial intelligence (AI) is bringing into procurement. The conversation has shifted from a gentle whisper to a strong dialogue, with leaders emphasizing the urgency of adopting an AI-first strategy in procurement.
In envisioning a future where procurement operates with precision and efficiency, it's clear that AI stands as a pillar holding this vision upright. With the promise of revolutionizing various aspects like data-driven decision-making to strategic sourcing, AI isn't merely a new trend in the procurement industry; it's already reshaping the core processes.
"The first question is, why is AI important? What might it allow me to do that I presently can't, and what will I be able to stop doing that I would be happy to give up?" says Paul Blake, senior director at GEP in the webinar - Procurement Leaders: Adopting an AI-First Approach in Procurement: What, Why and How. "The irony is that in a world of generative AI, we can get credible answers to these questions simply by asking the AI,” he adds.
The webinar, which also included Rakhi Mullick, vice president of digital transformation at GEP, and Ian Lawless, head of content partnerships & event director at Procurement Leaders, sheds light on the significance and the prospective reach of AI in the business landscape.
Embracing AI means welcoming a trove of benefits labeled as the Five A’s of AI –adroitness, agility, attention, augmentation and accuracy. These elements are not just features but tools that can carve a new pathway of innovation and efficiency in procurement processes.
Addressing the complex concerns about job displacement, Blake offers insightful advice, encouraging a balanced view towards the emergence of AI. "It is crucial to realize that AI will not replace jobs imminently, but the use of AI tools can potentially enhance job performance and productivity. Thus, understanding and harnessing AI's capabilities should be a priority to remain competitive in the industry. The likely scenario points towards augmentation, where an individual using AI wisely could achieve more, driving human advancement forward."
A future where AI serves as an ally, enhancing human capabilities rather than usurping roles, seems not promising and essential in fostering innovation and ensuring sustained growth. For instance, decisions supported by concrete data are highly effective. AI offers the ability to sift through vast amounts of information and focus on the data that can guide decisions towards profitability and innovation.
Consider a scenario where routine tasks like data analysis, predicting supply chain disruptions based on trends, vendor and contract management, and customer service are managed efficiently by AI, enabling the workforce to concentrate on broader strategic objectives. This is not mere speculation but a feasible future where AI significantly contributes to reducing costs through automation, streamlining operations to be more efficient and effective.
As we stand on the cusp of a transformative era, it is evident that integrating AI into procurement strategies is a well-founded and substantial step forward.
According to Blake, "The next generation of digital transformation will likely result from a combination of built-in AI features and extendable, AI-powered low-code means."
This illustrates a future where agility pairs with innovation, encouraging a space ripe for advancements that could significantly alter the procurement industry's fundamental dynamics.
Learn more about GEP’s AI-first approach to procurement transformation.