Innovations in technology have been redefining the way procurement organizations function – from stand-alone tools and applications to the unified software platforms of today, things have indeed come a long way. But that’s only the beginning – procurement technology is rapidly evolving into a strategic business lever that is being used to not only automate and streamline spend management but also to drive innovation and value across the enterprise.
Below are three key emerging trends in procurement technology that you should watch out for in the next few years.
Next-Gen Analytics and Artificial Intelligence
Real-time, accurate information and insights enable enterprises to rapidly adapt to shifts in the business landscape. As procurement professionals focus on playing a more strategic role in the enterprise, they need the right information and insights to make effective decisions.
Today, artificial-intelligence-based procurement technology is helping procurement professionals strategize by providing insights, suggestions and recommendations based on the study of market trends and automated forecasts.
Consumer App-like Features
One of the biggest challenges with procurement technology systems in the past was that they were complex to use and required a lot of training, which limited their adoption and utility. Traditional procurement tools and applications lack the intuitive interfaces and enhanced user experience available on today’s mobile consumer apps. Today, users expect the same experience and intuitive interfaces from their procurement technology system. Next-generation procurement apps enable functionalities like supplier catalogs, category rooms and supplier networks that allow an intuitive shopping-style experience and provide procurement professionals with real-time supply/demand visibility and supplier performance ratings to better inform the buyer.
A decade ago, when procurement technology was in a fairly early stage, many enterprises had separate software or tools for the function’s activities. Then came “procurement technology suites” that just slapped all these different tools together. Many enterprises today prefer having a comprehensive spend management tool to automate and optimize all their source-to-pay activities.