Five essential tech tools for procurement professionals

When it comes to digital transformation and technology innovation, the procurement industry has plenty of choice The reality of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is that every industry and...

When it comes to digital transformation and technology innovation, the procurement industry has plenty of choice

The reality of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is that every industry and profession is being fundamentally disrupted by technology innovation. In the procurement industry, technology is bringing fresh winds of change, allowing for professionals to streamline processes and enhance their roles. According to Gartner’s procurement technology predictions for the future, professionals are looking for solutions that ‘generate revenue, drive innovation and retain customers’.

For those looking to invest in technology that will tick these three boxes, here are five of the best…

01: Procurement Software and eSourcing Software

Best-of-breed procurement software has become a critical tool for long-term strategic success. The right software allows for improved collaboration and insights and provides the professional with comprehensive control over the procurement ecosystem. With accurate tracking, control over purchasing activities, granular insight into spend and supplier performance, and customisable metrics, it’s the all-purpose multi-tool that forms the foundation of a successful business. Procurement software can be further boosted by investing into eSourcing software that adds another layer of control across spend analysis, finding suppliers, managing contracts, and managing relationships.

02. Advanced analytics and Data Science tools

To manage real-time pricing guidance, execute predictive models, gather predictive pricing insights and use monitor user feedback and fine-tune model outcomes, it’s time to invest into AI, machine learning and advanced business intelligence tools. These systems can be designed to streamline everything from costings to systems to process and provide fast and accurate information that can redefine spend and investment,

03: Chatbots and virtual assistants

It is the time of the automated assistant and chatbot. AI and machine learning and investment have seen costs come down while effectiveness and efficiency increase. Chatbots and virtual assistants are highly specialised and capable, offering an automated solution to common requests and managing basic tasks in the background. Over the next year, chatbots and virtual assistants will become voice activated, making them even more powerful tools in supporting the procurement industry in streamlining operations.

04: Online marketplaces

This particular trend has been seeing steady growth over the past few years and has emerged as a reliable platform for managing tail spend and competitive pricing. Online business-to-business (B2B) marketplaces have changed the way tail spend purchases are handled, making them far easier to manage and increasing profitability. Not only have marketplaces such as Amazon Business become reliable resources for tail spend management but they are likely to become increasingly competitive over the next year as they grow in popularity.

05: Training and skills development

While not technically a technology, training and skills development has become crucial in ensuring that procurement professionals take full advantage of the technology on offer. For many, the increase in technology proficiency and capability has become a barrier to adoption. According to Gartner, procurement staff will need ‘business, digital and analytical skills to realize business innovation and growth’. More than half of the number of employees in procurement will struggle to realise the potential of technology without investment into their skills and training.

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