The SAP Ariba Procurement Powered Performance report, in collaboration with Oxford Economics, focuses on why digital transformation is an integral part of businesses elevating their Procurement function.
It’s no secret that digital is becoming a more relevant term for businesses thanks to globalisation, pandemics, technology shifts, social media and the need to fulfil company information gaps.
This doesn’t mean problems are instantly solved – if anything, the need for more digital elements creates more issues and difficulties such as a lack of collaboration with suppliers, supplier performance issues and poor visibility. These gaps show there is more room to improve.
The report is based on a survey of 1000 procurement and supply chain executives across 14 industries and 23 countries, full of interesting facts and figures.
Fortunately, leaders within the study revealed they were more advanced in their digital transformations by investing in appropriate technologies. This has led to leader success as a result of implementing digital transformations by:
- Embracing data and analytics
- Unlocking the power of AI
- Driving adoption
Change is constant in dynamic business environments – but are businesses prepared?
Shockingly, 37% of executives in the survey admitted most or all of their procurement processes are manual.
The COVID-19 has revealed everyone, especially organizations and their leaders must be agile and expect the unexpected.
Challenges in procurement digital transformation
It is inevitable for any organization to remain sceptical about digital transformation, as they can be affected in different ways.
- Organizations have mixed success in process automation
- Investing in automation and digital infrastructure can reduce efficiency and business resiliency
- Organizations are not making enough use of data and analytics
- Only 54% of executives say their procurement technologies enable them to make data-driven decisions and spend across the organization
- Many companies have been slow to adopt AI
- Only 51% of executives use ML/AI-based analytics technologies to analyse data for decision-making
Nearly 99% of leaders versus others in the survey use Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence based analytics technologies to analyse data for decision-making – they are the ones seeing the most benefits within the organizations!
Some respondents still cannot implement new technology, with 38% of respondents admitting a lack of funding for new technologies is a barrier to digital transformation of their procurement function, whilst others have experienced mixed success when using process automation, making others non-adoptees apprehensive.
Despite mixed experiences, automating certain processes can free up time for employees to focus on more strategic initiatives, whilst the technology focuses on doing the labour-intensive tasks quickly and correctly, which humans can often get wrong. The only way to increase confidence in the technology is to adopt it, which may ultimately prove to be better for an organization in the long run.
How can digital transformations benefit an organization?
- Free up more time
- Gain more control of contingent labour and services spend – this can reduce risk and improve ROI by gaining visibility and managing it effectively
- Lack of specialised skills and talent hold procurement organizations back – implementing a digital transformation could alleviate some of the stress
Steps to successful procurement digital transformation
- Assess the digital maturity of your procurement function – Consider if some processes can be automated
- Build a business case for change and engage senior leadership
- Identify obstacles to change
- Work out which skills you will need
- Focus on change management and adoption
- Celebrate the wins – big and small