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Predictions for 2018: The year of AI

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Alex Saric, chief marketing officer at Ivalua, says that 2018 will see artificial intelligence ’consumerise’ procurement

 

This article originally appeared in the 2018 Trends Report.

 

These days it seems you can’t open a magazine or visit a news site without reading about another emerging technology that will transform our lives. Some, such as driverless cars, seem destined to have a major impact – but not yet. Others, including smart homes and virtual reality, have been touted for years yet seem to be more hype than meaningful change. Other innovations, such as smartphones, have already changed our lives immeasurably.

 

The same can be seen in the world of procurement. The list of ‘transformational’ technologies seems to grow by the day. But which, if any, will have an impact in 2018?

 

Blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, has great potential to enable accurate auditing of source of supply – an increasingly important area.

 

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is another to watch. The technology involves a computerised tool, which works through a user interface level of applications to automate tasks. It offers tremendous potential to free more of procurement’s capacity to focus on strategic activities.

 

Yet, I don’t see any of these technologies having a significant impact on the function in 2018.

 

Leaders eager to leverage new technology should look to artificial intelligence (AI). The technology is already present in many spend management solutions but the scope of applications continues to grow and the technology is becoming ever-more innovative.

 

AI will help ‘consumerise’ procurement, enabling greater self-service capabilities. This will be seen in areas such as guided buying and chatbot support. There is little the function needs to do to benefit from these innovations, besides implementing a solution.

 

The year ahead will also see AI increasingly applied to the data flowing through source-to-pay platforms and their wider ecosystems to identify opportunities. This information can be used to detect fraud and improve the user experience.

 

Adopting the right mindset is the key. Be open to new approaches. Technology is a critical enabler. AI depends on clever algorithms and access to data. Broad ecosystems and integrated platforms expand the universe of opportunities and make it easier to present actionable insights at the right moment.

 

This contributed article has been written by a guest writer at the invitation of Procurement Leaders. Procurement Leaders received no payment directly connected with the publishing of this content.

Alex Saric
Posted by Alex Saric

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