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In this, the first in a series of guest posts, Procurement Leaders invites technology companies in the procurement space to imagine, predict and speculate on the future of software in 2016. This contribution is from GEP’s Puneet Goel.
Procurement software is in the teeth of a massive transformation. Some changes are being driven by advances in technology, others are the result of experience —and frustration— with earlier generations of procurement software products. Bottom line is that procurement professionals have upped their expectations.
It’s not too much of an overstatement to say on-premise procurement is basically done. Yes, some companies will continue on-premise, but some companies are stilling running Cobol-based programs. The point is that in 2016 cloud-based procurement applications will continue to make double-digit gains in market share.
Implementations are quick, adoption cycles are reduced, and management time and expense far less burdensome. And cloud economics are just too compelling. We believe the movement to cloud is unstoppable. If you’re not seriously considering cloud, we believe you’re making a serious mistake.
Mobility will continue to gain a larger foothold in the both thinking and the requirements of procurement organizations. It’s increasingly clear to us that many procurement professionals have attained a certain comfort level with mobile computing and they are more confidently embracing its upside possibility.
Certainly, some tasks may still lend themselves better to the laptop or desktop. But notions about exactly what tasks are better on which device are not permanent. They are partially a function of culture and partially a function of technical capability. In 2016, these will both continue to evolve.
Big data is on everybody’s radar screen, although what is means in the short term tends to center on helping people them make better decisions. And that is certainly true to some degree. But we believe big data will have an equivalent if not larger impact on automating laborious tasks that used to be “manually” done by people. Some refer to this a robotic process automation. This is already happening today with processes such as categorization of spend. We expect many process in the procure-to-pay chain to be streamlined and compressed in much the same way. 2016 will be a watershed for application of these ideas to a wide set of procurement processes.
Prior generations of procurement applications, like many other types of business apps, focused on features and functionality, and paid scant attention to user experience (UX). This ugly situation (pun emphatically intended) led to users to energetically avoid using tools intended to help be more productive. This often made compliance a nightmare. A new generation of procurement products are changing this in dramatic fashion. In 2016, expect design, aesthetics and human factors to larger a more determinant role in prouct design and product success.
Enterprise procurement are increasingly seeking a comprehensive sourcing and procurement platform from a single expert solutions provider. This is in contrast to common practice in years prior, where procurement departments and their IT teams would cobble together a series of product from specialty providers. This shift is being driven not by a desire consolidate spending for convenience or cost, but rather because there is a more clear and conscious understanding of sourcing and procurement as a series of intimately interconnected processes.
When work and business processes are designed as part of a natively integrated whole, the platform boost productively more effectively. And while not all customers will be in the market for all the functionality that S2P platform may deliver, we see a pronounced preference continue to manifest across use cases because the larger business case is so strong.
Simply put, smart software will get smarter. In some instances, procurement software will reduce or eliminate the need for human intervention in certain kinds of routine decision-making – for instance, certain kinds of approvals in certain kinds of conditions can be automated, requiring active human intervention only when anomalies occur.
In contrast, the same software can and will enable more informed human decision-making at higher, more strategic levels. In both cases, the software is enabling and extending human intelligence as a business tool. We see solutions providers like ourselves more actively competing on the intelligence designed natively into our source-to-pay platform.
Puneet Goel is VP, product management with GEP Worldwide.
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.