Technology is developing at an astonishing rate, David Rowan, editor of Wired magazine, told delegates on day two of the World Procurement Congress, and this is starting to disrupt the way businesses and their procurement teams operate.
There are, he said, opportunities here but also risks, which if not addressed will end up costing the business.
Rapid pace of development
Rowan started by asking the audience whether they thought they would be buying flying cars within the next ten years. While only a few hands went up he then showed a video of a flying car that exists today to a few shocked laughs from the audience.
He said that development of technology in the last century had been relatively slow and linear, but that this century it was developing quickly and constantly.
While this makes it hard for procurement to know what to focus on there are a few technologies that will be sure to shape the function. The Internet of Things, where everything is connected and feeding data back, will give the function another layer of information about its supply chain and the products it is producing. But it will also provide more information on how customers are using products.
Don’t fear this change, embrace it
He was quick to add that this change shouldn’t be feared, instead it should be embraced.
Companies that don’t embrace this will be left behind and won’t be able to reap the rewards that can be seized. Companies like General Electric are already embracing such efforts, giving its IP to a start-up and telling them to see what innovations they could come up with.
The business risk
Rowan’s biggest fear with all this new technology was the risk of cyber attacks. With everything connected, the risk factor is increased. But failure to invest in the technologies that will protect against such things will result in a damaged reputation and potentially costs through fines.
The smaller companies are those at most risk so it is essential to investigate your supply chain to ensure that there can be no piggy-back attacks through them to you.
Stay up to date on the live blog, or on Twitter, using #WPC.
This article is a piece of independent writing by a member of Procurement Leaders’ content team.