“The pace of change and acceleration in complexity is only going to accelerate,” said Wharton.
Customers are increasingly expecting more and businesses must react to this, he added. They now expect the companies they use to be accessible 24 hours a day. Social media allows businesses to connect with customers in real time. In the banking sector, in the past customers would visit branches. Now customers expect 24/7 access via their smartphones and smartwatches, and businesses must respond to this. Procurement needs to act in real time and respond to these needs.
“Procurement leaders need to help their teams to adapt to new ways of working and become more agile, in order to embrace and leverage new technologies,” said Wharton.
“Based on the technologies currently available in the market, 50% of activities could be automated,” he explained. Technologies such as blockchain and automation may be expensive at present, but it will become cheaper and easier to adopt in the coming years.