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Pete Hodgkinson

Sales Director UK, JAGGAER

A platform with embedded intelligence is the way ahead. Taking the first steps towards autonomous procurement is easier than it looks.

Artificial intelligence and further smart technologies are changing our lives and the way in which we do business, especially in relation to the way human beings and technology collaborate. But there are still companies that have yet to begin their digital transformation, especially when it comes to autonomous procurement. Failing to take action, however, could expose them to greater risk, losing their competitive edge and increases the costs of doing business.

While previously procurement’s mission was seen to be driving down costs, now it is seen as driving up value. It is estimated that by 2024, 69% of what a manager does will be automated. It is a platform with embedded intelligence.

How to get started

It is essential that procurement officers and directors learn how and when to get started; that it is easy to achieve particular milestones and that AI and robotic process automation are not just buzzwords, but essential tools for business today.

Increasingly complex supply networks mean that autonomous procurement helps minimise supply risk and ensure security of supply through enhanced collaboration between humans and technology.

It is no longer a case of whether you can afford to implement autonomous procurement – but whether you can afford not to.

To implement it, the company needs to ensure that data is accurate, clean and integrated and then to move forward incrementally by implementing pilot schemes. Do not try too much at once. Here are the four stages and building blocks to achieve autonomous procurement:

1. Automated procurement

2. Augmented procurement

3. Intelligent procurement

4. Autonomous procurement

Soon, procurement professionals will see that manual tasks fall by the wayside and everything is done by machine. In essence, this can be boiled down into four stages: building a strong digital base, establishing the basics, optimise by leveraging emerging technologies and working towards the day of digitalisation.

Efficient data monitoring

You should develop new cognitive analyses to enable efficient data monitoring. In turn, this will enable better management of suppliers and gain new and better insights by using smart technology, including machine learning and AI. The data will enrich your knowledge of suppliers. You should also begin to implement predictive analytics.

These new technologies are having a transformative effect on the way we live and work: they are here to stay. As the field develops, they will attract top minds into procurement. It is no longer a case of whether you can afford to implement autonomous procurement – but whether you can afford not to.

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