For the past 20 years, procurement has slowly evolved from a tactical, manual process to a strategic, digital function. But things are about to pick up speed. According to the results of a new global survey conducted by the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt with support from SAP Ariba, leading procurement organisations see digitization as the future. And they are investing heavily in technologies that go beyond automating things and saving money to helping them drive business innovation and make a difference in the world.
“The message is loud and clear,” notes Dr. Karsten Machholz, professor of strategic procurement and supply chain management at the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt and co-author of What’s the Next Big Thing in Procurement. “Procurement executives around the world believe digitisation is more critical than ever. And they are taking steps to accelerate it within their organisations and increase the value they deliver.”
To understand their goals, Machholz joined forces with SAP Ariba to survey more than 450 procurement and supply chain executives across EMEA, North and South America and Asia Pacific. The study, which covered all major industries and included blue chip enterprises and mid-market companies alike, uncovered several striking findings:
Despite all its promise, though, digital transformation isn’t without its challenges. Within many organisations, insufficient analytics, poor data quality, budget restrictions and lack of talent are putting up roadblocks. Fortunately, the study points to several strategies for removing them:
Over the next decade, companies will see more opportunity than they have in the past two combined. In embracing digital technologies and strategies, procurement can take the lead in maximising these opportunities and go beyond delivering cost savings and process efficiencies to fueling collaboration, innovation and competitive advantage.
The author, who co-authored the study with Professor Karsten Machholz of the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt, is chief digital officer of SAP Ariba, the world’s largest business network, linking together buyers and suppliers from more than 3 million companies in 190 countries.