It’s Time For Corporate Spending To Manage Itself

Shivani Govil

The past few months have shown that natural disasters such as fires and hurricanes can wreak havoc on our lives, devastating regions and destroying homes. For our businesses, they can also disrupt supply chains and impact operations. But what if you could predict the occurrence of a disaster, anticipate its impact, and act preemptively to avoid any disruption to a production line or your business operations?

What the world considers magic, SAP Ariba considers intelligent procurement – and it’s right around the corner.

For many global organizations, managing hundreds of millions of dollars of spend each year remains a daunting task due to strenuous manual effort. Every day, procurement professionals need to navigate a complex environment with imperfect information. Their goal is to answer questions such as:

  • How do I maximize my spend under management?
  • How do I get insight into my categories of spend, and plan my sourcing strategies?
  • How do I optimize my contracts so that they meet my key goals?
  • How do I minimize supply chain risks while supporting sustainability goals?
  • How can I be sure that orders and invoices comply with preferred suppliers and negotiated prices?
  • How do I process incoming invoices accurately and efficiently?

In fact, there are answers – and solutions. Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have tremendous value to create better connections between people, processes, systems, data, and context. With AI, the systems you rely on can be more intelligent, instantly and reliably identifying the right information and providing the right insights to help you deliver better business outcomes.

AI technologies can be used to combine relevant data on spend, demand, suppliers, contracts, company policies, and so on, as well as contextual information such as commodity prices, news, and financial data sentiment. Using these technologies, you can discover hidden patterns and relationships in your data, gain valuable new insights, and make better decisions about sourcing strategies, supplier risk assessments, contract negotiations, purchasing decisions, and related procurement activities.

Monitoring and predicting risk events

Consider the potential to improve supplier risk assessments. Imagine if an intelligent system could do the work of a team of analysts, compiling information across reputational, financial, operational, and compliance risks in a fraction of the time. Going further, it could continuously monitor new data and reevaluate risk scores across all key commodity categories. This intelligent system, running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, could even predict risk events and mitigation measures before the event happens.

AI’s potential to impact the purchasing process can be equally transformational. Imagine being able to use simple voice commands to buy a product through your requisitioning system while being compliant with the existing policy. Or simply taking a picture of a broken part and having your procurement system automatically identify the part and order it for you. Going further, what if your procurement system already anticipates when you need to order something, sends you an alert, and helps place the order – making things easy for you so you don’t have to do the work.

With a new generation of self-learning systems, the procurement process can constantly deliver increased value for the organization – improving effectiveness and accuracy, automating tasks, and detecting opportunities for cost savings. User experiences can be improved through conversational interactions, voice commands, and enabling interactions through messaging platforms.

Are you ready to join the discussion? Listen to SAP Ariba’s Webinar on Intelligent Procurement to learn more.

Shivani Govil

About Shivani Govil

Shivani Govil is the VP and Global Lead, Mobile Innovation Program, at SAP. Her specialties include mobile, Big Data, IoT, cloud, analytics, product management, sales/go-to-market, strategy, and business development.