As we approach the end of 2019 we will see the usual flurry of procurement and supply chain related predictions for next year appear all over websites – and of course we are no exception! We have gathered a series of predictions from leading vendors in the procurement and supply chain space and will add our own sprinkling of endorsement from analyst Magnus Bergfors in our own roundup piece to follow.
So let’s start with our first vendor predictions, and see what global leader in networked purchase-to-pay solutions, e-invoicing and innovative financing services, Basware, has to say.
Data and Analytics
It’s been a hot topic for a while, but we don’t foresee this important theme going away anytime soon. Data and analytics were originally used with the intention to drill down into your operations. In that way, they only worked “reactively.” And though this was (and still is) tremendously helpful, it’s nothing compared to the benefits that come from using data and analytics “proactively.”
We anticipate using data in a more advanced, predictive way, going forward – not only to drill-down, but to alert-up. Using your data to establish actionable insights empowers your organisation not just to look at your current state of operations but make a proactive and informed plan for the future. In particular, predictive analytics and committed spend analysis can help you forecast your spend and track budgets. You can even avoid supply chain risk with advanced analytics and information gathered from your system as well as external data sources.
Ecosystem Approach to P2P
The concept of the “end-to-end” P2P suite is coming to an end. In its place we see the “ecosystem” approach rising. As businesses become more modern and emerging tech businesses and startups continue popping up left and right, it’s unrealistic to think a one-size-fits-all approach is feasible for growing organisations. It’s an idea that we, at Basware, have seen coming for a while. One vendor that provides total, end-to-end P2P might provide the breadth of functionality but not necessarily the depth of functionality needed for each stage of P2P process.
It’s time to adopt an integrated approach, a P2P ecosystem that provides a central location for all the unique plug-ins and applications that best fit your organisation. Because according to analyst houses, over the next 3-5 years the products that will win in this new market will be open, dynamic, and built with AI.
Supplier Risk Management
Admittedly, this trend is nothing new, per se. What is new, is the amount of emphasis that should be placed on mitigating your supplier risk. It’s not about just getting the cheapest suppliers anymore. There’s too much risk associated with thinking merely in terms of dollar signs when it comes to suppliers. There should be open dialogues and increased communication between both parties. The conversation shouldn’t just circulate around “how much?” It should entail in-depth dialogues and continuous research into how sustainable, diverse, and ethically upstanding a supplier is as well as what reputational and business risk a supplier can potentially cause.
Your suppliers are an extension of your brand and in that way a direct reflection of your business’ own beliefs. Additionally, customers are demanding visibility into how sustainable and ethical organisations’ processes are. In their 2018 Purpose Study, Cone and Porter Novelli reported that 78% of consumers say organisations must positively affect society, not just make money—and nearly the same amount (77%) say they feel more emotionally connected to organisations driven by a purpose and values. So, to keep risk at bay and adhere to the desires of consumers, it’s vital your organisation monitor and act proactively using comprehensive resources like Dunn & Bradstreet and Mastercard Track.
This is another trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. And like our third trend, SRM, it’s likely that it will only continue to become more important over the years. Why? Because global commerce, especially, has seen significant growth. And though global trade offers many benefits to organisations, it also introduces the complex issues of tax laws and regulations regarding e-invoicing.
E-invoicing regulations are becoming more stringent and as these laws develop more strict requirements, the risk associated with noncompliance increases substantially. Not to mention, these regulations can vary from country to country. So, if you’re a global organisation, these various laws can be nearly impossible to keep up with. That’s why it helps to team up with a solution that relinquishes some of that pressure and automatically stays up to date on the latest invoicing regulations, so you don’t have to.
Smart Processing and AI
Smarter processes backed by data and powered by automation are the future for S2P operations. When data quality improves, automation becomes all the more effective. It takes the manual tasks and the back-end operations out of the hands of your team and instead empowers them with the ability to make more strategic decisions and contribute to tactical business moves.
Intelligent technologies backed with AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) handle as much as possible behind the scenes without human interference. These technologies learn as they go and eventually gather enough data to perform the same job in a completely different but more efficient way. We don’t predict that they’ll become sentient and come for your job anytime soon (or ever, to be honest). In fact, these technologies will actually continue to make all parts of the P2P process easier and quicker, empowering you to become more strategic.
Justin Sadler-Smith, GM at Basware UK&I added:
“In the UK there is definitely increased Board scrutiny over investment and a need for businesses to react quickly to a constantly changing business climate. The pressure on CPOs to identify software that can co-exist with current investments and provide rapid ROI will most likely continue well through 2020. The stark reality is that a full Source-to-Pay deployment is a huge investment in time and cost so it will be critical to seek out and work with organisations that offer best-in breed solutions – the onus will be on the vendor to be flexible, nimble and open.”
Thanks to Basware – and look out for more solution provider predictions over the next couple of weeks. It will make interesting writing for the end of 2020 to see which were most accurate!
Please note that the order of vendor predictions in this series is based entirely on the order in which they dropped onto our digital doorstep, nothing more.