4 Procurement Predictions for 2014: Part 2

Welcome back! Just joining in? In Part 1 I discussed two trends that we should look for in Procurement in 2014. Today, I’ll share the final two trends:

3-Increased consolidation of procurement and supplier data analytics –Analytics will continue to drive improvements in the ability to take action in business, probably more than any other technology medium for procurement and business at large. Due to the “Big Data” phenomenon, Analytic / BI platforms will increasingly need to accommodate third party data that can “mash up” supplier, category and market data into a dynamic procurement framework. Collectively bringing information onto one business intelligence platform allows procurement executives to take advantage of information already being collected or rendered by recognized third party providers. Examples of third party supplier information can include credit risk, fraud, legal challenges and regulatory compliance. Others include information pulled from market indices or even the tracking social media.

Moreover, analytics is also moving beyond the descriptive (i.e. past date) and into the diagnostic and predictive realms. What this means is the ability to bring in real-time information and correlate information to not only better recognize cost reduction, but advance cost avoidance capabilities for managing risk. Getting supplier, category or spend data from third party sources and combining it with data in a BI tool provides a holistic picture of procurement to identify and anticipate patterns or trends without having to achieve costly integration in both money and time. Due to these advantages, this is likely a trend that will continue and an area where Iasta is focused in 2014.

4-Advancements in the “pursuit in ease of use” – Ease of use is one of the most important aspects in a platform, and critical in both adoption and ongoing contribution of benefit. The secret is understanding how to make a more power platform without creating more technology than is necessary to meet the needs of the customer. Much of this is based on look and feel of technology, yet other aspects relate to concepts that revert to ease of access, ease of integration or even ease of support, that actually meets the need of a changing sourcing function.

Unfortunately, ease of use is also often misinterpreted into fitting wider themes or trends that provide a “cool” factor for a vendor, but adds no real value to the underlying function. A core example of this is mobility and social media. While social technologies will certainly change the way that sourcing organizations interact with suppliers and customers,  understanding how mobility adds to ease of use in purchasing is different than how it impacts sourcing, especially with the different processes for upstream and downstream procurement.  Consider the user base in sourcing being much smaller than the potential hundreds of users needing to buy or approve on the go.  Regardless of the outcome, ease of use will continue to be a guiding force for future development of procurement technologies.

At Iasta, we are on alert with how these trends are impacting Procurement, particularly as procurement organizations are now assessing the current use of their platforms and look to better understand their value in the context of their current and future needs. How are you preparing for trends in 2014? Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting @iasta.

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