Ariba Vision 2020: Tomorrow’s Shoes (Part I)

This is the first of two posts that address the fourteen predictions that were dead on in Ariba’s Vision 2020 – The Future of Procurement report. Any Supply Management organization that recognizes the truth of these predictions is well on its way to formulating a plan to be a leading Supply Management organization in the decade ahead.

01. Everything is automated

This prediction is dead-on. Next Generation Supply Management shops are investing heavily in technology to automate all non-strategic and low-value supply management activities, leaving the sourcing professionals to focus on strategic and high-value categories where they can extract the most value for the organization.

07. Spend management shrinks

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: Spend Matters Not. It’s not how much you spend, how you store it, how you cube it, or how you report on it — what ultimately matters is how much you get from it, profit from it, and derive value from it. Next Generation Supply Management organizations are focussed on improving business outcomes, not cutting costs until quality and stability of supply suffer. Spend Management will shrink as true Supply Management focussed on value takes its place.

09. Service providers excel

Given the increasing cost of outsourcing complex and strategic functions to emerging economies where labour rates are rising exponentially, in order to maintain cost competitiveness and deliver value, the service providers will provide service that constantly improves in efficiency and execution.

13. Let’s get financial

Since overall financial success will still be the ultimate measure of value generation in public enterprises, Supply Management will revolve around the financial supply chain and will be heavily involved in optimizing cash flows, working capital, and financing programs from NPD through return and disposal.

14. SM pros get sophisticated

Supply Management professionals will definitely be much more sophisticated in 2020 than they are today. As the secret agents that essentially drive all aspects of the business, their business savvy, analytical capabilities, relationship skills, and overall execution abilities will be, for the most part, a level above where they are today.

15. Supply pros expand expertise

This is the obvious result of a supply managmeent professional getting more sophisticated. It should not have been included as a separate prediction because it’s impossible to get more sophisticated in Supply Management without expanding depth of expertise in key areas.

16. Strategy scope widens

One does not get to the next level by maintaining a narrow focus, so it should also be obvious that the scope of strategy addressed by an average Supply Management organization is going to expand as well. The strategy will be more closely aligned with the needs of the organization’s end customers and be more cognizant of the needs of the current, and future, customer base. Supply Management will be increasingly called upon not only to analyze merger and acquisition possibilities, but to lead the initiative as success will depend upon succesfull integration of the end-to-end supply chains. And it will be involved in all NPD from day one to help identify customer needs and supplier capabilities before any decisions are made.

The next post will address the other seven predictions that were dead-on.