Ariba Vision 2020: I Hope It’s Just a Ruse!

This post addresses the four predictions in Ariba’s Vision 2020 – The Future of Procurement report that were totally off base. SI is not sure whey they came from as they’re not even close to any reasonable expectation of Supply Management reality in 2020.

05. Data predicts the future

Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt!

We will never reach the point where we can be confident that a supplier’s performance will always fall within our customers’ requirements. We will never predict all defects. And we will never predict all disruptions before they happen. Predictive analysis will get better, our value models will get better, and supply chain reliability will increase, but it will never be perfect and never known in advance. Just like we likely won’t see true AI within our lifetime as current approaches just don’t cut it. (And if we do, the machines will realize how inferior we are, and as soon as we forget to encode Asimov’s three laws of robotics into a single robot, we’re doomed!)

Data, data everywhere
and all our minds will shrink
data, data everywhere
sanity on the brink

08. Outsourcing explodes

Actually, outsourcing will suffer a massive implosion as freight costs make moving goods globally prohibitively expensive and exploding labor costs in emerging economies make outsourcing key service functions more expensive than keeping them in-house in major metropolitan centers. What will actually happen is an emergence of Global Service Centers that are part of the organization and employ the right talent for the job at the right locales. Tactical functions will be executed in low cost locales. Strategic functions will be executed where the organization gets the most value. And while some functions will be outsourced to massive third party Global Service Organizations, they will be managed by a Global Service Center that will push out or pull in as market conditions dictate.

10. So long, sourcing geeks
Not by a longshot. While most tools will become so intuitive that even a novice will be able to execute most sourcing and procurement events, there will still be situations where advanced modeling and analysis will still be required and where only sourcing geeks with a keen understanding of the business needs and the strategic analysis required will be able to perform that analysis. While it’s true that the number of sourcing geeks needed may shrink in relative terms, the skill sets required by these geeks will actually increase.

12. Budget fuss fizzles out
As Woody Woodpecker would say, ha ha ha Ha ha, ha ha ha Ha ha, ha ha ha Ha ha, heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh! Budget fuss is never going away. Finance drives the business and budgeting is so ingrained in financial professionals that there will always be fuss and muss. While more CPOs will be involved in the budgeting process since day one, they will still have to make their case over and over and over again, no matter how obvious it is.

This ends our review of the 31 predictions in Ariba’s Vision 2020 – The Future of Procurement report. Our next, and final, post will discuss the report as a whole.