As per our last post, it was just five years ago that all of the big consulting houses — PWC, Accenture, Deloitte, etc. — were talking about the future of procurement in 2020 and how it was going to be nothing like what it was then, or should I say, what it’s like today because, to be frank, it really hasn’t changed that much in the past five years.
We ended yesterday’s post asking you what today’s Source-to-Pay have that yesterday’s applications didn’t have. To answer this, let’s consider the typical Source-to-Pay platform capabilities:
Analytics: Take out the AI classification (which takes a lot of training and can’t always outdo a human despite claims) and there isn’t a single platform out there today that has more raw analytics capability than BIQ did almost 10 years ago. Better UX? Yes. Better capability? Not really.
RFX & Auction: There’s nothing new. Better interfaces. Tighter integration. More support for third parties. But nothing new.
Optimization: Trade Extensions was the most powerful platform then. It is now. Jaggaer/SciQuest CombineNet and Jaggaer/BravoSolution (VerticalNet (Tigris)) were the close runner ups then. And they are now. And about the only new capability is greater infeasibility and sensitivity analysis. But these capabilities were in their infancy then.
Contracting: The only real improvements are in deep semantically driven contract analytics — and they only appear in specialist vendors like Seal Software or Exari (Adsensa). Not in traditional CLM platforms for Source to Pay.
e-Procurement: Catalog Management. Guided Buying. Requisitions. Purchase Orders. The song remains the same. Nothing new.
Invoice Management: e-invoicing. m-Way matching. OCR and meta-data match. The tech has become a bit smarter, but nothing different.
The fact of the matter is that we’re not that much further technologically then we were five years ago, and that’s probably why Procurement has not really progressed much in the last five years (and why it caused many to Proclaim it dead because, if something stops moving for long enough, you pretty much assume it’s dead).
And that’s why we’re asking what have you accomplished? Because it’s certainly nothing close to what all the big firms told us you would accomplished. But then again, knowing that most of these firms are all bark and no bite, what would we expect?