2020 is Fast Approaching – What WILL You Accomplish? Part IV

As we have been discussing this week, 2020 is fast approaching and, to date, you haven’t accomplished much with respect to what the big consultancies and “thought leaders” told you that you would accomplish by 2020 because, simply put, most of the vendors haven’t advanced the technology to where it was supposed to be and, as a result, you haven’t really obtained much in the way of new functionality.

Remember that we were told that software would be smart by 2020. It would do most of our work for us. Tactical would be a thing of the past as process, and paperwork, would be completely automated and electronic. And, most importantly, the software would not only allow us to focus on the strategic, but guide us through the strategic process. But we are still in a state of affairs where we have to not only set up the RFI process, but manually work our way thought it each time — using dashboards to figure out where we left off and what we have to do. And, as indicated in our last post, work our way through RFIs where, really, the dumb computer should be able to manage it for us.

So, what can we get?

Continuing on yesterday’s theme, more than we expect if we are willing to go best-of-breed along-side our primary S2P, get good at integration, and better yet at value identification and management. We do have the ability to do the following, with specific platforms in specific circumstances.

Guided Workflows

From the minute we log in to the minute we log out, the system should be putting us where we need to be when we need to be there. If we are only doing one event, we should be taken right to the point we left off next time we log in. If there is an information request, a system notification, or alert that should take precedence, that should be front and center at the top of the screen — whichever screen that is. But we shouldn’t have to go to a starting dashboard that summarizes one event, click into the event, figure out where we left off, click-click-click to get there, and then pick up where we left off.

And if we are doing multiple events, we should log in and see the active events, a status of where they are, a prioritization of events that need to be addressed, a prioritization of alerts and notifications and requests that need to be addressed, and an appropriate interleaving of activities. And, if we want, an auto-pilot mode that will take us through each and every task in the appropriate order. All we should have to do is focus on the information, the strategy, and make the right decision. That’s what a good system should do.

Cognitive Buying

Not only should the system be capable of automated spot buys, but it should also be capable of executing significant portions of more strategic events, especially if the only reasons the buy is not an auto-buy is because the dollar value is above a threshold or the component is a critical component to a primary product line. In the first case, there’s no reason the system cannot still auto-pilot he event all the way to an award selection. If it can identify the right suppliers, validate the cost models, validate the bids are in-line with the models, validate the supplier information, and validate that a potential award meets the business requirements, then it should be able to auto-pilot the scenario to the point where an award is recommended and all the user should have to do is evaluate the award, verify everything is okay, and approve — at which point the system auto-pilots the remainder of the event. In the second case, there’s also no reason that the system can’t auto-pilot the majority of the event. All a user should have to do is approve the supplier selection (because quality, OTD, and regulatory compliance is key, and they need to have human acceptance of risk factors) and the final award recommendation. Remember, the point is to allow buyers to focus on high-dollar strategic categories, not low-dollar ones where only availability needs to be guaranteed or high-dollar ones of non-strategic importance.

And while even this is not the end of the road … it’s where we were supposed to be now … but it’s but it’s definitely the case that not all of this is in your average S2P platform, or even your average best-of-breed system.

So just where could you be?