2020 Is Fast Approaching — Better Get on Your Tech Capabilities

Last week we asked what would you accomplish by 2020, which is less than 16 months away. Between 2008 and 2013, all the big analyst firms and thought leadership vendors painted a glorious picture of where Procurement would be by 2020 — a picture which isn’t even close to being a reality. Simply put, the vendors haven’t advanced technology to the point where it was supposed to be and, as a result, while you got more integrated, streamlined, easier to use platforms with friendlier, and sometimes even mobile, interfaces, you haven’t really obtained new functionality.

By 2020, our software was supposed to be smart. It was supposed to be doing most of our work for us. Tactical procurement was supposed to be a thing of the past. Paperwork was supposed to be over and done with. Data processing and verification automated. And Sourcing was supposed to be smart … not just more functional. But that’s what your average S2P platform is. More functional.

However, as per our posts last week, we were supposed to have:

  • Invoice Automation
  • Supplier Identification
  • Automated Supplier Discovery
  • RFX Process Automation
  • Should Cost Modelling
  • Automated Spot Buys
  • Guided Workflows
  • Cognitive Buying

And the reality is that we have most of this … across half a dozen or so different providers. But not in one platform, not even for one vertical. So what is there?

Invoice Automation
Nipendo has been doing a great job here for over five years. Easy integration with all electronic data streams, OCR and auto-processing, PO-flip, m-way match, auto-fill, and pretty much everything you were supposed to have. After proper implementation, integration, and training, auto-processing of 99% is not unrealistic.

And they’re not alone — a couple of years ago, Ivalua figured out what they were missing and now have built similar capabilities — integration with EDI, XML, and OCR streams. PO-flip and smart processing to detect missing data, needed data, and even expected data based on structure.

And then there’s Dhatim which is infusing Invoice Automation with AI to make sure that, over time, the number of invoices that need to be manually reviewed asymptotically approaches zero.

Supplier Identification
The best-of-breed supplier information / relationship platforms are adding advanced search capabilities across the board to make it easy to find suppliers that meet product/category requirements, organizational diversity and CSR requirements, and geographic preferences. For example, Apex Analytix makes it easy to identify suppliers in target regions with financial stability and other CSR indicators. State of Flux makes it easy to identify suppliers that meet any and all performance / risk metrics you want to define in targeted locations. ConnXus allows you to find diversity suppliers and monitor sub-tier diversity spending.

(Automated) Supplier Discovery
Lots of best of breed platforms support the identification of appropriate suppliers through advanced searches, as did lots of supplier networks, but until recently, true supplier discovery, based on the current capabilities of ML and AI was non-existent. However, now we have the likes of Tealbook which is bringing AI-based discovery to the masses.

And that’s not all. Stay tuned for a review of additional Best-of-Breed players who can help with your S2P platform upgrade needs.