Procurement Leaders asks solution providers in the procurement space for their predictions on the shifts in technology that will take place in 2015. In this, the first post in the series, Mickey North Rizza, VP strategic services, BravoSolution, shares her views.
Q: How do you think customer expectations will change in terms of what they’re looking for from procurement technology solutions in 2015?
A: The number one thing customers will look at in 2015 is vulnerability. Procurement teams need to know where they are vulnerable, why, and how to take action. When you translate that into procurement technology, it’s all about visibility. Customers will prioritise solutions that provide full visibility into what’s right, and what’s wrong or risky, in their supply base. The best technologies will not only provide a detailed picture of what’s happening, but also make it easy for procurement to act and make changes when an opportunity or issue presents itself.
Another functionality customers will look for is predictive intelligence. Clients want a crystal ball to help them predict the future.
Can that technology identify trending financial indicators that may impact a key supplier or disrupt production? What about potential geographic and political issues that might impact the supply base? This type of predictive analysis can strengthen business continuity for both the client and the supply base, and ultimately, mitigate risk factors that aren’t even on the client’s radar.
Q: What shifts do you expect to see in terms of the capabilities offered in solutions and how that influences products?
A: 2015 will be the year of the supplier; everything procurement teams do will have to connect back to the supply base. I expect procurement teams to place a greater emphasis on qualitative and quantitative supplier data analysis, and to prioritise relevant solutions. This prioritisation will include the capability to combine that supplier data with external information and trends to identify weak spots, risks and opportunities in the global supply chain.
Data will continue to be a critical element to the procurement equation, but having technology that can analyse the information and make it actionable will be even more important. Customers want products that help them baseline performance and improve outcomes. Examples include improving a supplier’s success rate, decreasing risks and opening the door for buyer and supplier collaboration and innovation.
While sourcing technologies, such as e-procurement, spend analysis, e-sourcing, and contract management, will remain the bread and butter of the function, I expect to see substantially more demand for supplier management tools.
Q: Where do you think the big changes will be in terms of the businesses in this technology space?
A: Supplier relationship management (SRM) will be the biggest growth area over the next five years. We’ve seen some estimates that show the return on investment of advanced SRM could be as much as 25 times more than what can be gained in a single sourcing event.
Mobile applications will continue to gain momentum, and they’ll begin to serve as more than just point solutions for solving independent problems. Technology vendors will begin to deepen their investments in mobility to ensure their applications have greater functionality and capabilities. We live in an on-demand world, and today’s procurement professionals want the power to do everything they do on a computer on their tablet or phone. While this will take a while to become a reality, I expect it to continue to be a point of emphasis over the next few years.
Mickey North Rizza is VP strategic services, BravoSolution.