Sourcing and Procurement

Ace the vendor game with AI

As a largely unknown and dreaded virus hit humanity in 2020 and threw our world into complete disarray, the only option that corporates fell back on, was their institutional memory of achieving business as usual, under extremely strenuous circumstances. The pandemic brought focus to the fact that stability can only stem from strong underlying relationships. The same holds true for corporate and supplier relationships, where the support and service delivery by vendors plays a key rolein the market’s perception and thus, the brand equity of their clients.

However, like all good thingsthatcreate andadd value incrementally,establishing and sustaining such meaningful relationshipstakeseffort. With market offerings becoming incredibly complex, vendors are now facing intense competition to create differentiated superior offerings. With such innovation acting as a driving force, it is no surprise that AI is fast becoming the coveted solution that can come to a vendor’s rescue.

Innovation and AI

Today, innovation and AI go hand in hand. The versatility of AI has the potential to reshape industries and improve efficiency on a large scale.

AI has found universal applicationacross a diverse range of industries and sectors thanks to the mass generation and consumption of data. Apart from automating data-driven processes, AI-based solutions can help synthesise multiple data points, such as buying patterns of customers to garner actionable insights pertaining to sales forecast, inventory management and customer demand. Not to mention the automated customer support possibilities generated by AI that are revolutionising the sales and marketing functions.

AI has found universal application across a diverse range of industries and sectors thanks to the mass generation and consumption of data.

But what happens when instead of supporting an organisation in silos, innovative solutions are integrated for business-wide impact? A study by Accenture states that 45% of organisation stakeholders believe their business expansion depended on the incorporation of continuous innovation on the AI front into their products and services, while 83% of clients insisted that the future of their organisation relied on having a vendor who supports AI innovation.

Clients are now looking to maximise their potential offerings by developing AI solutions and creating intelligent self-service models. By assessing the needs of the organisation and studying their market presence, vendors must offer personalised and scalable AI solutions that are tailor-made for organisations and enable them to capture and retain their target customer segment. These tools must be capable of understanding the organisation’s constraints and suggest insightful recommendations to overcome them,thus augmenting their client’s potential.

Not only does AI have external applications, but it can also aid organisations internally. By conducting a gap analysis on low-yield processes, optimising wasteful operations, and automating administrative tasks to free up the human skillset, AI can bring about an organisation-wide overhaul. It can ensure better visibility across a business value chain and speed up the velocity of decision-making. Finally, developing innovation-driven AI solutions can be a competitive advantage for organisations, helping them expand their client base and provide superior vendor support and collaboration.

"Vendors need to move up from their as-is model and try to map their capabilities across all the possible problem areas that their clients are facing, where they can add value."

The roadmap to success for vendors

Vendors need to move up from their as-is model and try to map their capabilities across all the possible problem areas that their clients are facing, where they can add value. It is not about force-fitting a solution, it is about analysing processes to identify high-risk areas and providing seamless support to upgrade efficiency in operations. While organisations are tempted to either automate small segments for incremental gains or completely revamp the core operations for significant returns; the key to success lies in striking a balance. Opting for problem areas that are big enough to be impactful, but stable enough to show results within a stipulated time frame is the desired solution.

Working in silos is a thing of the past now, and in order to build client satisfaction, vendors must aim for inter-related and data-intensive business activities with capable and experienced leaders that will benefit the most from AI solutions. Achieving this state of technological advancement will require a lot of investment – from extensive expenditure and integration of several moving technical aspects, toof course, a commitment of time, effort and knowledge-sharing from the involved teams. Vendors must make a calculated decision by weighing all these options to arrive at the optimum solution that will maximise client satisfaction.

After all, having the best products is no longer enough for companies to differentiate themselves in the market. How effectively you help your partner create compelling, advanced, and scalable solutions is what seals the deal with today’s customers.

This article was first published on Silicon India

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