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Sourcing and Procurement

Trends in procurement – the year that was

Every year brings new challenges with it, and 2019 was no exception when we look at talent, digitalisation, and risk management.

The year saw few trends in procurement with regards to talent, digitisation and risk management. These continue to gain pace for effective procurement business solutions.

Talent

Talent boom -
With digital technology on the rise, it is but obvious that procurement companies sourced and looked for a talent pool that had knowledge of the latest technologies. With the help of right talent, adopting and implementing emerging technologies is much easier and given the dearth of talent in spaces such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process automation (RPA), building the talent base was one of the main highlights of 2019, a trend that will continue in 2020.

Nurturing talent -
With AI widely adopted, there is a chunk of workforce that has been withdrawn from the system. Procurement companies are holding on to such talent and are heavily investing in these resources to learn about new technologies. This in turn will enhance the talent pool of a company.

Digitalisation

Planned digital technology -
With the growing digital landscape, all procurement companies needed to have a plan as to how they could go about making the most of new technologies, one could be implemented effectively. Unfortunately, most were not error-free. Companies have now realised the importance of having such a strategy, as we see a rise in effective strategies in 2020. This will allow the sector to invest in the right technology and also help in seamless transition from older processes to newer ones. In addition to this, an efficient plan can be mapped out for resources that will be required for digitalisation.

The rise of AI -
As we are aware, many companies have already adopted AI in their processes. Companies like EdgeVerve have not only launched, but are implementing a suite of procurement-centric business applications built on NIA, and are promoting this to clients through Infosys Limited and Infosys BPM. AI has already replaced most of the ordinary tasks in favour of automation.

Change management -
All the changes in digital, coupled with risks, have led to an upward trend in change management. This has always been one of the barriers for procurement companies in achieving their goals. The new-age technologies have automated transactional work in procurement. This allows companies to position their resources more strategically to achieve critical business advantage.

Risk

With the rise of new technologies, concerns have been raised in regards to the risks involved. Lack of adequate cybersecurity still plagues a lot of procurement organisations. Several steps have been taken by companies to ensure that not only is their information protected, but that of their suppliers are also secure.

As a result, risk management has been a trend on the rise. In addition to cybersecurity, risks that are related to the economy, such as the potential economic downturn, Brexit, the trade war between the US and China, etc. have been a concern for many CPOs. Simplifying and harmonising the internal procurement processes continues to be a focus area as well.