AI

Automation Really Isn’t About Automation

automation technology

SIG University Certified Intelligent Automation Professional (CIAP) program graduate Paul Kistner discusses how automation allows best-in-class organizations to find ways to add strategic value to their customers. 

Paul Kistner, Executive Director, Business & Customer Transformation, Allegis Global Solutions

How AI Will Transform Procurement

procurement transformation with ai

Procurement is entering a new era of increasing complexities in which traditional measures of success such as cost savings are no longer the sole focus.

Instead, and as reported in the Deloitte 2021 CPO Survey, "changing business dynamics and increasing layers of complexity" and corresponding "expectations" are transforming the way the industry thinks and acts.

For example, new and more challenging areas such as "climate change, geopolitical stability," and "increasing societal expectations" are now part of the new equation.

The introduction of these emerging variables is causing organizations to re-examine their digital transformation strategies, including how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help them address the industry's challenges.

The SIG Survey

In 2021 SIG surveyed 100 procurement professionals from Fortune 500 and Global 1000 organizations on digital transformation and AI in procurement.

Based on the results, it is clear that those responding to the survey believe that "procurement's priorities lie with how AI technology can streamline the roles and processes to deliver meaningful and sustainable results."

Unfortunately, and despite the opportunity for more significant gains, the survey reports that "several obstacles" make it difficult for organizations to "bridge the divide" between the promise of digital AI and the realization of its optimal benefits.

Crossing the Divide

Understanding the importance of AI and identifying the challenges with realizing its potential to redefine and empower procurement to achieve critical objectives is the first step to crossing the aforementioned divide.

Mary Zampino, Vice President – Content, Research & Analytics

SIG Speaks to Amanda Slevar, SAP Fieldglass

If you can partner with a technology provider who understands the intrinsic value of time, in addition to your savings and adoption goals, you’re on the way to scale a program, and automate the repetitive tasks that are a time drain on your human capital.

 

Amanda Slevar is a Manager of Presales for SAP Fieldglass. She brings over 15 years of contingent labor management and services procurement expertise to prospective customers to designs solutions to fit their current needs, and build toward an innovative future program. Amanda is a featured presenter at SIG’s Global Executive Summit which takes place this month. The Global Executive Summit is free to all qualified buy-side practitioners and sell-side members.


What does it mean to “future proof” your external workforce management?

To me, this comes down to three core areas: People, Process, and Platform and they are all incredibly dependent on each other for success. Starting with people, if organizations are really serious about strategically managing their external workforce, they understand that people are core to making sure the experience and adoption of the program is successful. Whether that is through an internal center of excellence or via a 3rd party MSP to manage, having the eyes, ears, and hands, to be able to react to changes and growth opportunities that are going to arise with any program from the most newly deployed to a fully mature global installation.

Secondly, having a clear and simple process for procuring external talent is key to adoption, which fuels growth organically. I have had the benefit of seeing many programs start out small in scope, and through the simplicity and ease of a process that was executed begin to expand and grow just because they delivered a delightful experience, and other parts of the business want it too! No forceful, mandated rollout, just a great solution that delivers value to its end users.

Amanda Slevar Manager, Customer Success, SAP Fieldglass

8 Steps to Manage Vendor Data Privacy Compliance

Eight vital steps organizations can take to ensure that vendors aren’t jeopardizing data privacy compliance.

Around the world, new regulations about the collection and usage of personal data are changing workflows for major organizations. Following the passage of legislation like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), businesses are auditing privacy practices and creating much stricter guidelines when they select partners and vendors.

With tighter regulations about the way consumer data is collected and used, organizations have to increase scrutiny for every party that has access to personal data. The entire system is only as secure as the weakest part, so it’s more important than ever to vet external parties and maintain visibility into their data practices. Here are eight vital steps organizations can take to ensure that vendors aren’t jeopardizing data privacy compliance.

Step 1: Audit Your Existing Data Privacy System

Before you do anything else, examine what’s currently in place to understand the changes that need to be made to maintain compliance with new regulations. You want to avoid reinventing the wheel and make adjustments without slowing down the business or adding risks.

After that self-examination, conduct the same check on your network of vendors. It’s imperative that you have a 360-degree understanding of vendors’ business practices and overall reliability before entering or continuing business relationships.

Docusign

SIG Speaks to Nikesh Parekh, CEO and Co-Founder of Suplari

Nikesh Parekh will present at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?

As the CEO and Co-Founder of Suplari, my goal is to hire great people, provide some direction, and then enable my team to build great products and services for our customers. 

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?

I am passionate about enabling people and companies to buy smarter and more strategically. There is a perception that procurement teams are process-only and hard to work with, but I have met wonderful people on procurement teams around the world who are true strategic advisors driving change across the company and in their industries. Sourcing and procurement teams know how to let their hair down too and are some of the most fun out there.

In your opinion, what are 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have?

  • Data analysis
  • Communication/negotiation
  • Collaboration

What does the future of sourcing and procurement look like to you?

Procurement must enable the business to be more efficient and serve as a trusted strategic advisor. It must also enable the rest of the business to buy smarter while focusing on the most important sourcing events for the company. Procurement and sourcing will become a true strategic executive function at every company. 


Explore more interviews with expert practitioners and executives on our blog.  

Nikesh Parekh, CEO and Co-Founder of Suplari

SIG Speaks to Carlos Burgos, Director, Indirect Procurement, College Board

Carlos Burgos will present at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?

I am Director, Indirect Procurement, and my role is to manage indirect categories of spend. Those categories include office supplies, office equipment, maintenance and repairs, office services, HR and our contingent workforce program, among others. 

In my role I strive to reduce dependencies on sole-sourced vendors, automate processes by migrating where possible to a digital delivery, manage down our expenses and leverage our suppliers to come up with solutions that challenge our business operations. At the end of the day, I’m tasked with transforming our operating model to deliver an improved stakeholder experience with greater flexibility and at a lower cost.

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?

I wish people knew how rewarding this profession is. We get to work on a variety of different projects that are challenging and unique. We get to work with all departments and divisions within our organizations, as well as work with all levels of employees from the CEO to entry-level colleagues. We play an integral part in putting solutions in place that affect our business operations, supply chain and ultimately our viability as a company.

In your opinion, what are 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have?

The 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have:

Carlos Burgos, Director, Indirect Procurement, College Board

SIG Speaks to Sheena Smith, Managing Director of North America, Spend Matters

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities? 

I just transitioned into a new role as Managing Director of North America. We purposefully chose a nebulous title because every day looks different for me and my role is pretty much a catch-all! Some days I'm head-down on internal company strategy (I still lead our client and commercial teams from behind the scenes), other days I work directly with our clients on anything from technology selection projects to jointly running global CPO surveys.

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement? 

 That it touches EVERYTHING. When I started with Spend Matters 10 years ago, I had no idea that procurement was “a thing.” I wish people thought about how their everyday items from socks to cell phones are made, built, assembled and sourced. I also wish people understood how sophisticated the sourcing and procurement process has the potential to be. It’s so far beyond steak dinners with “key” suppliers and fiddling about with spreadsheets. There's some amazing stuff happening out there with technology and process, and people are thinking bigger to drive it.

In your opinion, what are 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have? 

 1) Sales – Hear me out. Procurement is a sales team for a lot of reasons: negotiations internally and externally, selling new internal processes, understanding pain points of teams and suppliers...the list is endless. Being able to “sell” an agenda, a tool, a process or an initiative is key.

Sheena Smith, Managing Director of North America, Spend Matters

SIG Speaks to Pierre Mitchell, Chief Research Officer, Spend Matters

Pierre Mitchell will present at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?

I wear a lot of hats! I advise practitioner advisory clients on their digital procurement (and broader transformation) initiatives. I particularly like working with Center of Excellence leads! We also serve technology providers and consultants, and I help out with thought leadership (e.g., webinars) and strategy. I lead a team of analysts, but also personally help cover the Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) space and broader areas in supply chain, risk management, etc.

We’re evangelizing a concept called “Commercial Value Management” that is basically “CLM on steroids.” Finally, I’m responsible for our “Solution Map” provider intelligence benchmark and other market intelligence and product development efforts, and have been spending a lot of time videoconferencing like everyone else!

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?

It’s so, so much more than cost cutting and doing deals, but rather, about intelligently externalizing the business to safely tap the power of (increasingly digital) supply markets to maximize enterprise value.  Yeah, there’s a lot of words in that statement, but it’s true! It’s the ultimate cross-functional and cross-discipline function. 

In your opinion, what are 3 skills that sourcing and procurement professionals of tomorrow must have?

The skills that are still required today: business domain knowledge, stakeholder/relationship management, supply management (strategic cost management, negotiations, SRM, SCM, risk management, etc.), market intelligence and change management.

Pierre Mitchell, Chief Research Officer, Spend Matters

SIG Speaks to David Gingell, CMO, Seal Software

David Gingell will present at the SIG Procurement Technology Summit

What is your role and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?

I am responsible for marketing the Seal technology used by many Global 2000 companies to gain insight into both their buy-side and sell-side contracts. This means having a good understanding of the needs of our customers, being attuned to the areas in which our technology can help them and deliver the assets that they can use to evaluate whether Seal is right for them. This can be in terms of white papers, web copy, webinars and so on.

What is something that you wish more people knew about sourcing and procurement?

Clearly, I am motivated to see more and more organizations experience the value they can gain by having a deeper understanding of their contracts, identifying obligations they have, opportunities for revenue recovery or simply understanding whether they are tight with regulations like GDPR. All of these are about gaining insight to aid decision-making. Contract analytics is being adopted by forward-thinking procurement functions across financial institutions, energy companies, telcos, process and discrete manufacturers, indeed, across nearly every industry. My role is to help more companies understand the power of contract analytics.

In today’s current pandemic, companies are looking to their contracts to see if there is language which might give them a respite out of trying to meet their obligations to their customers across the supply chain – this is usually referenced in the force majeure clauses but also needs to take into account business continuity provisions and termination rights. This is one area where the power of contract analytics can be engaged.

David Gingell, CMO, Seal Software

This Month at SIG – December 2019

December networking and thought leadership at Sourcing Industry Group.

As the year comes to a close, it's a good time to look back at the goals you set this time last year. Whether you're on track or have a ways to go, take advantage of these opportunities to focus on your professional development. Listen to some inspiring executive advice from the podcast, take an hour to join a webinar or consider sharing your expertise at one of our upcoming events.   


December Webinars

December 4 – Services Procurement: Unlocking Value from your Invisible Workforce
Presented by: SAP Fieldglass

Services providers such as consultants and agencies account for a significant portion of workforce spend and are crucial to business performance. Yet many companies under-manage them, leaving value on the table and creating risk. For the second year of research with Oxford Economics, SAP Fieldglass takes a deeper dive into services procurement. Join us to learn how workforce leaders realize more value from these providers.

Stacy Mendoza, Digital Marketing Manager

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