With input from more than 300 senior procurement leaders across 33 countries, the survey found that for nearly 75% of CPOs cost reduction is the top priority. However, as they ‘look to sustain business growth in a slowing market’ investment in technology and digital innovations has increased.
Joining the digital revolution?
The results show 70% of CPOs have invested in self-service portals, 45% in cloud-based computing and 42% in mobile technologies. Other areas most likely to receive investment over the next year are:
- spend analysis
- contract management
- e-sourcing, and
- supplier relationship management
A lack of clear digital strategy?
Yet despite a keen interest in procurement tech, most CPOs (60%) confessed they didn’t have a clear digital strategy in place and 62% (a rise of 24% since 2015) believe their staff lack the skills to deliver on it. Perhaps this is unsurprising considering nearly a third of companies spent less than 1% on training.
While there is a tendency to focus on retaining existing talent, the survey states, ‘Over the past five years, we have seen a sustained push toward outsourcing as a way of plugging the capability gap.’ This year, the trend has slowed but 74% of CPOs still plan to outsource in future and appear to recognise its importance in improving efficiency, bringing value and increasing profitability.
The benefits of technology
New technology might not immediately resolve issues such as gaps in talent and training, but it does offer the chance to leverage it ‘to support the strategic elements of procurement’.
A number of case studies are presented which show innovations in robotics and next generation technology greatly improving efficiency. Virtual management platforms and automated contract metadata capture are amongst these with the latter capturing 1,000 documents in less than a fortnight instead of a standard 10 weeks.
The survey declares, ‘digital disruption and robotics could either reinvigorate or replace procurement’s value proposition.’ Evidently, a technology-led revolution is upon us with the potential to build capabilities and improve accuracy, speed and outcomes.
22% still to start their digital journey
For the 22% of CPOs yet to start their digital journey, it is clearly time. Digital procurement’s growth can ‘offer a radically different value proposition to the organisation – one that removes the traditional process-led bottleneck and the need to allocate significant human resource to still-essential transactional tasks.’
Are you ready to go digital? Find out how eProcurement technology can help save time, increase efficiency and deliver better results. Read our guide to eProcurement ROI.