The strategic sourcing revolution is a change in organizational rather than technological terms, but its current prominence has been aided by several new digital solutions that have rolled out over the past few years. Accepting more strategic input from procurement leaders and other supply chain professionals makes sense only if the old duties of those employees - the day-to-day management of contracts - can be simplified and automated through better IT.

Analytics systems are among the most useful tools when figuring out how to improve a procurement department. Working with the data already flowing through the company, these solutions give sourcing leaders a valuable new perspective on their operations.

Where analysis meets automation
Spend Matters recently explained that procurement departments over the years have been equipped with the technology to perform spend analytics but largely unable to shift related work off human employees and onto automated processes. Employees have been stuck with the laborious task of data management if they want to make decisions based on spend data. The latest innovations, machine learning and artificial intelligence, are finally delivering less intensive processes.

According to Spend Matters, adding AI to the existing framework of spend analytics is a major way to open up more time in the procurement department. When people have free time, they can contribute to their organizations in more strategic ways. The activities sped up by the introduction of AI tend to be essential yet time-consuming functions, such as cleaning and processing raw data input. Making those roles automatic is a major accomplishment.

The site added that when sourcing teams take on new analytics systems, they aren't just making their workdays easier and more productive. New solutions powered by AI algorithms are able to combine a huge amount of sources beyond the data recorded during transactions. Adding more data sources promises a depth of insights that goes past legacy analytics offerings.

Procurement data is right there fore the companies able to grasp it.Procurement data is right there for companies able to grasp it.
Decision-making in practice
New and time-saving analytics tools aren't simply a proof-of-concept. Companies are already reaping the benefits of better data-driven insights. Supply Chain Digital recently looked inside the beauty product maker Coty, which has revamped its procurement department to use more automated features and cloud-based architectures to connect its sprawling operational capabilities.

Arya Gupta, procurement director of global chemicals and innovation at Coty, told Supply Chain Digital that the company's recent embrace of technology has improved several of its foundational procurement processes. Coty has seen supplier management improvement, along with better visibility into all lines of business simultaneously. The company is now measuring its procumbent results more accurately than before and performing effective risk management calculations.

New technology and a desire to shake up and improve procurement are complementary elements. The strategic sourcing revolution will rely on both of these factors continuing to influence decisions by leaders across industries.
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