Half of Procurement & Supplier Management Processes Have yet to Be Digitised


New research from Ivalua has found more than half (53%) of procurement and supplier management processes have yet to be digitised. This is creating inefficiencies, with procurement teams estimating they are wasting more than a fifth (22%) of their time each year dealing with paper-based or manual processes.

The study reveals that half of procurement leaders (50%) think that the rate of digitisation within procurement is too slow, while 47% say existing procurement systems are not flexible enough to keep up with constant change and deal with market and economic uncertainty.

This is having a major impact on procurement’s ability to work on strategic tasks, as a lack of digitisation:

  • Limits organisations’ ability to make quick, informed decisions regarding their suppliers (47%).
  • Prevents organisations from tackling rising inflation and spiralling costs (46%).
  • Makes it almost impossible to attract and retain the best talent (41%).

“Organisations are wasting millions in staff time every year on manual processes. This is bogging teams down in low-value tasks, limiting their ability to focus on more strategic priorities,” comments Alex Saric, smart procurement expert at Ivalua. “Given inflation remains high and the economic outlook uncertain, it’s never been more important to digitise procurement processes, and free up teams to tackle these challenges.”

Procurement needs a solid data foundation to harness AI and emerging technologies

The study shows that 85% of organisations have implemented or plan to implement data analytics within the procurement and supplier management function. A further 63% say they have already implemented or plan to implement AI or machine learning technology.

However, just 30% of respondents say they are “very confident” in the quality and accessibility of their supplier data when it comes to supporting effective procurement.

Other areas organisations have implemented or plan to implement to transform their procurement and supplier management function include:

  • Full end-to-end Source-to-Pay platforms (72%) – which can help to better manage their spend and suppliers.
  • Chatbots (63%) – which can help users make more informed purchasing decisions.
  • Blockchain technology (56%) – which can improve provenance when purchasing goods.
  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA) (55%) – which can reduce reporting time and assist with contract and category management.

AI can be the catalyst for procurement transformation, with clear use cases for processing data, driving automation, creating actionable insights, and informing strategies to augment procurement and supply chain operations,” concludes Saric. “But poor-quality data will limit the insights produced by AI. Organisations need to walk before they can run, and this starts with digitisation. This means taking a cloud-based approach to procurement that builds a solid data foundation that will inform decision making and reduce the risk of ‘garbage in, garbage out’.”