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How to gain advantage from digital procurement

  • March 06, 2018
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  • Chris Bansbach, Kristin Ruehle, Alison Detwiler and Tom Fahey

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  • Procurement

What does digital transformation mean in the context of procurement? In a four-part series on The Intelligent Operations Blog, experts in procurement transformation and operations at our partner Accenture share their vision of what the digital procurement function of the future will look like, and how companies can prepare for it. We are pleased to be able share that vision with you on the Coupa blog.


The end state, Procurement 3.0, is one in which companies are able to leverage both internal and external data to guide business decisions, write our experts in part two of the series.


Digital procurement isn’t just the next phase in IT’s evolution. It’s a genuine step-change—a dramatic departure from both procurement’s use of technology and its operating model of the past few decades.


Today, the vast majority of companies have a procurement organization characterized by a focus on using technology to automate processes and record what has happened: a transaction executed, an invoice paid, an item purchased, a contract signed. And, unfortunately, it’s also marked by systems of record (in the form of software) that generally have made the procurement process overly complex and unpleasant to navigate from a user’s perspective.




Some leading procurement organizations are making strides to use technologies to dig deeper to get much more contextual information about what happened and why. Such information is critical: It’s foundational to building AI-enabled predictive models that help improve future decision making.


Within the next two to four years we’ll see the emergence of Next Generation Digital Procurement. That’s when procurement and the business will operate and interact with information outside their own data ecosystem, and intelligent capabilities will go beyond simply executing transactions to actually guiding (and in some cases, making) business decisions.


Chris Banschbach is Procurement Business Services Technology Lead. Kristin Ruehle is Managing Director, Procurement Business Process Outsourcing. Alison Detwiler is Global Data Management and Analytics Lead. Tom Fahey is Business and Technology Innovation Principal Director.

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