Analytics: The New Frontier in Procurement

Every area of the manufacturing landscape is being altered by startups, and procurement is no exception. Establishing long-term collaborations with these young and developing businesses and learning to collaborate with them in a flexible and practical way will help incumbents realise the promise of these lean enterprises.

Startups have evolved into effective drivers of innovation and digitization in less than five years. These innovators have caused a wave of disruption that has impacted almost every industry, and many established businesses have undertaken initiatives incorporating them. However, businesses that are addressing the requirements of particular business processes, such as procurement, have not received much attention. While incumbents have every right to be concerned about disruptors that pose a threat to their sector, they should view the rise in the number of procurement startups as a chance to add value. Identifying the most promising solutions to crucial operational difficulties and enhancing the procurement function are the main duties of procurement leaders inside incumbent companies. By doing this, they strengthen their position as business partners while providing the organisation with value that goes beyond simple cost savings.

The majority of the disruptors (a total of 356 startups, or US$1.9 billion in funding) provide procurement solutions. These solutions range from companies that handle the entire source-to-pay process to those that only concentrate on particular steps of the procurement value chain, like supplier scouting, tender management, or payment. By strengthening their businesses' collaboration capabilities and user experience, innovators founded in recent years have increased competition.

The most recent businesses provide cutting-edge solutions utilising blockchain, big data, and machine learning technology. Dozens of new companies in Europe, the US, and Asia are developing artificial intelligence (AI) platforms that can automatically clean and classify structured and unstructured procurement data from numerous sources and in a variety of formats, giving clients a thorough and consolidated view of their overall procurement expenditure as well as a real-time snapshot of how it is changing.