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From big data and advanced analytics to robotic process automation and artificial intelligence – there’s a lot of buzz around them. But are they worth the hype? What real benefi ts can they provide for your procurement team? All these and more profound thoughts were a part of the recently held two-day CPO Forum in Mumbai on September 14-15, 2017 organized by Conference Asia. With Procurement 4.0 as the theme, the summit offered various paradigms of procurement in the digital age and how can companies align their operations with changing times…

Many CPOs who have already applied more well-established commercial and demand levers are convinced that big data and advanced analytics hold the key for future improvements in procurement performance. The conference further testified these very sentiments and dived deeper into the finer nuances of digital procurement. Here’s what our key speakers at the conference delved into and provided a way ahead for the procurement officers to prepare for the tech ride…

Krishan K Batra, President & CEO, Institute for Supply Management India (ISM)
MC Kumaralingam, Director – Global Procurement Centers, IBM India Pvt Ltd

Krishan K Batra, President & CEO, Institute for Supply Management India (ISM): By 2022, most of procurement & supply chain execution systems expenditure in large companies will be for cloud-based applications, while supply chain planning applications will remain on-premise, according to Gartner. Additionally, new technologies will appear such as Blockchain for Gross Weight Verifi cation, the IoT and advanced (predictive) analytics for condition analysis and prediction. Digital Transformation will become a key focus to capitalize on the available value of these technologies in the supply chain. In essence, digital technologies will help procurement increase collaboration, analytics, and engagement using a spectrum of tools along the entire procurement value chain, from planning and sourcing to contract negotiations, order delivery, payment, and supplier management.

Cdr Brahm Swaroop (In Veteran), Senior GM, Head – Purchase, TCS

Cdr Brahm Swaroop (In Veteran), Senior GM, Head – Purchase, TCS: Large number of manual processes were taking up the minds and attention of the leadership in the procurement industry. Procurement team is responsible for sourcing from subvendors, vendors and procuring assembly for delivery to customers. Since past one decade wherein gradually manual processes were getting automated but automation was not reaching the customers’ premises. It was just an internal function of an organization. It was then perceived by the management stalwarts and the IT industry that why can’t we cross these traditional organizational boundaries, merge them and go beyond. That’s how the digital revolution started happening. Today we have come a long way in the sense that the leadership and the top management of organizations have got end-to-end visibility of processes on all the inputs that are coming to the organization whether material and power, efforts at what cost, quantity and time, how are they being processed, who are the process managers, at what levels of processing are these subject to and what will be the delivery, when will it get into an output stage and reach the customers’ premise. So, this entire IoT model is nothing but procurement which is transitioning into a digital space. The digital procurement is the efficient way of streamlining the entire supply chain and enhance visibility & transparency.

MC Kumaralingam, Director – Global Procurement Centers, IBM India Pvt Ltd: Procurement is rapidly evolving worldwide. In the past, procurement was viewed as back office function which over time transformed into a service provider. In future, procurement will be viewed as value creators which is a significant shift for the procurement fraternity. As we head into the digital era, procurement is very well positioned as we have access to wealth of data – historic purchase orders, invoices, supplier details, market intelligence, etc., analyzing this data, making meaningful insights from the trends will clearly differentiate procurement. The digital tools will not only aid procurement professionals to take informed fact based decisions but is also expected to take procurement outcomes to new level of excellence.

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