Procurement execs see 'inertia,' legacy systems as roadblocks: survey
- A survey of chief procurement officers (CPOs) conducted by Amazon Business and WBR Insights found 50% of respondents consider their digital transformation complete or nearly complete, while 34% are still in the midst of sourcing and integrating the right tools.
- The top three roadblocks to digital transformation identified were difficulty integrating new technology into a legacy environment; lack of urgency; and budget. Enterprises face "significant inertia" in accelerating digital transformations, according to the study.
- Top technologies that procurement organizations are learning more about include robotic process automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain. A majority of companies already have in place spend management technology, including analytics and IT asset management.
The role of the CPO has transformed from cost control to a strategic business partner in unlocking value across the organization through digital transformation, according to the study, which was collected from 30 CPOs who each oversee the management of more $1 billion in annual spending.
The study defined digital transformation as a move away from data silos toward adoption of the cloud, as well as increased automation and introducing AI to streamline tactical work. The goal is to deliver continuity of information across solutions as well as generating analytical insights for a complete picture of the end-to-end sourcing process.
A majority of the respondents already have implemented established procurement tools, including source to contract (64%), procure to pay (78%), contingent labor management system (78%), spend analytics (78%) and IT asset management (68%).
Blockchain leads the list of technologies companies are learning more about, with 46% investigating it currently, 17% having it in place and 12% planning on implementing it in the next 12 months.
Procurement officers may face challenges in creating buy-in for transformational technologies, especially those that don't contribute directly to cost reduction. Instead, CPOs should communicate the overall value from integrating new technologies, such as time savings, risk mitigation and generating strategic insights, the study recommends.
The study’s respondents were primarily from industries including commercial (17%), pharmaceutical (14%), telecom (10%). Other sectors represented in this study include manufacturing, hospitality, government and retail. Study participants attended ProcureCon events and volunteered to participate in the study.