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Next-Gen Procurement: Changing priorities, time for CPOs to evolve to Chief Cognitive Procurement Officers

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Procurement as a function has come a long way from being seen as a cost-reduction-centric support function to securing a place in boardroom discussions.

Let us begin with an analogy from television crime thrillers. Many of our favorite characters in this genre might have solved crime relying on their “gut-feeling”, “a-hunch” or their brilliant instincts but we all experience that “a-ha” moment at the end when the hypothesis of the protagonist gets supported by evidence and hard facts!

Once upon a time, a Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) may have been able to make decisions by relying on his instinct, which is simply based on years of distilled experience. But today, in the age of big data, analytics, and AI, CPOs need to evolve to Chief Cognitive Procurement Officers with decisions being data driven and fact based.

Zycus in partnership with Procurious recently concluded an exclusive virtual CPO Round table: Unlocking Growth Amidst Uncertainty for the UK region. We had senior procurement leaders across industry verticals sharing their insights, learnings and challenges. The esteemed speakers in the event included Luke Elliott, Head of Commercial, UK, Amazon Business, Veronika Strausova, Associate Partner, IBM and Tania Seary, Founder, Procurious.

Below are some of the highlights of the round table discussion with senior procurement leaders from the UK over a 3-hour period.

Luke Elliott discussed the dramatic shift in Procurement landscape and how Digital Procurement can help leaders stay resilient in the face of current challenges with respect to price inflation being at a 40-year high and disruptive supply chains leading to stock issues. Data-driven procurement can help leaders keep up pace with the much-needed agility. Digital Procurement is accelerating post pandemic and there is a massive shift to ecommerce marketplace in the B2B space. 96% of the leaders believe that this a long-term trend. Below are the primary takeaways from his session on AI-driven Procurement:

  • Control of business tail spend (20% of supply base drives 80% of volumes), thus consolidation of supplier partners is the way forward
  • Cost reduction and optimizing supply chain remain key goals for supply chain leaders.

During the fireside chat session with Gareth Adams, Zycus, Veronika shared her vast implementation experience and interesting customer stories. She shared her real-life experience of how procurement and supply chain across industries are driving core business strategies. She also discussed the key pain points that procurement leaders are facing with legacy systems and the need for seamless integration. She indicated from her day-to-day interactions with senior procurement leaders that the value and benefits of AI-driven procurement are finally getting realized. She mentioned that from her experience of working with global clients, there are 2 major focus areas for every implementation: a) eliminating non-value adding activities and b) building a sustainable business.

Gareth Adams, Regional Sales Director, Zycus discussed the key procurement trends for 2023 – Risk Management, Sustainability and responsible sourcing and accelerated pace of Digital Procurement. He then went on to elaborate the agenda for Chief Cognitive Procurement Officer and how procurement as a function can become a sustainable profit driver for the enterprise.

The event included an interactive Group Discussion on the topic: Next-Gen Procurement: Driving Value with Risk Management, Customer Centricity and Sustainability. Thought leaders from firms like Imperial Group, Jaguar Land Rover and Deutsche bank participated and shared their views.

Following are the highlights from the group discussion session:

  • Data is a great tool and procurement is on its journey to leverage data for driving value
  • Procurement needs to be forward-looking and start adopting new technologies/software products
  • The time is right for procurement professionals to grow by contributing to all the vital objectives, such as risk management, sustainability and tech-driven innovation
  • It is a key imperative for enterprises to measure effectiveness of good risk management

The event ended with a much-awaited business leadership session by Shane Hatton: Communicating in the moments that matter. He illustrated how Communication is not just a “helpful skill”, it is a leadership imperative and hallmark of the best leaders. He demonstrated how to communicate a message that not only engages and inspires, but also one that mobilizes and compels people to act. The session was extremely engaging, and it was a true demonstration of how to become a trusted and credible leadership voice that can accelerate change and secure buy-in.

To read more such insights on how to Unlock growth amidst Uncertainty and find ways to implement them, please visit “Procurement’s Guide to Unlock Growth Amidst Uncertainty” or simply click on any of the links on the left to learn more about trends in Procurement and Supply Chain Management. And if your organization is not yet using next-generation procurement tech, now is the time to initiate a transition, so why not Request a Demo today?

Related Read:

  1. Blog – Challenges of Conversational AI in Procurement And How CPOs Can Overcome Them
  2. Blog – 5 Big Ideas for CPOs in Europe to Develop Procurement Strategies for 2023
  3. Blog – CPO’s Approach to Manage Meetings – Make the Team don 6 Thinking Hats
  4. Zycus Procure to Pay Software
  5. Research Report – CPO Game Changer Series Volume 1: Early Engagement
  6. eBook – Demystifying Cognitive Procurement-Why it should matter to the CPOs
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Zycus is a leader in Cognititive Procurement. A leading SaaS platform used by many large enterprises across the globe for enabling efficiency and effectiveness of the procurement function.

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