If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
We are just about at the end of the year and readying ourselves to make predictions for the new decade, but before I start to do that, I thought we should look at what's been happening in procurement, supply chain, and how the IoT (Internet of Things) is making an impact on business processes. This past weekend was pretty remarkable for the retail industry. Black Friday sales topped a whopping, $7.4 billion. It's not surprising almost $3 billion of those sales were conducted digitally using a computers, tablets, and smartphones. So just how important is technology in this race to capture consumers and businesses?
In a world awash with a seemingly never-ending list of technology buzzwords such as automation, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to name a few, AI is one such technology that is moving away from simple hype and stepping closer to reality in procurement. This featured in the August issue of CPOstrategy – read now! Procurement, by its very nature, is tasked with handling huge quantities of spend and with spend comes spend data. Often described by leading CPOs as a repetitive task, understanding and sorting that spend data is now being achieved through the implementation of AI. Through the use of AI, procurement teams can remove human error, increase efficiency and realise greater value from spend data.
There are multiple claims about the potential of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled systems to boost or even transform defence capabilities. Trevor Taylor explores how the effective acquisition of such systems presents major challenges to governmental defence to act as an intelligent customer and to review the balance of capability generation responsibilities between government and private sector bodies. He also shows that the first step is to recognise how AI procurement does not fit in easily with established procurement elements, including requirements specification, competitive modes of procurement, speed of decision-making and test and acceptance arrangements.
It turns out that we might be at the perfect storm where how we store and access financial information combined with the maturation of tech capabilities are all in place to accelerate the digital transformation of accounting and finance. Just as others who faced the prospect of machines taking over jobs that used to be done by humans, accounting and finance professionals might anticipate the reality of 4th Industrial Revolution with fear. Actually, when machines take over repetitive, time-consuming and redundant tasks, it will free human finance professionals to do higher level and more lucrative analysis and counseling for their clients. Let's take a look at just of the few opportunities that are now available thanks to the digital transformation of accounting and finance. According to consulting firm Accenture, "automation, minibots, machine learning and adaptive intelligence are becoming part of the finance team at lightning speed."
Working in partnership with the Scottish Government (SG) and with the assistance of the broader public sector and innovation community, Scottish Enterprise (SE) wishes to procure R&D services to create new products and services that will help in the Government's efforts to address the Climate Emergency. In doing so, we are specifically looking for solutions that exploit Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to deliver these solutions. This builds upon the proposition that Scotland has excellent capabilities in the application of AI. Working in partnership with the Scottish Government (SG) and with the assistance of the broader public sector and innovation community, Scottish Enterprise (SE) wishes to procure R&D services to create new products and services that will help in the Government's efforts to address the Climate Emergency. In doing so, we are specifically looking for solutions that exploit Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to deliver these solutions.
Digital transformation is no longer a nice to have, it is the essential first step on a journey that may well ultimately embrace some, most or all of the following: big data, robotic process automation, blockchain, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality and 3D printing. If this transformation is to deliver the expected return on investment, it is vital that procurement is at the heart of it. To make that happen, procurement and supply chain leaders must first confront some inconvenient truths. Read this Supply Management Insider report, in partnership with Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA), as we explore the path to a successful digital transformation.
According to a recent Gartner report, "Seventy-five percent of application software vendor CEOs who participated in Gartner's Tech and Service Provider CEO Survey indicated the intent to incorporate AI into their products by 2020". But with the excessive hype surrounding AI, how can procurement professionals separate fact from fiction to make smart investment decisions for the future? The Gartner report, "The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Procurement Software Applications," provides recommendations for procurement software providers on how to integrate AI-based solutions into their roadmaps in order to deliver tangible value for procurement. In our webinar, we'll show you how we believe these recommendations can be used to help you identify innovative solution partners that are focused on delivering value instead of buzzwords. In one hour, you'll learn: Artificial intelligence promises to revolutionize the world of procurement.
The Economic Action Plan (EAP) has set the direction for a broader and more balanced approach to economic development with a shift towards a focus on place and making communities stronger and more resilient. The EAP places a greater emphasis on tackling inequality and signals a shift to a'something for something' relationship with business. Promoting inclusive growth through a new focus on the foundational economy sits alongside the other three pillars of our Economic Contract; supporting business investment that future-proofs the economy through Calls to Action; a regional approach to investing in the skills people need to enter, remain and progress in work; and the infrastructure communities need to be connected and vibrant. The foundational economy approach offers the chance to reverse the deterioration of employment conditions, reduce the leakage of money from communities and address the environmental cost of extended supply chains.With join-up across portfolio responsibilities we are driving a greater synergy between the Valleys Taskforce, Better Jobs Closer to Home programmes and maximising the social value of procurement with what may be described as mainstream Government economic interventions. A Ministerial Advisory Board Task and Finish Group on the Foundational Economy has been established to provide advice to Welsh Ministers on current and future interventions and best practice; support wider engagement with stakeholders in the foundational economy; and promote join-up of relevant government and non-governmental initiatives.
For procurement in particular, AI's disruption presents a valuable opportunity. It's already making it easier to carry out the tedious processes that have historically made procurement a tactical, administrative entity. In a book AI in Procurement written with my co-author Sammeli Sammalkorpi, we are emphasizing that with time, AI should provide the function's most dynamic professionals with an opportunity to distinguish themselves as strategic, impactful, and altogether irreplaceable.
In Part 1 of a 3-part series, Marcell Vollmer, chief digital officer at SAP Ariba, shares his take on where digital procurement is headed. What is the role of e-procurement in B2B e-commerce and what is the role of the chief procurement officer? Vollmer: Procurement has earned an unfair reputation of being a complicated process, but let's break it down simply here. Procurement's role in B2B e-commerce is to streamline the purchasing process and ensure that businesses get the right goods and services that meet all of their specifications, from a corporate-approved vendor, for the right price. Call this the golden triangle of procurement.