Sara Malconian, Chief Procurement Officer at Harvard University & Jim Bureau, CEO of JAGGAER explain how ESG & the Circular Economy is changing the evolution of procurement.

We speak to Sara Malconian, Chief Procurement Officer at Harvard University and Jim Bureau, CEO of JAGGAER to see how ESG and the Circular Economy is changing the evolution of procurement…

Sara, how have you seen your role evolve as a procurement leader over the years as ESG and supplier diversity come into focus? 

Procurement leaders have gone from ‘cost cutters’ to ‘problem solvers’ within their organisations. Our core mandates used to be to drive cost savings and efficiency. We were hyper-focused on getting the most out of the organisation’s spend and supplier relationships. Those priorities haven’t gone away, especially in today’s inflationary environment, but the expectations of the procurement function are significantly higher and broader today. 

Procurement functions saved their companies during COVID and the confluence of disruptions that followed. We showed we are a strategic linchpin. We are now looked upon to drive value and impact and strategically guide our organisations to achieve broader goals, including diversity and environmental, social, governance (ESG). Internal stakeholders realised the benefits of procurement and sought help with advancing their department’s agendas or solving their challenges. We listen to their needs, allocate the right resources, and ultimately enable them and the overall organisation to be successful.  

I’ve been in procurement for over 20 years, and I can honestly say you’d be hard-pressed to find a more rewarding and exciting career. Procurement professionals have a real opportunity to make a tangible difference within their organisations, communities, and the world through the way we source products and services. 

What is Harvard doing to have a positive impact on society? Can you share some examples, Sara?

Across the Harvard community, students, alumni, faculty, and staff are advancing scholarship and teaching on the world’s most significant challenges, and everyone wants to do their part to address inequities. Supplier diversity and inclusion have been a priority for Harvard for years, but we wanted to make even more of an impact and really invest in the growth and development of diverse businesses, especially as the pandemic highlighted inequities and disparities within our communities.

In 2021, we formed the Office for Economic Inclusion & Diversity (OEID), which is dedicated to reaching out to diverse suppliers, giving them opportunities, and providing them with tools, training, and resources to be successful. The office also encourages the use of underrepresented business enterprises (UBEs) in the purchasing of all goods, services, and construction at Harvard and standardises procurement practices with these businesses across the university. 

We’re proud of the work this office is doing. We’re actively training suppliers on Harvard’s policies and how they can work with us. We’re creating a central location for them to access bid and RFP opportunities. UBEs can also apply to be mentored by Harvard Business School students.

We’ve created a dashboard to track and analyse spend with diverse suppliers across all of Harvard’s schools and measure progress over time. Everything we’re doing is aimed at increasing spend with our existing diverse suppliers, as well as the number of diverse suppliers that work with Harvard, and helping these suppliers grow their businesses.

Jim, why is prioritizing ESG and supplier diversity important and what steps can companies take today to progress in their journey? 

Beyond being the right thing to do, investors, boards, regulators, customers, and employees now expect organisations to prioritise ESG and diversity initiatives and walk the talk. There’s also a clear business impact. Supplier diversity drives competitive bidding processes that lead to cost savings. Working with partners who are sustainable and have different ideas and perspectives fuels innovation and creates a competitive advantage. Sourcing from a sustainable and diverse supplier pool also reduces risk by broadening organisations’ access to multiple resources for various materials, products, and services. 

One of the most critical steps companies can take to progress on their ESG journey is to make it clear to suppliers that environmentalism is a priority for their organisation. They will attract suppliers with higher levels of ESG maturity and provide suppliers who are earlier on in their ESG journey with sustainability toolkits and training to help educate them on eco-friendly best practices and sustainability innovations.

This step avoids having to overhaul their supply chain to account for ESG. Strategically managing suppliers by leveraging third-party data, scorecards, and supplier audits are crucial for understanding the ESG risks that suppliers pose and minimizing disruptions by working with them to correct these issues. 

Successful supplier diversity programs start with a top-down culture shift. If a company’s culture isn’t diverse, inclusive, and supportive for all its stakeholders, they won’t be able to drive supplier diversity in a meaningful way. Supplier diversity strategy should map back to company goals and include an executive-level champion to sponsor the program internally and help bring in the resources they need.

Outside of leveraging technology to identify diverse suppliers and build a program, businesses can talk with people who have been in their shoes. They can collaborate with like-minded companies at industry events, engage in relevant LinkedIn groups, and connect with organisations such as the National Minority Supplier Development Council.

Once diverse suppliers are on board, organisations can create a supplier diversity policy that clearly outlines how many diverse suppliers need to be invited to bid for each event to ensure teams are executing on the strategy. Leading supplier diversity programs go beyond simply spending with diverse suppliers to providing mentorship and training them on how to respond to RFPs correctly, as well as creating environments where it’s easier for them to engage. 

Jim, what role does technology play in helping organisations achieve ESG and supplier diversity goals?

Technology is a key enabler of ESG and supplier diversity initiatives. One of the biggest obstacles to supplier diversity and ESG is a lack of reliable supplier data. Suppliers don’t always keep their information up to date in self-service portals. The data procurement teams have isn’t always enriched to the level they need, with insights on diversity status, certifications, and proof of ESG compliance.

Researching and assessing suppliers is tedious and time-consuming, which leads many organisations to skip the verification step. Without this information, organisations don’t have a true picture of the inclusivity and sustainability of their supplier network, which makes it impossible to identify the right partners to source from to meet their ESG and supplier diversity goals and make an impact.

Technology addresses this challenge by automatically collecting, enriching, validating, and integrating the supplier data needed to obtain this level of supply base visibility and make decisions that drive ESG and diversity. AI-powered tools are available to match buyers with specific diverse suppliers who also have the capabilities to help drive ESG objectives and meet broader procurement criteria.

Software that segments the supply base and helps visualise spending with small and diverse suppliers across a variety of classifications is critical for setting benchmarks and measuring progress and ROI. 

Jim and Sara, how do you expect the ESG and diversity conversation to shift and where should procurement leaders focus for the future?

Sara: I expect we’ll see the conversation shift to emphasise measurement. It’s not enough anymore to say you’re committed to ESG – you need to prove it and show demonstrable progress and ROI. Maintaining the momentum on ESG initiatives is hard. Technology is key for setting benchmarks and goals, ensuring accountability for hitting key milestones, and measuring progress and return in a credible way. 

Jim: In a declining economic environment, choices inevitably need to be made. I expect the conversation around ESG will center around where companies can focus to maintain progress on ESG initiatives as financial and economic pressures come to the forefront. While some companies may need to scale back in some areas to preserve cash and resources to navigate a downturn, I’d advise them to be careful about slowing ESG down too much as it will be much harder to catch up to current levels after the economy bounces back.

I’d argue that when ESG is done right it can be a strategic lever for navigating a down economy, saving organizations money and resources, driving innovation, and helping them achieve broader business objectives and resilience. 

Expert analysis of the tech trends set to make waves this year

Digital transformation is a continuing journey of change with no set final destination. This makes predicting tomorrow a challenge when no one has a crystal ball to hand.

After a difficult few years for most businesses following a disruptive pandemic and now battling a cost-of-living crisis, many enterprises are increasingly leveraging new types of technology to gain an edge in a disruptive world. 

With this in mind, here are what experts predict for the next 12 months…

1. Process Mining

Sam Attias, Director of Product Marketing at Celonis

Sam Attias, Director of Product Marketing at Celonis, expects to see a rise in the adoption of process mining as it evolves to incorporate automation capabilities. He says process mining has traditionally been “a data science done in isolation” which helps companies identify hidden inefficiencies by extracting data and visually representing it.

“It is now evolving to become more prescriptive than descriptive and will empower businesses to simulate new methods and processes in order to estimate success and error rates, as well as recommend actions before issues actually occur,” says Attias. “It will fix inefficiencies in real-time through automation and execution management.”

2. The evolution of social robots

Gabriel Aguiar Noury, Robotics Product Manager at Canonical

Gabriel Aguiar Noury, Robotics Product Manager at Canonical, anticipates social robots to return this year. After companies such as Sony introduced robots like Poiq, Aguiar Noury believes it “sets the stage” for a new wave of social robots. 

“Powered by natural language generation models like GPT-3, robots can create new dialogue systems,” he says. “This will improve the robot’s interactivity with humans, allowing robots to answer any question. 

3d rendering cute artificial intelligence robot with empty note

“Social robots will also build narratives and rich personalities, making interaction with users more meaningful. GPT-3 also powers Dall-E, an image generator. Combined, these types of technologies will enable robots not only to tell but show dynamic stories.”

3. The rebirth of new data-powered business applications

In today’s fast-moving world, technology doesn’t sleep. Through the help of experts, we’ve compiled a need-to-know list of 23 predictions for 2023

Christian Kleinerman, Senior Vice President of Product at Snowflake, says there is the beginning of a “renaissance” in software development. He believes developers will bring their applications to central combined sources of data instead of the “traditional approach” of copying data into applications. 

“Every single application category, whether it’s horizontal or specific to an industry vertical, will be reinvented by the emergence of new data-powered applications,” affirms Kleinerman. “This rise of data-powered applications will represent massive opportunities for all different types of developers, whether they’re working on a brand-new idea for an application and a business based on that app, or they’re looking for how to expand their existing software operations.”

4. Application development will become a two-way conversation

Adrien Treuille, Head of Streamlit at Snowflake

Adrien Treuille, Head of Streamlit at Snowflake, believes application development will become a two-way conversation between producers and consumers. It is his belief that the advent of easy-to-use low-code or no-code platforms are already “simplifying the building” and sharing of interactive applications for tech-savvy and business users. 

“Based on that foundation, the next emerging shift will be a blurring of the lines between two previously distinct roles — the application producer and the consumer of that software.”

He adds that application development will become a collaborative workflow where consumers can weigh in on the work producers are doing in real-time. “Taking this one step further, we’re heading towards a future where app development platforms have mechanisms to gather app requirements from consumers before the producer has even started creating that software.”

5. The Metaverse

Paul Hardy, EMEA Innovation Officer at ServiceNow

Paul Hardy, EMEA Innovation Officer at ServiceNow, says he expects business leaders to adopt technologies such as the metaverse in 2023. The aim of this is to help cultivate and maintain employee engagement as businesses continue working in hybrid environments, in an increasingly challenging macro environment.

“Given the current economic climate, adoption of the metaverse may be slow, but in the future, a network of 3D virtual worlds will be used to foster meaningful social connections, creating new experiences for employees and reinforcing positive culture within organisations,” he says. “Hybrid work has made employee engagement more challenging, as it can be difficult to communicate when employees are not together in the same room. 

“Leaders have begun to see the benefit of hosting traditional training and development sessions using VR and AI-enhanced coaching. In the next few years, we will see more workplaces go a step beyond this, for example, offering employees the chance to earn recognition in the form of tokens they can spend in the real or virtual world, gamifying the experience.”

6. The year of ESG?

Cathy Mauzaize, Vice President, EMEA South, at ServiceNow

Cathy Mauzaize, Vice President, EMEA South, at ServiceNow, believes 2023 could be the year that environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) is vital to every company’s strategy.

“Failure to engage appropriate investment in ESG strategies could plunge any organisation into a crisis,” she says. “Legislation must be respected and so must the expectations of employees, investors and your ecosystem of partners and customers.

“ESG is not just a tick box, one and done, it’s a new way of business that will see us through 2023 and beyond.”

7. Macro Trends and Redeploying Budgets for Efficiency

Ulrik Nehammer, President, EMEA at ServiceNow, says organisations are facing an incredibly complex and volatile macro environment. Nehammer explains as the world is gripped by soaring inflation, intelligent digital investments can be a huge deflationary force.

“Business leaders are already shifting investment focus to technologies that will deliver outcomes faster,” he says. “Going into 2023, technology will become increasingly central to business success – in fact, 95% of CEOs are already pursuing a digital-first strategy according to IDC’s CEO survey, as digital companies deliver revenue growth far faster than non-digital ones.”  

8. Organisations will have adopted a NaaS strategy

David Hughes, Aruba’s Chief Product and Technology Officer

David Hughes, Aruba’s Chief Product and Technology Officer, believes that by the end of 2023, 20% of organisations will have adopted a network-as-a-service (NaaS) strategy.

“With tightening economic conditions, IT requires flexibility in how network infrastructure is acquired, deployed, and operated to enable network teams to deliver business outcomes rather than just managing devices,” he says. “Migration to a NaaS framework enables IT to accelerate network modernisation yet stay within budget, IT resource, and schedule constraints. 

“In addition, adopting a NaaS strategy will help organisations meet sustainability objectives since leading NaaS suppliers have adopted carbon-neutral and recycling manufacturing strategies.”

9. Think like a seasonal business

According to Patrick Bossman, Product Manager at MariaDB corporation, he anticipates 2023 to be the year that the ability to “scale out on command” is going to be at the fore of companies’ thoughts.

“Organisations will need the infrastructure in place to grow on command and scale back once demand lowers,” he says. “The winners in 2023 will be those who understand that all business is seasonal, and all companies need to be ready for fluctuating demand.”

10. Digital platforms need to adapt to avoid falling victim to subscription fatigue

Demed L’Her, Chief Technology Officer at DigitalRoute

Demed L’Her, Chief Technology Officer at DigitalRoute, suggests what the subscription market is going to look like in 2023 and how businesses can avoid falling victim to ‘subscription fatigue’.  L’Her says there has been a significant drop in demand since the pandemic.

“Insider’s latest research shows that as of August, nearly a third (30%) of people reported cancelling an online subscription service in the past six months,” he reveals. “This is largely due to the rising cost of living experienced globally that is leaving households with reduced budgets for luxuries like digital subscriptions. Despite this, the subscription market is far from dead, with most people retaining some despite tightened budgets. 

“However, considering the ongoing economic challenges, businesses need to consider adapting if they are to be retained by customers in the long term. The key to this is ensuring that the product adds value to the life of the customer.”

11. Waking up to browser security 

Jonathan Lee, Senior Product Manager at Menlo Security

Jonathan Lee, Senior Product Manager at Menlo Security, points to the web browser being the biggest attack surface and suggests the industry is “waking up” to the fact of where people spend the most time.

“Vendors are now looking at ways to add security controls directly inside the browser,” explains Lee. “Traditionally, this was done either as a separate endpoint agent or at the network edge, using a firewall or secure web gateway. The big players, Google and Microsoft, are also in on the act, providing built-in controls inside Chrome and Edge to secure at a browser level rather than the network edge. 

“But browser attacks are increasing, with attackers exploiting new and old vulnerabilities, and developing new attack methods like HTML Smuggling. Remote browser isolation is becoming one of the key principles of Zero Trust security where no device or user – not even the browser – can be trusted.”

12. The year of quantum-readiness

Tim Callan, Chief Experience Officer at Sectigo

Tim Callan, Chief Experience Officer at Sectigo, predicts that 2023 will be the year of quantum-readiness. He believes that as a result of the standardisation of new quantum-safe algorithms expected to be in place by 2024, this year will be a year of action for government bodies, technology vendors, and enterprise IT leaders to prepare for the deployment.

“In 2022, the US National Institute of Standards and Technologies (NIST) selected a set of post-quantum algorithms for the industry to standardise on as we move toward our quantum-safe future,” says Callan.

“In 2023, standards bodies like the IETF and many others must work to incorporate these algorithms into their own guidelines to enable secure functional interoperability across broad sets of software, hardware, and digital services. Providers of these hardware, software, and service products must follow the relevant guidelines as they are developed and begin preparing their technology, manufacturing, delivery, and service models to accommodate updated standards and the new algorithms.” 

13. AI: fewer keywords, greater understanding

AI expert Dr Pieter Buteneers, Director of AI and Machine Learning at Sinch

AI expert Dr Pieter Buteneers, Director of AI and Machine Learning at Sinch, expects artificial intelligence to continue to transition away from keywords and move towards an increased level of understanding.

“Language-agnostic AI, already existent within certain AI and chatbot platforms, will understand hundreds of languages — and even interchange them within a single search or conversation — because it’s not learning language like you or I would,” he says. “This advanced AI instead focuses on meaning, and attaches code to words accordingly, so language is more of a finishing touch than the crux of a conversation or search query. 

“Language-agnostic AI will power stronger search results — both from external (the internet) and internal (a company database) sources — and less robotic chatbot conversations, enabling companies to lean on automation to reduce resources and strain on staff and truly trust their AI.”

14. Rise in digital twin technology in the enterprise

John Hill, CEO and Founder of Silico

John Hill, CEO and Founder of Silico, recognises the growing influence digital twin technology is having in the market. Hill predicts that in the next 20 years, there will be a digital twin of every complex enterprise in the world and anticipates the next generation of decision-makers will routinely use forward-looking simulations and scenario analytics to plan and optimise their business outcomes.

“Digital twin technology is one of the fastest-growing facets of industry 4.0 and while we’re still at the dawn of digital twin technology,” he explains. “Digital twins will have huge implications for unlocking our ability to plan and manage the complex organisations so crucial for our continued economic progress and underpin the next generation of Intelligent Enterprise Automation.”

15. Broader tech security

Tricentis CEO, Kevin Thompson

With an exponential amount of data at companies’ fingertips, Tricentis CEO, Kevin Thompson says the need for investment in secure solutions is paramount.

“The general public has become more aware of the access companies have to their personal data, leading to the impending end of third-party cookies, and other similar restrictions on data sharing,” he explains. “However, security issues still persist. The persisting influx of new data across channels and servers introduces greater risk of infiltration by bad actors, especially for enterprise software organisations that have applications in need of consistent testing and updates. The potential for damage increases as iterations are being made with the expanding attack surface. 

“Now, the reality is a matter of when, not if, your organisation will be the target of an attack. To combat this rising security concern, organisations will need to integrate security within the development process from the very beginning. Integrating security and compliance testing at the upfront will greatly reduce risk and prevent disruptions.”

16. Increased cyber resilience 

Michael Adams, CISO at Zoom

Michael Adams, CISO at Zoom, expects an increased focus on cyber resilience over the next 12 months. “While protecting organisations against cyber threats will always be a core focus area for security programs, we can expect an increased focus on cyber resilience, which expands beyond protection to include recovery and continuity in the event of a cyber incident,” explains Adams.

“It’s not only investing resources in protecting against cyber threats; it’s investing in the people, processes, and technology to mitigate impact and continue operations in the event of a cyber incident.” 

17. Ransomware threats

Michal Salat, Threat Intelligence Director at Avast

As data leaks become increasingly common place in the industry, companies face a very real threat of ransomware. Michal Salat, Threat Intelligence Director at Avast, believes the time is now for businesses to protect themselves or face recovery fees costing millions of dollars.

“Ransomware attacks themselves are already an individual’s and businesses’ nightmare. This year, we saw cybergangs threatening to publicly publish their targets’ data if a ransom isn’t paid, and we expect this trend to only grow in 2023,” says Salat. “This puts people’s personal memories at risk and poses a double risk for businesses. Both the loss of sensitive files, plus a data breach, can have severe consequences for their business and reputation.”

18. Intensified supply chain attacks 

Dirk Schrader, VP of security research at Netwrix

Dirk Schrader, VP of security research at Netwrix, believes supply chain attacks are set to increase in the coming year. “Modern organisations rely on complex supply chains, including small and medium businesses (SMBs) and managed service providers (MSPs),” he says.

“Adversaries will increasingly target these suppliers rather than the larger enterprises knowing that they provide a path into multiple partners and customers. To address this threat, organisations of all sizes, while conducting a risk assessment, need to take into account the vulnerabilities of all third-party software or firmware.”

19. A greater need to manage volatility 

Paul Milloy, Business Consultant at Intradiem, stresses the importance of managing volatility in an ever-moving market. Milloy believes bosses can utilise data through automation to foresee potential problems before they become issues.

“No one likes surprises. Whilst Ben Franklin suggested nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes, businesses will want to automate as many of their processes as possible to help manage volatility in 2023,” he explains. “Data breeds intelligence, and intelligence breeds insight. Managers can use the data available from workforce automation tools to help them manage peaks and troughs better to avoid unexpected resource bottlenecks.”

20. A human AI co-pilot will still be needed

Artem Kroupenev, VP of Strategy at Augury, predicts that within the next few years, every profession will be enhanced with hybrid intelligence, and have an AI co-pilot which will operate alongside human workers to deliver more accurate and nuanced work at a much faster pace. 

“These co-pilots are already being deployed with clear use cases in mind to support specific roles and operational needs, like AI-driven solutions that enable reliability engineers to ensure production uptime, safety and sustainability through predictive maintenance,” he says. “However, in 2023, we will see these co-pilots become more accurate, more trusted and more ingrained across the enterprise. 

“Executives will better understand the value of AI co-pilots to make critical business decisions, and as a key competitive differentiator, and will drive faster implementation across their operations. The AI co-pilot technology will be more widespread next year, and trust and acceptance will increase as people see the benefits unfold.”

21. Building the right workplace culture

Harnessing a positive workplace culture is no easy task but in 2023 with remote and hybrid working now the norm, it brings with it new challenges. Tony McCandless, Chief Technology Officer at SS&C Blue Prism, is well aware of the role organisational culture can play in any digital transformation journey.

Workers are the heart of an organisation, so without their buy in, no digital transformation initiative stands a chance of success,” explains McCandless. “Workers drive home business objectives, and when it comes to digital transformation, they are the ones using, implementing, and sometimes building automations. Curiosity, innovation, and the willingness to take risks are essential ingredients to transformative digitalisation. 

“Businesses are increasingly recognising that their workers play an instrumental role in determining whether digitalisation initiatives are successful. Fostering the right work environment will be a key focus point for the year ahead – not only to cultivate buy-in but also to improve talent retention and acquisition, as labor supply issues are predicted to continue into 2023 and beyond.”

22. Cloud cover to soften recession concerns

Amid a cost-of-living crisis and concerns over any potential recession as a result, Daniel Thomasson, VP of Engineering and R&D at Keysight Technologies, says more companies will shift data intensive tasks to the cloud to reduce infrastructure and operational costs.

“Moving applications to the cloud will also help organisations deliver greater data-driven customer experiences,” he affirms. “For example, advanced simulation and test data management capabilities such as real-time feature extraction and encryption will enable use of a secure cloud-based data mesh that will accelerate and deepen customer insights through new algorithms operating on a richer data set. In the year ahead, expect the cloud to be a surprising boom for companies as they navigate economic uncertainty.”

23. IoT devices to scale globally

Dr Raullen Chai, CEO and Co-Founder of IoTeX, recognises a growing trend in the usage of IoT devices worldwide and believes connectivity will increase significantly. 

“For decades, Big Tech has monopolised user data, but with the advent of Web3, we will see more and more businesses and smart device makers beginning to integrate blockchain for device connectivity as it enables people to also monetise their data in many different ways, including in marketing data pools, medical research pools and more,” he explains. “We will see a growth in decentralised applications that allow users to earn a modest additional revenue from everyday activities, such as walking, sleeping, riding a bike or taking the bus instead of driving, or driving safely in exchange for rewards. 

“Living healthy lifestyles will also become more popular via decentralised applications for smart devices, especially smart watches and other health wearables.”

The Top Procurement Events for the first quarter of 2023.

Top Procurement Events for 2023

Hear from industry experts and keep up-to-date with the latest innovation in procurement by adding these upcoming, must visit, procurement events to your calendar in the first quarter of 2023.

ICSCM2023, 4th International Conference on Supply Chain Management

Macau, China | 13-15 January 2023

This academic conference – co-located with the International Conference on Computers in Management and Business – describes its main purpose as providing an international platform for presenting and publishing the latest scientific research outcomes on supply chain management. There will be opportunities for delegates to exchange new ideas, and to network with others, alongside the conference sessions. There is an optional tour, still to be confirmed, on the third day of the event.

Keynote speakers include Fugee TSUNG, Professor, HKUST (Guangzhou), Hong Kong, and Kwong Meng Teo, Senior Scientist, Huawei Technologies, 2012 Research Labs, China.

8th Annual Strategic Sourcing & Procurement MENA Summit

Dubai, UAE 24-25 | January 2023

Another hybrid event, the Strategic Sourcing & Procurement MENA Summit will offer delegates information on addressing current procurement challenges, focusing on areas such as category management, cost optimisation and risk mitigation. There will be case studies and discussions on e-procurement, plus solutions-based sessions on leadership in procurement.

Speakers will include experts from leading banks, telecoms, airlines, hotels, retailers, and other cross-industry companies, such as Emmanuel Augustin, Vice President Supply Chain Management | CPO, Dubai Airports and Kazim Duman, Director of Procurement, Rixos Hotels.

The agenda will cover:

  • Building a Sustainable Future
  • Risk Mitigation and Management
  • Prioritizing ESG: Procurement’s Role in Standardizing Sustainability
  • Cost Reduction and Value Generation
  • Talent Development and Acquisition Role in Strategic Sourcing and Procurement
  • From Good to Great in Digital Transformation
  • Leadership in Procurement Management
  • The Future of the Strategic Sourcing and Procurement

Procurement Futures London

UK | 1-2 February 2023

Held at the QEII Centre in central London, Procurement Futures is a new conference, launching in 2023. It promises delegates the chance to find out how to make supply chains more resilient, with thought-provoking and presentations and discussions designed to inform and inspire.

There is a flexible programme of content that can be tailored to attendees’ preferences, with networking opportunities throughout and a huge variety of sessions to attend and take part in. This CIPS event has three streams of content: Insights, Ignite and Interact. Insights will showcase presentations and panel discussions from leaders, Ignite will consist of hands-on workshops to help delegates optimise their procurement strategies and Interact will be smaller groups taking part in interactive roundtables and debates.

Speakers across the two days will include Ross Grierson, Director of Procurement, Primark; Patrick Dunne, Director of Group Property, FM & Procurement (CPO), Sainsburys Plc; Rebecca Simpson, Procurement and Supply Chain Director, Balfour Beatty; and Nick Jenkinson, Chief Procurement Officer, Santander.

In addition, delegates are able to book a one-to-one career workshop, where they’ll get advice on professional development from coaches covering a variety of specialisms.

3rd World Digital Procurement Summit

Berlin, Germany | 2-3 March 2023

The third World Digital Procurement Summit is aimed at procurement directors, VPs, managers and other industry specialists. The two-day event will focus on accelerating procurement processes, adopting emerging technologies, finding the right talent, overcoming the barriers to progress and embarking on a journey of transformation. It’s a hybrid event, bringing together procurement experts from various industries, which will maximise knowledge exchange opportunities. The event organisers list five key learning points for delegates:

  1. Exploring the latest advances in data and cognitive technologies to gain greater insights and improve procurement processes
  2. Overhauling the procurement ecosystem with new technologies and strategies to drive business value
  3. Sharing the best practices of monitoring and managing a range of risks to hedge against future disruptions
  4. Developing capabilities and skillsets required for the digital transformation of procurement
  5. Defining ESG metrics of the procurement strategy to ensure business continuity

Speakers will include Paul Harlington, Group Procurement Director at TUI Group and Patrick Foelck, Head of Strategy and Transformation Procurement at Roche.

Women in Procurement & Supply Chain

Sydney, Australia | 6-8 March 2023

Returning for its 8th annual event, Women in Procurement & Supply Chain will deliver two days dedicated to leadership and the future of procurement. The event will feature a series of exclusive panel discussions and keynote addresses examining career development, overcoming imposter syndrome, working with confidence, developing an unbeatable talent pool, mentoring, diversity and inclusivity. It will also address risk mitigation, digital disruption, ESG, sustainability, economic development, ethical sourcing, category management, cultural diversity, strategic sourcing, supplier relationships, procurement with purpose, and supply chain resilience. There are two pre-conference masterclass options on 6 March – that can be booked separately – covering either contract law or leadership skills.

Some of the reasons to attend include:

  • Discover the path to taking your procurement career to a new level while elevating your organisation with dedicated days on leadership and the future of procurement
  • Learn best practice strategies to facedown supply chain vulnerabilities and reduce risk exposure
  • Get ahead of the game with insights into the future of procurement and the impact of globalisation on modern supply chains
  • Put yourself at the cutting edge of ESG and procurement with the latest updates and trends in procurement with purpose

Speakers for the main two-day conference include Michelle Richard, Director of Procurement, Thales; Karina Davies, Chief Procurement Officer, icare NSW; and Kylie McKinlay, Procurement Partner – Property and Business, Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Americas Procurement Congress

Miami, USA | 21-22 March 2023

With a focus on what makes CPOs tick, the Americas Procurement Congress will feature the region’s most progressive CPOs sharing their expertise in keynote presentations and working groups. Giving delegates the tools to stay on the cutting edge of procurement developments, there are also sessions aimed at those with responsibilities over governance, procurement capabilities and quantifying data. Unsurprisingly, sustainability will also be a key theme in 2023, and attendees will hear from a diverse range of sustainability leaders about how to transition from traditional metrics to a purpose-driven function.

The agenda for Americas Procurement Congress 2023 will include:

  • Sustainability of the future
  • How to transition from traditional metrics to a purpose-driven function
  • Harnessing the power of digital transformation
  • Utilizing data as a driver of sustainable value, supply continuity and transparency
  • Agile procurement
  • New approaches and skills that facilitate speed and agility
  • Frictionless procurement
  • Removing friction from the procurement process to support high-velocity sourcing
  • Beyond Just in Time
  • Designing future-fit supply networks for an age of chaos and conflict

Explore the top procurement trends in 2022 in detail.

The pace of evolution of the procuretech ecosystem continues to inspire the industry and we have seen digital procurement leaders rise in challenging times. So, what were the top procurement trends in 2022?

Last year’s ProcureTech100 cohort has outperformed their peers with over 40% growing exponentially, introducing new innovation, new partnerships and alliances. The 2022 ProcureTech100 cohort continue this drive with the most significant growth rate compared to their peers being in companies under 100 employees in size. Over 60% of the digital procurement ecosystem is made up of companies with under 50 employees with there being a clear step up required to building teams with over 50 employees. This correlates with the level and pace of funding within procuretech too and the step up to Series A.

Sign-up now to receive the FREE 2022 Yearbook, full of more useful insights.

Agility, decision making, risk and collaboration drive the digitisation of procurement

65% of companies see digitalisation as being important to achieve their company and procurement objectives.

The key drivers for this digitalisation are process agility and decision making (79%), transparency, compliance and risk (78%), and supplier or partner collaboration (70%).  Leaders see optimising cost and cash flow as well as improving compliance and risk as key drivers to digitalise, priorities that mirror the current 2022 global challenges.

Whilst we are living in post pandemic times and in the middle of supply chain shortages,  digitalisation to help secure supply, is not seen as significant driver. Immediate issues have been addressed through the application of corporate and supplier talent. We would anticipate that this will change in the next 12-18  months through the introduction of new digital solutions to help solve these issues.

For large companies, with over 5,000 people, the digital drivers are focused on increased decision agility and risk compliance, whereas for smaller companies, less than 200 people, the drivers were stronger supplier or partner collaboration and improved transparency.

Driving revenue growth and optimising product/service demand were also evaluated as relatively low reasons to digitise. For future leaders addressing demand management will increase the importance of optimising product or services demand through greater access to data and application of digitalisation.

1 – New digital procurement categories and capabilities are emerging

As procurement’s scope continues to expand both across the company and through the supply chain, the great ‘unbundling’ of procurement continues too. This unbundling is characterised by the application of digital to either existing or new capabilities and skills. As a result we have seen the rapid emergence of point solutions to digitalise these areas from Candex for tail spend transactions to Scoutbee for supplier discovery. Their success is driven through the simplicity of the user experience which is enabled by advanced technology (which the user never sees). The application of point solutions extends to enablement through data too, for example Keelvar’s sourcing optimisation solution uses ocean and air freight benchmarking and market analytics from Xeneta, and Lytica is a standalone solution for electronic component spend analytics and risk intelligence enabled by real customer data.

The unbundling and digitalisation continues into existing and new categories too, with many new category specific solutions evolving. As companies digitalise their buying and supply channels it is possible to apply point solutions (if the volumetrics work) to most categories. Globality’s approach to services shifts the whole delivery model addressing both capacity and capability constraints. Niche solutions like Lightyear for Telecoms procurement and Zluri for SaaS procurement go deep within subcategories, often combining software with services to provide a point of differentiation and extending from the buying to management of solutions too.

“ We have spent the last decade creating toy boxes, now we have to create toolboxes that have the process, skills and culture integrated. My favourite tool box is for adoption.” Amanda Davies, Mars

2 – From interface to database

Traditionally, there is much focus by procurement on the ‘app layer’ that delivers the end to end capability. It is essential for procurement to be aligned with corporate digital and IT teams to design and deliver the whole procuretech stack. At the top of the stack the ‘interface’ and starting point of the user journey for buyers, suppliers, business users, chat bots and functional experts should be defined. Beyond a simple portal, Kore.  ai can provide this conversational interface as a multichannel interface into procurement.

Often this also integrates your procurement process orchestration and intelligence layers which are either embedded or connected to your app layer. There are significant improvements in user experience through the deployment of tools like ZIP and UIPath which provide this orchestration and have established integration.

The ‘middleware’ layer that connects apps including your ERP system to data can be provided by solutions like HICX, apexanalytics and Oro. Into this advanced companies are augmenting their data layer and foundation with AI and ML from solutions like Creactives and TealBook

Get started defining your procuretech stack and fungible data fabric!

3 – Best of All ecosystem of solutions

Fact: There is no equivalent of ERP for all of procurement. There is no equivalent of PLM for procurement.

As procurement’s role has expanded so have our digital and data needs. Each and every procurement team has an accountability to define their own digital procurement operating platform. This platform should consider ALL solutions, from the capabilities provided by traditional ERP and finance solutions to the latest process workflow, apps and data solutions. From this your own ‘Best of All’ solutions ecosystem will emerge.

This trend is happening across procurement and also within individual capabilities with procurement too. Especially those areas with multiple user journeys and many data feeds. This is creating ‘micro’ platforms.

“There is no one-stop shop to cover risk management end-to-end, we will likely require an ecosystem within an ecosystem, including one for risk apps within the broader digital ecosystem. The market is moving away from one solution does it all to ecosystem suites with central management and focussed solutions for specialist areas such as: Supply Chain Visibility, Mapping or Traceability; Cyber; Finance Etc. This is reflected in the spread of different solutions here across the ProcureTech100. The ‘winners’ will likely be the ones who best integrate in this ecosystem, and also transparently with ESG, ERP and other ProcureTech areas.” Tim Perry-Ogden

4 – Digital supply and demand more in balance

Over the last 10 years the supply of digital procurement solutions has rapidly increased. If you had asked for a blockchain solution to help with the provenance of goods 10 years ago you would not have been able to find a solution – now you can. For most of the current and new use cases you can now find the digital procurement solutions that you need. Moreover, in many areas there are now multiple digital procurement solutions providing companies with choices for their digital procurement operating platform. Where digital solutions don’t quite meet what you need then many digital solutions are prepared to flex their product roadmap to align with those needs.

Top 10 countires investing in procurement

Fuelled by investment

The venture investment into procuretech continues to grow, there are over 1,000 venture capitalists with single investments and increasing numbers of B2B investors that have multiple investments into procuretech.

Procurement teams are also clear on the investment required, the ROI and how quickly this needs to be achieved.

“We must go on this investment journey … we may need to tighten our belt in other areas but digitalisation is not one of them.” Marielle Beyer, Roche

📢 Sign-up for full access to the ProcureTech100 2022 Yearbook for the full report and more insightful articles!

The right time to digitalise the supply chain and reap the multiple benefits is now.

As the global components shortage continues to challenge businesses, the value of a digitalised supply chain becomes increasingly clear. As the return to normal supply levels is still some way off and the situation is not expected to recover until 2023, the time to digitalise the supply chain and reap the multiple benefits is now. Whereas once supply chain digitalisation provided a competitive edge, it has since become an industry standard required to keep pace in an evolving industry with unpredictable challenges. 

The benefits of digitalisation 

Make no mistake, digitalising a business’ supply chain is not an easy task and is by no means a quick fix. It takes extensive research and planning before any updates can be made and once the transformation is underway, businesses are constantly learning and improving their operations based on feedback and data collected. 

However, the business benefits of a digitalised supply chain validate the time and effort required to undergo a digital transformation of supply chain management. 

Improved accuracy and efficiency are two of the most impactful factors of supply chain digitalisation. With real-time tracking and the removal of human error through software-led processes, businesses gain complete transparency of operations at every stage of the supply chain. 

Software-led processes and the introduction of automation can also result in reduced processing time, greater operational productivity and maximised ROI. If the old saying rings true and ‘time is money’, then improved efficiency with greater accuracy can only be a good thing for business. 

Greater flexibility and agility in responding to change is another valuable benefit brought by a digitalised supply chain. As many businesses have already experienced, supply and demand fluctuations can be rapid and circumstances outside of a business’ control can also affect supply chain management. 

Though there will always be some element of the unexpected, technology such as automated stock management and predictive analytics support in the identification and handling of upcoming challenges. Armed with both big data and data specifics at a more granular level, businesses can make better-informed decisions, manage a crisis more effectively and identify areas of improvement and opportunity, at all times. 

Making it happen 

Every digital transformation requires a strategy and there are multiple achievements to celebrate on the way to reaching the end goal of holistic supply chain digitalisation. Identifying the areas which need priority attention will help structure your strategy. Your digitalisation plan should be a series of incremental improvements, as opposed to a sudden and radical change. 

Auditing your existing supply chain is a sensible starting point for discovering opportunities for improvement, establishing strengths and weaknesses, and honing in on risk factors and threats to your operations. 

Using the knowledge and expertise of IT professionals within your business and operations management staff who are familiar with the everyday running of each stage of the supply chain is the best way to gain a clear insight into which aspects of the chain are strong and which are letting you down. 

Your operation management team will also be the ones using your new digitalised supply chain so gaining their insight, expertise and buy-in from the start of the project is highly valuable for future success. 

Software Implementation  

Software is at the heart of supply chain digitalisation and businesses are spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting digital logistics and supply-chain-management software (SCMS) that can oversee transactions, manage relationships with suppliers and streamline your processes. 

There is a challenge however when it comes to deciding whether to build or buy your software solution.  

Though ready-made software is the quicker and more simple option, out-of-the-box solutions may not meet the exact needs of your business and customised plugins or add-ons may be required to tailor your solution exactly as you require. 

The alternative would be to build your own software in-house, which takes a huge chunk of existing resources, adding pressure to already busy teams. 

Arguably outsourcing a custom-built solution from a reputable partner, who fully understands your pain points, risk factors and overall transformation strategy is the best way to gain a tailor-made software solution whilst keeping everyday operations running smoothly.  

Harnessing the power of real-time data, automation and AI 

Real-time data should be gathered at numerous points in the supply chain and can be gathered through a range of methods. From IoT devices to Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and GPS, the data gathered by these technologies improves your supply chain connectivity at every step. 

This data also facilitates increased visibility, improved security, cost analysis insights and accountability. From production to distribution to retail, IoT, RFID and GPS provide efficiency, transparency and data-driven insights to help businesses maximize ROI and continue to improve operations. 

Automation and AI also support in the processing of payments, the rapid sharing of information, inventory updates, tracking information, omnichannel retail sales, email automation and setting new cost goals.

Although these technologies will never entirely replace the human touch, they can assist with repetitive, manual tasks and be the first point of contact for customers which can direct customers to the correct individual or department. 

SCMS systems can integrate real-time data, automation and AI into supply chains on each level, streamlining processes to be more efficient, making more accurate predictions and protecting a business should something unforeseeable occur. 

Realising Industry 4.0 

Ultimately, digitalising the supply chain, however, your business chooses to do so is the realisation of the Industry 4.0 vision which hinges on leveraging digital technology without siloed data, processes and systems. 

The pillars of Industry 4.0 namely IoT, big data and data analytics are the main aspects to be updated in any supply chain digitalisation and taking a comprehensive approach to digitalising the supply chain means data is no longer siloed and useless but is integrated into every business decision, under any circumstance. 

A supply chain digital twin is also a helpful tool which provides a detailed simulation of an actual supply chain using real-time data and snapshots to forecast supply chain dynamics. From this, businesses can understand their supply chain’s behaviour, predict abnormal situations, and work out an action plan. The most effective supply chain management sees digitalisation throughout and can also call upon the use of digital twins to simulate the supply chain and enable the whole ecosystem to enjoy the same level of visibility and forecasting to inform every stage of the supply chain. 

Though investment in time and money, the benefits of digitalisation are evident not only in reacting to unexpected challenges but also in the day-to-day running of a business which wants to keep pace and remain competitive in the digital age. 

Author: Rasheed Mohamad, Executive Vice President of Global Operations and Business Technology, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise 

The list of drivers to better understand global supply chains grows every day.

The list of drivers to better understand global supply chains grows every day. Motivations range from increasing operational efficiencies, the ability to better respond to supply chain shocks, managing potential reputational risks through the exposure of unexpected issues with suppliers, as well as preparing for the wave of in-coming supply chain legislation. 

So how can better quality supply chain data help with these challenges? 

At Open Supply Hub, we begin our work from a clear starting point: if there’s no shared understanding of where global facilities are located, there’s certainly no understanding of the environmental or social conditions at those facilities. Historically, supply chain data has been hidden behind a lock and key which has benefited very few. In addition to this, at even as basic a level as name and address information for global production facilities, the quality of data has been surprisingly poor. What this means is that bad practices can lurk in the shadows undetected – practices which contribute to some of the fundamental issues of our time, such as deforestation, child and forced labour and the impacts of climate change.  

To break it down, supply chains today have: 

  • Untrustworthy data: where data does exist, it’s riddled with errors and duplications and is not standardised. To put it bluntly: it’s a mess. 
  • Inaccessible information: as alluded to above, data is locked away in private databases, instead of being made available to all. This presents a huge hurdle to collaboration. 
  • Fee-based facility IDs: without freely available facility IDs, access to information is inequitable, which prevents truly seamless exchange between systems and stakeholders.  
  • Gaps in coverage: when data lives in silos like this, it creates difficulties in gaining a clear understanding of global supply chains. 

The key to addressing this is high-quality, open supply chain data. This term “open data” is a precise one, with a technical definition: according to the Open Knowledge Foundation, “Open data is data that can be freely used, shared and built on by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose”. There are two key elements to openness: 

  • Legal openness: you must be allowed to get the data legally, to build on it and to share it 
  • Technical openness: there should be no technical barriers to using that data. 

Through this seemingly simple mechanism of opening up supply chain data, many of the challenges described above are quickly addressed. Launching in late 2022, Open Supply Hub will be an accessible, collaborative, supply chain mapping platform, used and populated by stakeholders across sectors and supply chains.

It will provide: 

  • One common registry: cross-sector supply chain data collected in a single place, accessible to all. 
  • Reliable, current data: all data contributed to the platform will be cleaned and deduplicated by a matching algorithm, with each facility assigned an industry-standard ID. Continuously gathering and refreshing data from industry has the added benefit of keeping that data current which, in turn, leads to… 
  • Global collaboration: the user-generated dataset gives visibility into which organisations are connected to which facilities, accelerating collaboration. 

We know this approach works from our experience of building the Open Apparel Registry (OAR). One compelling example of how the dataset has been used to highlight risks to investors came in the immediate aftermath of global production reopening after the pandemic lockdowns.  

As India sought to re-open its economy and kickstart production, many labour laws were relaxed in the state of Uttar Pradesh, removing basic protections for workers relating to mandatory overtime, work breaks and more. Investors with holdings in major global fashion brands were able to run combination searches in the OAR to understand their exposure to risk in this area and adjust their investment strategies accordingly. Without access to this open data set, the ability to understand and divest from this investment risk would have been much more challenging during a time when global supply chains were in a constant state of flux. 

As we look ahead to the raft of in-coming supply chain disclosure legislation, uncertainty remains high about what exact format these various reporting requirements will take. However, one thing that will not change is that data format and standardisation will be key to ensuring that the data being gathered and shared is of practical use to create change. If data is locked away in PDFs, tables embedded in websites or scattered between disparate databases, it becomes totally impractical to work with. The power of a centralised, open data repository lies in making data comparable, actionable and usable. That’s where creating change begins. 

Author: Katie Shaw, Chief Programme Officer of Open Supply Hub 

Disruption and uncertainty mean a myriad challenges face organisations ad the weakest link in the supply chain can appear quickly and unexpectedly.

We live in unprecedented times and such disruption and uncertainty mean myriad challenges facing organisations. And the weakest link in the supply chain can appear quickly and unexpectedly.

Over the last two years, supply chain professionals have been hit by an unprecedented raft of disruptions. As we fast forward into the future, this trend shows no sign of abating. The chaos caused by the lockdown of the world’s busiest port – Shanghai – shows that the impact of COVID on global supply chains is far from a thing of the past. The Suez Canal blockage in March 2021 and the ongoing crisis in semiconductor availability are two other examples of how macroeconomic events can impact supply chains. Now, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions it has triggered, have caused further major global trade disruptions. High global fuel prices and accessibility of other components are also affecting production and transport in many industries. 

In Germany, Porsche, Volkswagen and BMW have all reduced output due to problems with the supply of wire harnesses from Ukraine, which are vital to the manufacture of cars. Russia is also an important source of many metals used in the aerospace industry and others in hi-tech and electronics. 

Given all this disruption, it is little surprise that the concept of VUCA – which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity – has rocketed up the agenda for businesses determined to ensure products arrive with customers in the right place at the right time.  

This is no trivial matter. The interruption of Ukrainian agricultural processes, for example, threatens the supply of wheat to several countries, and the production lines of many consumer goods companies. In extreme cases with political consequences. 

Planning and execution 

The myriad challenges facing organisations means that the weakest link in the supply chain can appear quickly and from unexpected areas. This gives organisations precious little time to pivot and build a blend of resilience and agility. It makes the need to shrink the time between planning and execution crucial as volatility continues, particularly in order to meet relentlessly high consumer expectations. 

This is where supporting technologies come into play. As they look to strengthen their supply chains and make them more resilient, businesses should consider solutions using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve forecasting. AI can look at patterns across huge datasets that go far beyond human capability to write intelligent algorithms or analytics. Organisations are then able to proactively identify gaps or issues with more accurate demand forecasts, sales orders, material, capacity, shipments, and other elements of supply; with automatic alerts for any exceptions. This can then augment human expertise to help plan for the unexpected. 

Organisations can go a stage further and better identify any weak or potentially weak links in supply by creating a digital twin of their end-to-end business flow. This is a virtual model that accurately represents the lifecycle of a physical supply chain using live and up-to-date data. Within a virtual environment where numerous scenarios and changes can be simulated without consequence, organisations are able to strengthen the physical supply chain’s agility and speed with tried and tested improvements. 

The supply chain links at greatest risk of disruption are not the only ones that should be considered potentially weak and in need of attention.

Linear supply chain models need to give way to circularity, which allows for waste reduction and reusing and recycling of resources.

Putting sustainability at the centre of supply chain planning and decision making will add further resilience across all links, but also reduce reliance on hard-to-access and more scarcely available raw materials. It is a complex issue. However, ensuring sustainable practices would provide the resilience needed to help navigate all the challenges past, present and future. 

Addressing weak spots 

Supply chains are today going through major transformational change, which has been driven by a range of external challenges and emerging trends. There’s little doubt that 2022 and the years beyond will bring further hurdles. Organisations need to take action now to be best prepared for the unexpected. Particularly when you consider the increasingly interconnected nature of 21st century supply chains.  

As circumstances change around organisations, they need to ensure that their supply chains continue to provide the goods and services to the end consumers that rely on them. Applying supporting technologies can enable them to shine a light on any weak spots and move quickly to rectify these, keeping the flow of products moving. Organisations can then ensure that every link is as strong as the other, future-proofing supply chain operations. 

For CEOs, the importance of supply chains to their business has never been clearer. They are a key engine to business, so it is critical that they remain well-funded and at the top of the business agenda. 

Author: Claire Rychlewski, SVP, EMEA, Kinaxis 

There is an urgent need for the digitalisation of the procurement function, according to a new report from leading smart sourcing solutions organisation Globality

There is an urgent need for the digitalisation of the procurement function, according to a new report from ProcureTech and leading smart sourcing solutions organisation Globality.

The report, which can be read in full here, states that 9/10 of global procurement leaders are committed to the urgent transformation of their operations and processes to become more resilient, agile and future-proofed in these uncertain and volatile times.

The report, which surveyed 170 global procurement leaders, claims that innovative and emerging technologies are being harnessed in order to better arm CPOs as they face global inflation, COVID-19 and geo-political crises such as the war in Ukraine.

Those surveyed also cited the growing need to fully digitalise operating processes in order to improve efficiency and boost cost reduction, while enhancing agility, resilience and value. 90% expected operational transformations within the next three years.

The report covers:

  • Digitalisation drivers
  • Future procurement operating models
  • Digital work in the future
  • Procurement process digitalisation
  • Digital supplier management
  • Challenges to progress
  • Value of digital adoption
  • Change manifesto

“Everyone recognises this shift, 99% of companies plan to make changes to their operating model over the next three years,” says the Globality report. “In 2020 and 2021, change has been thrust upon us all. In 2022 and beyond companies are owning the shift. In our research, we have seen the procurement leaders outperform their peers through a focus on resilience and cost in the short term. However, to maintain this competitive advantage in the long term, they need to adopt a new digital-led operating model.”

That said, 81% cited a lack of organisational support with regards to digitalisation, indicating a need for further engagement at some enterprises. 68% say that digitalisation will continue to increase business self-service, while 50% of organisations aim to move to a business procurement-centric organisation, acting as advisors and business partners versus executing transactional processes.

Content Credits: Globality & ProcureTech

Designed By: CPOstrategy

Procurement channel optimisation is a holistic approach to maximising the performance of, and value from, companies’ external spend and digital…

Procurement channel optimisation is a holistic approach to maximising the performance of, and value from, companies’ external spend and digital assets.

The CPO has one of the hardest jobs in the company managing spend with suppliers. She or he has to work with people who think they are expert shoppers (many of us are Amazonaholics, or equivalent) following processes alongside their day job, and who need to be convinced to buy from suppliers who may not be their personal preference.

The impact of taking the wrong process steps, using suboptimal channels or ill-suited suppliers can be consequential. To illustrate, for a $10bn spend company with $1bn indirects whose procurement team saves 8% a year on average, a compliance of 60% compared to best in class of 95% compliance equates to almost $30m lost bottom line benefits each year.

Non-compliant shoppers are also often adding supplier risk, accounts payable complexity and costs. Often the reason for people’s failure to use the correct process and vendors is that contracts are not enabled and user experiences are poor. Procurement channel optimisation touches the core areas of procurement and external spend management and ensures that all assets are interconnected with no value leakage.

Contract, buying channel and content data are loaded correctly allowing buyers to use correct suppliers and negotiated prices, while also streamlining operations, driving compliance and generating spend insights. The procurement function can then realise the full value for their business. After all, underperformance can hide in plain sight unless all channels are fully utilised and optimised.

Read the full article in CPOstrategy – Issue 30

Written by Veronika Strausova
Procurement Transformation Lead, IBM Consulting, UK & Ireland

Sustainable and ethical procurement practices increase trust and confidence.

Winston Yong, Blockchain leader at IBM Consulting, reveals how blockchain can be a great tool for organizations to move towards more sustainable and ethical procurement practices.

Confidence in your procurement promise through trust and traceability

As enterprises, and their connected ecosystems, move toward more sustainable and ethical practices, the procurement function has been placed under even greater scrutiny.

On the front line of assuring the sustainable and ethical practices of its suppliers and partners, and by proxy itself, the procurement function needs to demonstrate providence by accessing greater transparency within the supply chain to establish the provenance of the goods and services they are purchasing.

What is Blockchain technology?

At the forefront of technologies that are providing a new level of transparency and traceability is blockchain. The concept of blockchain is very simple. Every ‘event’ has a block of information associated with it as it occurs.

As other related events occur subsequently, the associated event also has another block of information connected to it. If we were to chain all of this up cryptographically, you would be able to trace the history of the event to a high level of assurance. That is the basic concept of blockchain, which is shared, secure, INSIGHTS Confidence in your procurement promise through trust and traceability immutable, and configurable; changing the way that provenance and traceability in the supply chain has been determined, with incredible granularity.

Supply chain implications

A great example of how blockchain is increasing transparency and provenance in the supply chain is seen in the seafood industry. The seafood industry faces several challenges; primary amongst them is reputational: how fish is farmed. Trust is paramount with consumers that buy seafood. They want to know what the fish has been fed, for example, and this trust requires ever more information.

The Seafood Network is a blockchain-based network for the seafood industry. By joining the network and utilising the blockchain transparent supply, seafood companies can be more open about how the food is produced so the consumer will have a greater knowledge and understanding of that product.

The natural predisposition of blockchain to independently validate and securely track the provenance of products has seen companies, quietly and assuredly, apply blockchain technology to record events along many diverse distribution chains.

CPOstrategy – Issue 29

Read the full article from Winston Yong in Issue 29 of CPOstrategy.

Bridewell Consulting has outlined its top 10 cybersecurity predictions for 2022.

Bridewell Consulting has outlined its top 10 cybersecurity predictions for 2022.

Compiled by its skilled consultants, and coupled with data gathered from its 24/7 security operations centre in 2021, the company warns of the automation of security threats, increased risks for remote workers, and more nation-state attacks on the UK’s critical national infrastructure and supply chains.

“Cyber threats are always evolving and 2022 will be no different. Attackers will use new technologies to launch more sophisticated attacks and remain under the radar, while businesses will use technology to strengthen defences and drive efficiencies. Heading into 2022, organisations need confidence that their systems, data and processes remain protected, regardless of how the landscape evolves, and ultimately that comes down to developing an agile and adaptive security strategy”


Top 10 cybersecurity predictions for 2022

1. 2022 will be the year of remote risk. With remote and hybrid working here to stay, expect to see a large increase in mobile malware attacks. Cybercriminals will evolve and adapt their techniques to exploit the growing reliance on mobile devices and remote working.

Social engineering will remain the initial attack vector for deployments of malware, phishing and ransomware, with an increase in deepfake technology making attacks more technologically convincing in 2022.

Phishing volumes have already surpassed levels seen in 2020, and this year we’ll see a rise of update-themed phishing emails designed to trick remote employees into believing they are legitimate updates, as well as those used to tailgate employees into restricted areas under the guise of being a new employee hired during lockdown.

2. Ransomware will become automated. Human operated ransomware will be the biggest cyber risk for organisations in 2022. Different from traditional commodity ransomware attacks, we’ll see more cybercriminals with a high level of offensive security knowledge gain access to organisations and survey the environment for an extended period before launching a potentially devastating attack on data and systems.

The risk presented by human-operated ransomware will only increase as wormable variants such as WannaCrypt and NotPetva are utilised more. Additionally, automation will play a key part in the evolution of modern ransomware and malware attacks, with machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) used to remove some of the mistakes that allow businesses to respond to current threats.

3. Volume of hackers-for-hire will increase. Over the past few years, groups such as REvil and DarkSide have appeared and disappeared after carrying out very public attacks against numerous industries. In 2021, we saw a number of hacker groups arrive, have a big impact, and then vanish as quickly as they came, only to repeat the same process again a few months later.

In 2022 we can expect more of the same; in particular, large attacks on lucrative targets such as supply chains and cloud providers to maximise ransom value and payments. Managed services and thirdparty suppliers will also be under greater risk. Phishing-as-a-Service will become commonplace on dark web forums, increasing attack volumes.

4. Zero-Trust will become the de facto cyber security approach. With the rise of hybrid working, Zero-Trust will become critical in 2022. Lack of secure cloud configuration will continue to cause security breaches and organisations will seek to separate users and devices from data, applications, infrastructure, and networks, through the Identify, Authenticate, Authorise and Audit model (IAAA).

More CIOs and CISOs will roll out system-wide Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) with stricter rules around conditional access built-in and supported by session information and telemetry to develop a comprehensive audit trail for real-time detection of a policy breach. Extended Detection and Response (XDR) will also become the technology of choice for Zero-Trust, enabling rapid detection and response of threats across endpoint, network, web and email, cloud and importantly, identity.

5. Organisations will turn to hybrid SOC models to plug skills gaps and aid consolidation. As the cyber skills shortage grows and enterprises lack security professionals with the depth of knowledge and technical skills to develop more advanced capabilities required for running a cloud-native modern Security Operations Centres (SOC), we will see more organisations turn to hybrid SOC models which combine the cyber skills of in-house teams with the expertise of a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP).

Companies will use providers to plug gaps in defences while developing in-house expertise in tools and techniques including EDR, XDR and intelligence-based threat-hunting. Hybrid SOCs will also be used to facilitate consolidation of security tools, driven by a growing desire from the board to reduce security costs, maximise ROI and improve efficiency.

6. Rise in 5G and connected devices will increase IoT risks. 5G will continue to be rolled out globally in 2022 and increase the number of connected devices within organisations, particularly within industrial IoT. Manufacturing and Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) will remain the sectors most susceptible to security issues, with more factories and facilities becoming connected and more organisations reliant on IoT devices for measuring and monitoring processes remotely. Expect to see the introduction of more government guidance and standards to bolster IoT security as uptake increases.

7. Organisations will shift focus from prevention to detection and response. As the speed and complexity of attacks continue to grow, demand for managed security services, such as Managed Detection and Response (MDR) will rocket. No longer the luxury of large enterprises, in 2022 expect all companies to seek to shift from prevention to response and look to implement early warning systems to alert on early signs of a potential breach.

Security Orchestration Automated Response (SOAR) solutions, such as Microsoft Sentinel, will be critical alongside MDR to help to improve the efficiency. Traditional tools such as anti-malware software and spam blockers will still be important, but these will increasingly be combined with proactive tactics, such as MDR, threat hunting, and ethical hacking to ensure any vulnerabilities are identified and mitigated immediately.

8. Critical National Infrastructure will face more threats. CNI will face increased activity from nation state groups, which are likely to prioritise green energy targets given the global focus on the development of sustainable infrastructure. The oil and gas sector will also be the subject of more directed attacks from hackers-for-hire as they attempt to target high-value income industries.

9. Cybersecurity transformation will drive digital transformation. Digital transformation became a necessity for businesses in 2021, driven largely by Covid-19. Probably the biggest mistake we saw in 2021 was a reactive approach to security transformation, whereby security was only considered afterwards. In 2022, expect to see this model flipped with a rise in mature companies who seek to use cybersecurity transformation as the driver for digital transformation.

Cybersecurity will shift from a box-ticking exercise to a business enabler, with CISOs and CIOs working directly with the CEO to develop an adaptive and customisable security model to ensure cybersecurity is as strong as possible before broadening the attack surface further.

10. Cybersecurity vendors will start to consolidate. Microsoft and Google will evolve to become leaders in cybersecurity. Microsoft has already announced a huge commitment to growing its cybersecurity offering and given the company’s dominance in the collaboration market and Google has already taken huge steps to bolster its security expertise.

As both companies continue to build their expertise, we expect to see traditional cybersecurity players start to lose market share as they struggle to keep up with the visibility, coverage and collaboration benefits the global giants can offer.


Bridewell Consulting is the second-largest and one of the fastest-growing, privately-owned, cybersecurity services firms in the UK, with its security operations centre protecting some of the country’s most critical national infrastructure.

It also delivers a vast number of services across aviation, financial services, government and oil and gas. The company hold a number of industry accreditations including NCSC, CREST, ASSURE, IASME Consortium, Cyber Essentials Plus, ISO27001, ISO9001 and are PCI DSS QSA Company. The company was recently named Cyber Business of the Year in The 2021 National Cyber Awards and won the SME 100 Growth (Under £10M) and Tech Company of the Year awards at the Thames Valley SME Growth Awards 2021.

Article is taken from Interface – Issue 28

Featuring in the ProcureTech100 Digital Yearbook, sponsor IBM provides an insight into why data is key for ESG and procurement…

Featuring in the ProcureTech100 Digital Yearbook, sponsor IBM provides an insight into why data is key for ESG and procurement partnerships.


Sheri Hinish, IBM

Sheri Hinish, Executive Partner and Offering Leader for IBM’s Sustainable Supply Chain, Finance and Circularity, gives her verdict on how technology is facilitating change across procurement so organisations can become more sustainable, which has become a significant priority.


Sustainability is a significant priority right now, across every enterprise and its entire operations, particularly with regards to procurement – representing a massive challenge, as well as numerous opportunities, to CPOs and CSCOs alike. And technology is enabling much of this dramatic change.

Technology is a force for good, helping organisations in key areas of their supply chains, such as responsible sourcing, risk management, calibrating SDG (sustainable development goals) ambitions with ESG (environmental, social and governance) action and green operations, while building intelligent supply chains for sustainable decision orchestration.

“IBM has been a steward in sustainability for over 50 years now,” IBM’s Sheri Hinish explains. “We also possess deep research through our Institute for Business Value (IBV) that marries the convergence of tech with ethical innovation to improve the world we share as well as the human condition. IBM works closely with the IBV, our ecosystem and how we protect the organisation’s social license to operate by creating resilient communities and impact through sourcing and procurement. These concerns are front of mind for CPOs and CSCOs right now.”

Sheri Hinish, IBM

Delivering ESG through Tech IBM’s partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) in Scope 3 emissions leverages its blockchain solutions to track, measure and report on net-zero commitments.

“Zero carbon is an interesting focus, as we’re actually seeing net-zero being challenged, particularly in agriculture and industry consumer packaged goods,” she explains. “However, having a regenerative and climate restorative mindset, while thinking about creating shared-value and equity are, in my opinion, just as vital to our planet’s needs when you imagine this through the lens of supplier engagement, particularly with diverse suppliers and SMBs, supplier development, sharing best practices, building a longer table in educating responsible partner sourcing, creating safe and supportive work environments, and fundamentally creating social impact through community building and investment. Social values of brands show up in supplier relationships, experience, access and development.”


CPOstrategy – Issue 28

Read the full article from Sheri Hinish in Issue 28 of CPOstrategy.