Procurement Software Automation in 2019
Artificial intelligence and automation are at the forefront of procurement predictions for 2019 and on virtually every tech predictions list. Procurement technology itself is just becoming widely available to businesses of all sizes thanks to technology developments that have made procurement solutions less expensive and easier to implement. Technology is rapidly progressing, though, and adopting automation, and eventually AI, will prove to be crucial to business survival in years to come.
Understanding AI vs. Automation
Recognizing the difference between artificial intelligence and automation is important, despite how often the terms are used interchangeably. Automation refers simply to removing the need for human intervention in a process. This generally means hardware or software that makes the process more effective.
Artificial intelligence is more complex and deals with a given technology that can improve or learn over time. Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence. Automation is any technology process that can move forward without the need for human intervention.
The Time to Move is Now
Waiting to adopt these technologies will put businesses exponentially behind their adopting counterparts, argues a recent HBR article. Because artificial intelligence ‘learns,’ time is required for AI in a given use case to become valuable. The reasoning behind why businesses should adopt AI is also the same reason businesses hesitate to adopt AI – it requires time. Just as midsize businesses were once excluded from e-procurement in response to epic implementation times, the implementation time required for really valuable AI is timely and costly.
Automation on the other hand is an existing and easy-to-use technology in the procurement space. Automation provides irreplaceable value in procurement, which can be task-heavy and time-consuming without the right solutions. Automation in the procurement process alleviates procurement teams from the burden of manual tasks that can be easily handled by procurement software.