Q. What are procurement’s top priorities for 2022?
Shaz Khan: “In 2021, operational efficiency dethroned cost savings as the #1 priority according to the Deloitte CPO survey. Efficiency will continue its reign and garner even more attention in 2022, especially considering the ongoing labor and supply chain shortages we face.”
“Building off that, automation will be essential. It’s hard to hire right now. That creates challenges for companies looking to grow and scale. The best solution is to automate tactical and manual processes. You want the team you have in place focused on initiatives that matter. You also need to make life as easy as possible to increase retention and productivity. Automation drives this forward.”
Mike Jud: “Cost control and containment will also top CPO agendas in 2022. Cost savings and spend management are always critical KPIs for procurement teams, and they become even more important in an inflationary environment.”
“Managing or even monitoring these KPIs can be difficult, as often times costs fall outside of an organization’s systems. Finding the right solution for your team will eliminate this problem in 2022.”
Q. What are the greatest challenges procurement teams will face in the New Year?
Shaz Khan: “It will be more of the same. Labor shortages and supply chain disruptions will continue well into 2022. This will affect everything – supply availability, revenue, profitability, capacity and the ability to deliver for customers and stakeholders.”
Q. Broadly speaking, what’s your top tip to procurement and AP teams to overcome these challenges?
Mike Jud: “SIMPLIFY!”
“The market is complex and challenging right now. All your time and attention should be focused on the strategic opportunities and challenges in front of you.”
“Wasting too much time on the little things and efficiency wasters — chasing down approvals, calling suppliers, coding invoices, closing the books, etc. – will get in the way of your growth and success.”
Q. Can you be more specific. How can organizations practically go about simplifying their operations?
Shaz Khan: “First, focus on deploying smarter platforms. There are many innovative technologies that can make your life easier. Look for ways to utilize AI and machine learning to eliminate tactical tasks, speed decision making and scale automation.”
“Second, invest in deeper analytics. Data is great – but insights that lead to quick and smart decisions are much more important. Whether you are dealing with a supplier that’s at risk of shorting you, or a questionable invoice or spend request, let the data guide you to an informed and confident decision.”
“Next, enhance collaboration and digital connection. Stop doing everything on your own. Collaborate with your team, suppliers and partners in a digital environment that allows for real-time data exchange, status updates and process visibility.”
“Finally, embrace modern advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning across the e-procurement, procure-to-pay and accounts payable function. These technologies can make everything easier – from processing invoices to catching fraud.”
Q. You’ve mentioned technology a few times. How do you expect the procurement and SpendTech™ landscape to change in 2022?
Shaz Khan: “The big trend we’re watching is the intersection of SpendTech™ and FinTech. This is the future of procurement and finance. Expect to see finance and procurement teams collaborating more regularly to create a truly seamless and digital journey, from purchase to pay. The potential insights, cost savings, visibility and efficiency gains will be monumental.”
“Along those lines, we will see an acceleration of digital payments and more accounts payable automation. Buyers will also finally demand more from AP providers when it comes to straight through invoice processing rates and accuracy. The status quo is not good enough.”
“More broadly, we’re going to see a lot of tech option overload and implementation chaos. Everyone is pushing digital. This makes identifying the right solution more difficult. Focus on finding solutions that are easy to implement, integrate and connect. The best digital solution in the world won’t deliver if it takes a year to deploy and is difficult to use.”
Q. Vroozi is launching a new accounts payable invoice automation platform in January. Why should the market be excited?
Mike Jud: “Every time we show the platform, we get responses like like ‘yes please’ or ‘can we get rolling with this now?’ or ‘where has this been my whole life?’”
“We realized that a lot of organizations were facing an uphill battle when it came to automation. They could only automate a portion of the accounts payable process because their AP tool couldn’t accurately ingest and code invoices at a high enough level. This is a problem the market has been dealing with forever. We built an intelligence layer on our AP platform that learns over time. Our AI can identify and auto-fill the necessary information which makes full (or near full) automation possible.”
Q. Anything else to add as we head into 2022?
Shaz Khan: “Absolutely. The first thing that comes to mind is remembering we are still in a pandemic. Life is tough and stressful. And that’s okay. Give yourself a break and take care of your mental and physical health. Make sure you find time to truly refresh and unwind before we ramp up again in January.”
“We also have so much to be thankful for. Despite the challenges, we accomplished a lot. Take note of your wins, celebrate your progress and make sure to give back whenever you can.”