In “Top Procure-to-Pay Trends for 2022 and Beyond,” Basware outlines some new and emerging procurement trends and shows how they’re impacting organizations. Here are five that it says all procurement professionals should be watching and acting on this year:
Companies Want Less Paper and More Automation
Basware says that organizations that have already embraced automation will leverage it for more than just a replacement of repetitive activities. Instead, they’ll use it to focus on highly-strategic tasks and for future-proofing their operations.
“The pandemic squarely proved that businesses can’t rely on paper-based and manual processes,” Basware states. “A comprehensive digital strategy, which includes automation, is increasingly a necessity to not only ensure business continuity and resilience, but also to future-proof your operations for tomorrow and well beyond.
Procurement’s Role in ESG grows
The pressure is on for companies to take action on environmental, social and governance (ESG). “Given the increased importance of sustainability, both personally and professionally, organizations need to be more proactive when it comes to adopting green initiatives,” Basware advises. “Many organizations overlook the impact paper invoices and manual processes have on the environment.”
Here’s one good ESG starting point for procurement: By automating P2P processes, organizations can reduce their environmental footprints, eliminate paper from their processes and reduce their reliance on transportation (because employees can work remotely).
“The disproportionate amount of energy required to produce paper invoices,” the company points out, “equals the annual energy consumption of 20 million households.”
The Spotlight is on Supplier Diversity
According to Basware, supplier diversity programs will become an increasingly integral part of supply chain management this year. A natural element of businesses’ corporate social responsibilities (CSR), a supplier diversity program encourages and intentionally seeks out minority suppliers to include in a firm’s supply chain.
“Its rise in importance comes at a time when consumers are expecting increased transparency and ethical prowess from the businesses they buy from,” Basware says. “In fact, research from Accenture states that adding diverse suppliers to the potential sourcing pool can help increase competition for contracts which, in turn, can improve quality and cut costs.”
Forward-Looking Data Analytics Come Into View
The days of analyzing data and rehashing what has already happened may soon fade in the rear-view mirror and be replaced by more advanced, predictive ways of leveraging data.
“Using data empowers organizations to not just look at the current state of operations but also make proactive and informed plans for the future,” Basware states. For instance, predictive analytics can help companies more readily identify potential bottlenecks, forecast spend and track budgets.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Come of Age
According to Basware, 54% of finance and procurement professionals want to invest money into AI and ML to support data-based decision-making. Calling this a “wise decision,” Basware predicts that ML and AI will continue to be enablers of a completely new era in finance and procurement.
“Enterprises are seeing the benefit of automating repetitive processes in more and more finance and procurement contexts for increased efficiency,” it adds, “where a lot of transactional data is being processed.”