Procurement is about to get smarter, faster and more efficient


Cognitive_procurement.jpgA ‘cognitive procurement’ solution is set to redefine the source-to-settle process.

The solution delivers intelligence from procurement data – together with predictive insights from unstructured information – to help make decisions in supplier management, contracts and sourcing activities.

SAP Ariba and IBM have joined forces to deliver the system, which is a teaming-up of SAP Leonardo, IBM Watson technologies and SAP Ariba.

“[We have] built a cognitive procurement platform trained specifically to understand procurement transactions and unstructured data such as weather, non-standard part numbers in contracts and complex pricing structures. By combining the power of IBM Watson on the IBM Cloud with SAP Ariba, [we] are leaping existing procurement benchmarks, and delivering unprecedented value to our joint clients,” said Jesus Mantas, General Manager, Cognitive Process Transformation IBM Global Business Services.

Alex Atzberger, the President of SAP Ariba said that the collaboration “marks a major milestone for procurement”.

“With the deep horizontal integration capabilities native within SAP Ariba’s mature platform, and the innovative capabilities of SAP Leonardo and IBM Watson – delivered by the industry’s most experienced and trusted providers – companies can realise an even more intelligent source-to-settle process for managing all categories of spend that creates value across the entire business,” said Atzberger

A smart approach

In joining forces, SAP Ariba and IBM will use data insights to empower procurement professionals to make smarter, faster decisions across their supply chains. The new applications can impact the entire procurement process from improving spend visibility to assisting buyers and enriching content management.

For example, a digital assistant combined with IBM Watson services, will transform sourcing events by helping with tasks such as defining the correct Request for Proposal type, identifying appropriate suppliers to participate based on commodity category, region or industry and delivering intelligence on market signals and pricing pressures to optimise results.

With SAP Leonardo and IBM Watson, contracting will be become smarter and more comprehensive, as applications automatically identify relevant terms and conditions matched to legal library and taxonomy, uncover similar contract terms for a specific commodity by industry or region – based on benchmarking data and suggest optimal prices to target based on expected volume and contractual discounts. SAP Ariba and IBM will also explore automating the extraction of contract terms and summaries, to help customers ensure compliance in next-generation procurement.

Consulting and services

IBM Global Business Services will provide consulting and services to build, implement and operate the new offerings, using tailored roadmaps to help enterprises of all sizes to lower costs, and realise faster time to value.

Additionally, the companies will launch a Cognitive Procurement hub to further the development of intelligent procurement solutions and services, working side by side to explore applications of emerging technologies, including Blockchain.

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