ProcureCon Europe 2017 Survey: An automated future Implementing automated procurement processes is a high priority in nearly half of companies

July 28, 2017

Procurement in European companies is maturing and modernizing rapidly, according to the ProcureCon Europe 2017 Benchmarking survey “An automated future”. OpusCapita, a company that focuses on automating and digitizing customers’ procurement, invoicing and payment processes, sees that the procurement executives’ views compiled for the survey also clearly convey the challenges that the ongoing digital transformation imposes to organizations.

“Organizations are seemingly focused on and aware of the changes happening in the market, but they are also increasingly challenged by the pace of the change, and struggling to remain not only competitive, but also compliant,” says Patrik Sallner, CEO, OpusCapita, commenting on the ProcureCon survey.

According to the survey, implementing automated procurement processes is a high priority in almost a half of the respondents’ companies (47%), and on the radar for nearly all the rest (48%). The results of the survey also show that procurement professionals are looking into new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), to further improve procurement’s performance, and are expecting that solutions utilizing AI, such as Amazon-like guided buying and voice-activated purchasing, will be useful in their departments in 2–3 years’ time.

Another major trend revealed by the survey is a more close cooperation between procurement and finance. A majority of the respondents view source-to-pay as one process, and either work closely with their colleagues in the finance department or are even fully integrated from sourcing and procurement to invoice handling and payments.

“Over recent years, both procurement and finance have stepped out of their silos to collaborate more closely, aiming for a single, integrated, and automated process.It is a positive trend, but based on our experience, mostly related to direct spending. All of this underlines the need for comprehensive software and service solutions that can cover and support the entire chain: RFQs (requests for quotes) and sourcing, supplier management, user-friendly purchasing, invoice and even travel expense management, as well as payments, working capital management, and supply chain financing options,” says Patrik Sallner.

Close collaboration between buyers and suppliers

According to the survey, a majority – almost 70% – of the procurement professionals consider supply chain financing very important or important for their business, indicating an increasing trend toward financing receivables. Almost a third of the respondents that had used supply chain financing said that they get financing from customer programs instead of banks.

“The rise of the supply chain financing programs provided by large buyer organizations is directly linked with the broader transformation of business-to-business commerce. The digital change further emphasizes the importance of enabling close collaboration between buyers and suppliers, and connecting all the stakeholders involved in the extended source-to-pay value chain,” states Sallner.

In addition to disruptive technology, organizations are forced to recognize both new requirements and new opportunities brought by new legislation, for example PEPPOL in business-to-government (B2G) e-invoicing and e-procurement, and the new Payment Service Directive PSD2. The fact that, according to the ProcureCon survey, 42 % of organizations are struggling to meet the upcoming EU mandates for electronic invoicing in business-to-government trade, further highlights the service providers’ role.

“We at OpusCapita have challenged ourselves to create new ways to address the current and future changes in the market. In order to sell, buy, and pay efficiently in the rapidly changing environment, organizations need a partner who can ensure a wide access and support the interconnections both inside and outside their organization,” says Sallner.

The ProcureCon Europe 2017 Benchmarking survey “An automated future”, supported by OpusCapita as a partner, was conducted among high-level procurement professionals of large European companies. 100 CPOs, Heads of Procurement, and other senior procurement officers were interviewed to give their views for the survey.  

For more information:

Karoliina Haikonen
Head of Communications, OpusCapita
+358 44 3455 554
karoliina.haikonen@opuscapita.com

Download a complimentary copy of the ProcureCon Europe 2017 Benchmarking Report here >>