As organizations and business models have become more complex, the technology that supports the procurement and payables functions has struggled to make this key connection between the operational needs of the business, the compliance needs of finance, and partnership requirements from the suppliers.

In response, there is now a large number of new technology players that support various elements of the procurement function, many of them crossing into the domain of traditional platform providers such as Ariba, Coupa, and Ivalua. With new opportunity, however, comes complexity, as processes and technology are added and integrated across the various functions of the business.

The challenge for most organizations is to successfully execute on this integration to get the right alignment. The more this happens, the greater value the procurement function can bring – not only in cost savings, but in revenue growth and in an increase in social capital.

To meet these goals, the technology integration mentioned above needs to be comprehensive. It’s an approach that we at Capgemini call the Frictionless Enterprise.

Delivering Cognitive Procurement – part of the Frictionless Enterprise

The Frictionless Enterprise enables a smooth and seamless flow of information and collaboration between the various stakeholders in a business process. For procurement, this typically includes production, requestors, suppliers, logistics, finance, legal, and risk.

While in the past, technology, rules, and processes may have developed and deployed on an as-needed basis, the Frictionless Enterprise is more holistic. It entails new and digital ways of end-to-end thinking and working, together with the flexibility to adapt constantly to new contexts. It considers the way stakeholders interact with and adopt technology to drive value within the organization.

The five fundamental elements on which the Frictionless Enterprise rests are as applicable to procurement as they are to any other major area of business. They are as follows:

  • Hyperscale automation to focus on efficiency, time to market, and quality, making use of touchless processes, of a scalable and flexible architecture based on procurement platforms, microservices, and APIs
  • Cloud agility to ensure the enterprise is liberated from its own data center, and that it is digitally transformed to make it ready for and responsive to change
  • Data fluidity, enabling organizations to control, understand, and analyze the execution of each process in real time so they can identify future frictions
  • Sustainable planet to ensure frictions are addressed, while being mindful of the global context in which the enterprise operates
  • Secure business of cybersecurity, compliance, privacy, trust, and transparency, to provide safety and reassurance internally, and also across the ecosystem of customers, suppliers, and partners.

Intelligent automation (including carefully selected platforms, robotics, machine learning, and intelligent document processing) should be fully embedded across all these elements, and should provide cognitive support to business functions through machine learning and predictive analytics.

In short, the Frictionless Enterprise is best expressed as an to how organizations can create best-in-class processes and services that deliver increased efficiency, faster time to market, and an enhanced user experience. Without this comprehensive attitude – without this joined-up thinking – it is much more difficult to gather and organize the data needed to make decisions, and to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to interpret it and act upon it.

What we at Capgemini term – Cognitive Procurement – builds on these principles, with a proven framework to help identify, deploy, and evolve the required technology architecture to support your business processes.

Contact Business Services

To learn more about how Cognitive Procurement Services can transform your organization to drive effective, sustainable, and frictionless procurement, contact: businessservices.global@capgemini.com