Feed the Need: Why Procurement Data is Essential for AI
Thursday, 7 Dec 2017
Global Content Manager
Welcome to #BasBites – your source for bite-size procurement info for your busy life. This blog addresses a key point from Gartner’s recent research report the importance of identifying and ensuring access to procurement data for a future with artificial intelligence (AI).
Just like humans need food, artificial intelligence (AI) needs to be fed data – as much data as it can ingest. That’s why it’s no surprise that Gartner says, “AI technologies' need for data will force application leaders in procurement to identify and ensure access to the necessary internal and external data sources” in their recent research report. Here’s what you need to know about procurement data for AI from this report.
Fully Automate Procurement Processes
One thing is sure – AI cannot search your filing cabinets and desktop documents, so you need to automate as much as possible to build the electronic dataset you will need for the future. Gartner says, “to maximize the availability of data, processes need to be digitized as far as possible to make sure that as much data as possible is available in electronic formats.”
Understand What Procurement Data You Need
AI learns by consuming huge data sets and analyzing patterns and trends. Gartner says, “the more advanced AI applications in particular, such as CEAs or VPAs, will need to be trained on very large and reliable datasets in order to provide accurate and relevant recommendations, and the right assistance.” So, procurement departments need to understand exactly what types of data are most relevant to the goals they want to achieve. Gartner classifies procurement data in 4 general categories:
- Internally generated data
- Supplier data
- Publicly available data
- Subscription data
Consider RPA to Ensure Access to More Procurement Data
Gartner says RPA is best suited for “situations in which organizations have found that other integration or automation options are perhaps too expensive or too time-consuming (taking months or years).” RPA is not an “intelligent” technology – instead procurement teams can use RPA to “facilitate better procurement practices, and access to supplier and internal data” by linking up multiple disjointed systems.
To read the specific recommendations for identifying and capturing your procurement data, read the full report.