AI without the skill set to use it is like getting a brand-new sports car and not knowing how to drive it. Everyone’s talking about AI as the “cool” new technology, how organizations will use it in the future and the staggering cost and time savings that will result. But none of that is possible without employing the right skill set within your procurement organization to harness the power of AI and drive change.

In a recent research report, Start Preparing Now for the Impact of AI on Procurement, Gartner says “Unless application leaders have access to the right analytical and data science skills, procurement organizations will struggle to get value from AI in procurement as a result of not understanding the opportunities and limitations.”

According to the report, “progressive procurement organizations need to start addressing the role of AI in procurement now.” Gartner says it’s key to understand the type of data that solutions need for AI and machine learning and that “it is important to have the quantitative skills to figure out what to analyze or measure, and how to score it.”

Gartner recommends organizations start by having procurement analysts test drive in areas where there are existing use cases for AI in procurement:
  • Spend analytics: Examine opportunities for machine learning to improve the procure-to-pay process (e.g. spend classification) and “explore the predictive spend analytics that can further improve the planning and prioritization of strategic sourcing activities.” 
  • Contract analytics: Understand how machine learning can help procurement negotiate the best contracts using technology to “analyze contracts and capture critical clauses.” 
  • Risk Management: Consider “the use of AI technologies to monitor public and private data sources to create risk alerts and advice” for better risk monitoring. 
With AI technology rapidly developing in e-procurement solutions, now is a great time to ensure your procurement team is ready with the data science and analytical skills that will be required. If you don’t start developing that talent now – you’ll be stalled in the driveway.  

Read the full Gartner research report for more recommendations on how to prepare for a future of AI in procurement.