What is Autonomous Procurement?


Let’s start by looking at what an autonomous procurement system means. At JAGGAER, our own definition of a truly autonomous procurement solution is one that will not only have cognitive capabilities embedded throughout the platform, but will build on those capabilities to automate entire sourcing and procurement processes without any buyer interference whatsoever when the opportunity arises.

That final piece is key; “when the opportunity arises.” The goal of autonomous procurement is not to eliminate the human element of sourcing and procurement. Instead, it is to remove unnecessary tasks that take up time and resources, and enable team members to think and operate at a strategic level. This is not just a good idea – it’s a really good idea. Here’s why:

We’ve only scratched the surface on Autonomous Procurement
Many procurement suite providers already offer functionality that can loosely be defined as “augmented,” but this is only the second of four steps on the journey to autonomy. “Smart” technologies like vendor-managed inventory tools are a strong start, but current technology can go well beyond rules-based systems.
Instead, modern technology exists in the third step toward autonomous procurement: Intelligent Procurement. Intelligent systems should already be learning from past purchases, user preferences, and experiences, not just responding to direct stimuli based on rules and decision trees. Tools like vendor-managed inventory can remove the ordering step when inventories hit predetermined levels, but this kind of rules-based programming is not autonomous.

Autonomous procurement will deliver on its promises
Artificial intelligence (AI) is, in many ways, still in its infancy. And yet even now, AI capabilities already go beyond their human counterparts in some areas. For example, a 2018 study pitted 20 barred attorneys against the LawGeex Artificial Intelligence solution. The results were staggering, with the attorneys catching 85% of mistakes on average and the AI system spotting 94%. Moreover, it took the attorneys 92 minutes, while the computer did the task in 26 seconds. AI is not just the future – it’s already here.

By Amenallah Reghimi

Keywords: AI, Future of Work, Procurement

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