The SAP Ariba Info Day in Sinsheim on October 5th, 2017 was another clear indication that integrated sourcing and procurement has become a core element in the digital transformation strategy of most leading companies, be it in the manufacturing, retail or financial services industry. More than 200 participants followed a versatile mixture of latest software developments and strategy, customer projects and use cases, as well as talks with potential implementation partners. It is not that more proof was needed, but the key topics presented and discussed demonstrated once more, that the times when sourcing and procurement could be regarded as hived off disciplines, are over. The future will be digital and dominated by holistic, integrated software solutions, where sales, distribution, production, sourcing and procurement are run synchronously, according to the rhythm of the market. It won’t be long until planning and execution systems will function in a truly interwoven fashion. And a big portion of IT-related issues will take place in the cloud, streamlining companies’ IT setups and shortening innovation cycles.
As always, major shifts come with risks and opportunities. Those companies that embrace this development early on and direct their strategies towards integrating and digitalizing their processes can significantly improve their competitiveness and market position. Because of the overall complexity with organizational, processual and technical aspects to be considered simultaneously for sustainable results, the right roadmap is often not easy to see. Reaching out to specialized consulting firms for support is a good plan, if the addressee has the right skill set. The related, shifting requirements pose challenges to consulting firms alike. Global presence, holistic supply chain process know-how, rather than focused expertise on one single discipline, will become the future ingredients to deliver the expected high-quality outcome.