The intelligent world is truly upon us, and based on the technological advancements that we are becoming used to, one cannot wait for the future to arrive. In this intelligent world, there is pressure on businesses to deliver an exceptional customer experience, and to use every technology they can to ensure that the customers get what they expect.
I recently had the opportunity to attend the SAP Ariba Live event in Amsterdam. The event is one of the biggest supply chain and procurement conferences held across the globe. At the conference, I had the opportunity to hear and witness excellent use cases, and speak to the president of SAP Ariba, Barry Padgett.
We are moving towards a change in the way businesses develop their ecosystem. Innovation is now an important part of the business ecosystem, and many organizations are doing all they can to ensure that they develop interesting and futuristic business processes. The procurement of material as you work is now being made possible, and the downtime involved in the process will diminish. Procurement and supply chain are affecting our business standards; organizations now need to jump on the bandwagon and develop a data-driven environment, where they use all latest tools of data analysis to reach actionable insights.
There are numerous use cases and examples of how businesses are moving towards a better world for our future generations. Gone are the days when businesses would place selfish motives above anything else, and focus on them at all times. Now, businesses are concerned about resource management and achieving the best efficient and ethical standards within their operations.
Some examples of this change in practice include:
Shell, which is one of the biggest energy sector companies in the world, is looking at the market of the future. The company has not only made plans to provide low-carbon energy as the ecosystem across the world changes, but has also set the example of assisting leaders of the future. The world is progressing at a rapid pace, and it is the responsibility of individuals and entrepreneurs across the globe to ensure that they give nothing less than their best.
Shell has shown interest in helping build a cleaner environment across the world, and using its influence to foster healthy growth across the world. As part of their operation, they research technical innovations to solve the energy challenge and find ways to produce greener energy. Digital technology is the tipping point for Shell here, as it helps their ambitions and goals to come together, creating a bright future for the generations to come.
There are no doubts about the use of Amazon Alexa in crafting the world of the future. The AI- and IoT-powered device has created a revolutionary impact, and has led us to believe that the future is here. However, the use of Alexa in procurement and supply chain is something new. At the conference I witnessed amazing use cases of how Alexa can make supply chain operation and procurement easier for everyone involved.
With Alexa’s unique attributes, supply chain managers can now use it to make orders and to secure ETAs on their supplies. Alexa gives managers and other stakeholders the option to give the device commands regarding any business needs. This is done through voice recognition, as Alexa recognizes the voice of the person who has the authority to place orders. Once an order is placed, Alexa processes it and gives an estimate of its cost, based on the quantity ordered. Finally, Alexa gives a detailed estimate of the time it will take for the order to be delivered. This device uses some of the most complicated and interesting concepts of AI to deliver data analysis.
Imagine a production worker working on a production site. The worker sees the need to order more head safety gear, but since they are on site, it is difficult to process the order at that time— they would have to head over to the nearest computer, take off their gear and go through the catalogue. Alexa automates all of this and gives people a golden opportunity to get whatever they want, wherever they want it. Taking the example above, the production worker would now only need to use their voice to contact Alexa, order more head safety gear and get an estimate of its delivery time.
Automating the Procurement Process
There has been a need for automation in the procurement process for a long time. This automation has come through the IoT sensors that were presented at the SAP Ariba event. They collect data from across multiple sources, then not only do they alert you of any anomaly, but they instantly help you get an estimate of the damage, as well as the cost of spare parts and repair to get the machinery up and running again.
An example we can take the use case of windmills in Denmark. They serve as a source of energy production, and have sensors attached to measure their performance in real-time. There is no need for engineers to go to the field and monitor the windmills every day. The sensors also alert the management of possible breakdowns, the reasons behind the breakdown and what should be done to get the windmill up and running. So, if the reason behind the breakdown is poor resistance to the forces of weather, the management can improve efficiency moving down the line, by incorporating more efficient methods.
President of SAP Ariba’s View on the Future of Procurement
The president of SAP Ariba, Barry Padgett was extremely hopeful about the use of digital means to making procurement better. He mentioned the use of AI techniques, including ML and DL, and how organizations could make a complete ecosystem through the use of other technological advances such as the Blockchain. The Blockchain comes in handy in identifying the person you’re doing business with. It authenticates the process and then gives a go-ahead signal for the future.
When asked about the trends that we can expect from the intelligent world in the future, Barry Padgett mentioned that he saw the growing use of digital technologies as a welcoming sign. He, however, said that the future wouldn’t be about these technologies themselves. As much as we talk about ML, AI, DL, the Blockchain and other technologies, he thinks the future is going to be about the advancements we make through these technologies. He mentioned, “I think we’ll hear less about all these technologies as we move on. We won’t have to talk about the technologies anymore, but will instead be talking about the cool things that organizations are doing with these technologies.”