Last month I joined procurement leaders from both public and private institutions at the New York City CPO Event. I was thrilled to be included among some of the visionaries who are redefining procurement’s role in the modern enterprise. Here’s a few thoughts shared by the procurement professionals on the panel discussion we sponsored called “Supplier Collaboration: Driving Value, Innovation and Growth.”

Suplari has helped procurement organizations solve complex business challenges – for both mid-size and large, global enterprises. We’ve seen the value of collaboration, not just between members of the procurement team, but with leaders from finance and other departments, and even the suppliers themselves. But even the best teams can’t work together unless they have access to the same supplier data. Here’s a few quick takeaways from the panel discussion.

Lack of access to information undermines efforts to collaborate

With the complexity of managing global supply chain, it’s all procurement can do to stay informed on the status of the top-tier suppliers. Even when suppliers, internal stakeholders and the procurement team have access to supplier data, it’s most certainly spread across a variety of financial, contractual and sourcing systems.

Procurement teams may not be experienced in using advanced analytics. They rarely have time to extract data from these systems, clean, normalize it, and generate customized reports to get a complete picture of supplier performance. When different parts of the organization don’t have access to the same information at the same time, it not only undermines collaboration efforts, it can leave financial risks unexposed.

AI makes it easier to partner with suppliers

Collaborating with other departments makes it easier to align to the CFO’s goals. And collaboration starts with sharing information – not only among procurement professionals, but with senior leadership from other functional areas of the business.

As an example, consider one of our first customers, a large luxury department store retailer. This customer knew that to complete with giants like Amazon they had to manage their tail spend more effectively and dig deeper into their supplier data to find additional cost savings.

Using Suplari’s AI-powered Spend Intelligence app, the customer was able to integrate financial forecasting, inventory management, and pricing into a single point of view of supplier performance. That capability did a lot to facilitate inter-department workflow. And finance improved their ability to accurately forecast and plan purchases.

Focus on strategy – automate everything else

By automating mundane, repetitive, low-value tasks like data cleansing and normalization, procurement can be redeployed to work with finance and suppliers to plan further ahead, avoid unnecessary risks and identify new opportunities for cost savings: initiatives that move the needle.

I’d love to hear your perspective on the importance of collaboration in a modern procurement organization. Reach out to me and my team at info@suplari.com.