Insights for Procure-to-Pay and Finance Leaders

The age of the marketplace: perspectives from Tradeshift’s Innovation Summit

What’s your marketplace strategy? That’s the question we asked at our most recent Innovation Summit in New York City. The event, which was stacked with exciting insights from Tradeshift, its network of customers, and industry leaders, offered a glimpse into the future of procurement and the innovations driving a shift in the industry. We’ve captured the event’s biggest highlights.

The rise of the private marketplace

Private marketplaces hosted on a network that connect sellers with multiple buyers are breathing new life into the stagnant world of procurement. Christian Laang, CEO and co-founder at Tradeshift, explained how they’re redefining the corporate buying experience by giving buyers complete control over their supply chain with a flexible solution to meet every procurement scenario.

This is solving issues that have blighted procurement for decades. Lanng used content as an example. He explained how marketplaces facilitate better content by making it simple for sellers to showcase their goods or services and connect in real time to a network of buyers.

“If they can connect with multiple buyers and scale their business, they have an incentive to carefully curate their content,” he said. So while developments around search functionality by some vendors are putting a band-aid over broken procurement practices, private marketplaces are redefining procurement from the bottom up, generating value with every transaction.

Apps, apps, and more apps

“Apps are a breakthrough in procurement technology,” said Tradeshift CPO and Digital Transformation Officer, Roy Anderson. He spoke about how apps allow procurement to curate the buying experiences for individuals in the organization, giving buyers a solution they’ll want to use. “And when they’re using it and following policy, procurement is back in control, rather than wasting time chasing miscellaneous spend,” he said.

And that’s not all, apps provide procurement with limitless opportunity to innovate and drive value. Just imagine having everything your procurement team needs on a single platform. And imagine being able to respond to changing business needs at the click of a button. That’s what you get with apps. If the marketplace is a game changer, a marketplace powered by apps is a revolution.

Intelligent procurement

When using a private marketplace hosted on a fully digitized platform, procurement suddenly has access to data—lots of data. And we’re putting this data to work with Ada, our AI layer. Thijs Stalenhoef, SVP of Global Product at Tradeshift, showed how Ada gives procurement teams deep insights into what’s happening across the supply chain, supporting strategic decision making.

Ada also assists with tactical items like helping buyers make better choices. It does this by offering intelligent suggestions based on their current needs. For example, if they’re trying to buy a $1000 TV, Ada can suggest cheaper alternatives with similar specifications. This will save procurement time rejecting the request later on, and promote more considered buying behavior across the organization.

All this is just the start. Stalenhoef outlined why the biggest problem in global trade is trust. And how with Ada, we think we can use data to generate trust between unknown counterparties around the world to help business grow and trade with confidence.

Talent lives in the market

Procurement has a talent crisis. Around 30 percent of procurement professionals are near retirement age. And there’s few young professional repopulating the industry. In the near future, there might not be enough talent to go around.

Fear not, there’s a solution to this problem. Talent can live in the networked marketplace. So rather than hiring subject matter experts, you can tap into the marketplace and find one at the click of a button. This is a gamechanger for the CPO, and will mean your supply chain talent is as flexible and fluid as your supply chain strategy.

Of course, you’ll still need in-house staff. And if you want to attract the best talent you must be able to sell a role in your procurement department to the younger generation, said Professor Don Klock from Rutgers – State University of New Jersey. And to do this you’ll need technology that resonates with the younger, digitally-native generation: they want to collaborate on meaningful and rewarding jobs, not plug away at mundane manual tasks. Technology like AI and marketplaces help attract and maintain a talented workforce eager to innovate.

It’s time to disrupt procurement

The future of procurement is here, and it’s exciting. It’s time for you to take the initiative and be courageous driving the future of the supply chain within your organizations. Yes, we know change is hard, but with the right partner and platform, everything is possible.

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