Eliminating the Fear of AI.
As procurement professionals across the globe embrace the Digital Transformation and all of the changes that come with it, it would be remiss not to mention the hesitancy and scepticism that P2P pros also experience when it comes to certain advanced technologies — in particular, artificial intelligence (AI). An unfounded fear looms over this forward-thinking automation, with workers and industries alike suspecting that AI will eliminate entirely the need for a human workforce. However, a recent webinar sponsored by Corcentric reveals just the opposite. The webinar, 3 Things P2P Pros Need to Know About AI, defines artificial intelligence, breaks down its specific capabilities and uncovers the key benefits it provides to procurement.
Defined as the ‘Holy Grail of Computer Science’ by Bill Gates, AI still remains to be mysterious terrain for most. Mark Brousseau, the host of the webinar, helps clear the air by giving us an altruistic definition of AI and its purpose. According to Mark, AI enables software and machines to understand tasks — allowing technology to perform human intelligence. AI is capable of:
- Understanding tasks
- Analyzing data sets and patterns
- Employing “machine learning”
- Training itself to recognize documents
- Information mining
- Monitoring business processes
From this list of capabilities alone, it becomes easier for P2P pros to understand how AI might be helpful to their line of work. Let’s review some of the key benefits that make artificial intelligence a tool to be desired, not feared.
AI Improves Productivity
P2P functions remain heavily dependent on manual processes, with most of a procurement professional’s time spent processing transactions rather than working on value-added tasks like cash flow analysis or supplier management. AI works to analyze large amounts of data, identify patterns and features within the data and applies what it learns to new data. This gives precious time back to procurement, empowering P2P pros to be more strategic in nature and plug away at identifying opportunities to improve upon operational efficiencies and effectiveness.
Better Cash Management
The world of P2P comes with a lot of data, and that is an understatement. Spreadsheets upon spreadsheets, paper reports, and file cabinets full of data that we’re never quite sure what to do with, or simply don’t have the time or resources to dissect. AI captures all of this data, helps us manage and make sense of it, and is capable of integrating with an array of other systems so that the data is easily transferred and visible across the organization. In turn, this “dark data” becomes something procurement can leverage to improve cash management.
AI: The Risk Mitigator
With payment fraud on the rise and an increasing number of government mandates to follow, procurement teams are under a microscope and a great deal of pressure when it comes to monitoring transactions and mitigating risk. And chances are slim that every piece of data can be tested for potential issues. AI is continuously running the background; providing constant data testing and monitoring and identifying any compliance issues.
So have no fear, AI is not a threat to procurement professionals. Rather, it will enable us to spend more time performing tasks that create added value, while also continuously working to improve process efficiencies and the overall effectiveness of the organization. Understanding the benefits provided to us by AI and forging a symbiotic relationship between human talent and technology is fundamental as the Digital Transformation progresses.