A new survey presented by the University of Mannheim Business School, Germany, shows that companies see high impact of digital transformation for procurement.

During the past two decades, procurement has evolved from a clerical back office function to a strategic business function that orchestrates supply networks, drives innovation and growth, aligns business operations with companies' ethical and social values and manages risk. According to this study of chief procurement officers (CPOs), the next step of this evolution will be digital.

To explore the trends and challenges shaping the future of emerging technologies and understand how digital innovation is shaping the future of procurement, Christoph Bode and Jan Gruenen teamed up with SAP Ariba, Palo Alto, Calif., to conduct a large-scale survey of more than 460 procurement and operational leaders globally.

“Digitalization is on every CPO's agenda, but apparently there is a lack of clarity of how to realize the full potential of digitized procurement solutions,” says Bode, co-author of the report.

“Despite the roadblocks – budget restrictions, analytics and data insights and talent shortage – procurement leaders understand the urgency and importance of digitalization,” says Marcell Vollmer, chief digital officer, SAP Ariba. “And, it will be important for them to continue to look for ways to bring intelligence to spend management, evaluating new and emerging technologies and embracing innovations to elevate procurement's role in driving revenue and innovation and not just saving on costs.”