New research from Dun & Bradstreet has found that practitioners holding procurement jobs and supply chain jobs, as well as their compliance specialist colleagues, are not as confident about overseeing third party relationships effectively in a context of ever-rising cybersecurity threats and fast-growing implementation of artificial intelligence tech.

85% of the procurement and compliance professionals polled expressed confidence that their organisation’s risk management procedures were effective, representing a fall of eight percentage points on the preliminary survey.

84% predicted a weakening in the future effectiveness of compliance and procurement functions.

48% agreed that cybersecurity risks were a top priority but reported that their organisation’s response had been worryingly slow and had not yet incorporated third party risk management.

AI was also a source of growing concern. While more than half (53%) accept that AI will deliver efficiencies and grant better insights into procurement and compliance functions, 45% were not confident that they possessed the requisite skills to extract best value from this technology over the next year. This is an indication that further training and a new emphasis on talent growth are urgently needed.

These are clearly concerns that affect all who hold procurement jobs, whether as permanent staff of as procurement interims. But respondents in smaller firms with less than 50 employees were markedly less confident about managing third party risks than those in larger enterprises with between 251 and 1000 employees.

Commenting, Dun & Bradstreet’s General Manager of Third Party Risk and Compliance, Brian Alster, said:

“Third-party risk management and compliance programs can’t remain stagnant.  As technology changes and the amount of data companies are expected to manage when mitigating risk increases, procurement and compliance professionals need to drive greater efficiencies within their programs.  Cyber security and Artificial Intelligence are two key areas of concern and we were keen to explore these in our latest survey.”

Procurement recruitment agencies may need to intensify their efforts to source AI-savvy candidates for forthcoming procurement jobs.

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