Practitioners in procurement jobs in 2020 must upgrade and develop skills in analytics and modelling, strategic thinking and emerging digital technologies to meet the challenges that the profession will face this coming year, a new study from The Hackett Group recommends.

The new ‘Procurement Key Issues’ study identifies two major challenges that most professionals in procurement jobs (including procurement interims) will face in 2020: improving internal and external cost reductions and developing a ‘strategic advisor to the business’ status to add greater value to their organisations.

Meeting these challenges, the report states, will rely heavily on better analytics, which will become a significant focus for procurement in 2020.

Laura Gibbons, director of research at The Hackett Group, explained that businesses facing new economic uncertainties now require procurement to bring extra value to the table in new ways. 

Organisations simply have to become more agile to survive in this new turbulent era, and procurement must adapt to these needs.

Cost efficiency and value, she continued, have been propelled to top-priority status largely through new capabilities offered by advances in digital transformation, technological infrastructure upgrades and new analytics.

Procurement teams have invested significantly in all of these areas in recent years, she added, and corporate executives now want to see a return on that investment.

The report identifies five critical capability gaps that personnel in procurement and supply chain jobs will need to address in 2020: enhancing procurement’s agility, building trusted business advisor status, bringing procurement skills and talents into line with business priorities, updating application platforms, and developing new analytical and reporting capabilities.

Noting that historical procurement challenges of funding and resource insufficiencies, plus feeble commitment from business executives for procurement transformation, are no longer pressing issues, The Hackett Group’s global procurement advisory practice leader Chris Sawchuk said:

“…many of the hurdles we’re seeing are now areas that procurement can change and improve, like critical skill deficiencies in analytics & modelling, technology and strategic thinking as well as overall data related issues.”

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