“Autonomous Procurement” Is A Really Dumb Idea

Original article was published by Bertrand Maltaverne on Artificial Intelligence on Medium


What do we want?

With great power comes great responsibility.

We should not ignore the transformative impact of technology. As I already mentioned, jobs (and not work) are being transformed, and the space occupied by technology is growing. Therefore, the spectrum of activities that machines perform or take part in changes and will continue to change:

From the book “Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI” by Paul Daugherty & H. James Wilson

And, in fact, automating transactional activities is not a new thing in Procurement. For example, P2P automation has been around for decades.

The shift we observe raises important questions about control, trust, and accountability:

The fact that technology has a profound impact is something that cannot be negated. I am not saying that we should stop investigating new technologies because of that. What we have to do though, is to think about how we want to put them to use. That we make informed decisions based on a long-term approach and not just short term gains. We have to have a strategy for the economy and procurement (Next:Economy & Next:Procurement).

This strategy and overall approach, as highlighted by Barrels, and in an article that I wrote in 2016 (taking from a famous duo…), is not to see people as the enemy but as an asset:

So yes, Procurement People: live long and prosper!