A survey of more than 400 procurement, supply chain and finance decision makers in the UK, US, France and Germany found that nearly 55% of respondents were ready to invest heavily in artificial intelligence (AI) while another 25% will be making minor investments to ascertain the return on investment.

Those looking for procurement jobs should note that nearly 36% of decision-makers stated that their staff did not have the skills to interpret data effectively. This implies that procurement professionals looking to change their jobs may benefit from getting in-depth knowledge of data analytics. It would improve their employability and make them more attractive to organisations looking to invest in AI.

The surveyed leaders were of the opinion that the biggest challenge to contend with while adopting AI systems and practices is the poor quality of the existing data.

The research found that nearly 59% of the respondents felt that poor enterprise data quality makes it next to impossible for AI to make accurate decisions. This lack of precision has led many individuals in the procurement recruitment to argue that AI might not show as much value for money as optimists currently predict.

The study also found that improving data quality was not an easy task for organisations. About 44% of the respondents did not have access to the necessary data, 43% stated that there was no harmony between data sets, and 41% claimed that inaccuracies made it extremely challenging to improve data quality.

Some of the leaders surveyed (44%) claimed that they did not have the necessary support of C-Suite management, and also felt that their organisations would not get full value from investing in AI due to the immaturity of the available programmes.

When it comes to AI applications, most respondents agreed that it was beneficial for alerting procurement staff and suppliers of any disruptions in the supply chain, flagging non-compliance among suppliers, and identifying fraud. Above all, AI was said to be most effective in getting approval for purchases and automating the invoicing process.

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