A survey of more than 460 chief procurement officers (CPOs) conducted by SAP Ariba and the University of Mannheim in Germany found that the digitization trend in the procurement sector is likely to accelerate in 2019.

The findings reveal that 84% of CPOs consider digitization as important to improve the procurement function. Sixty-five percent are already leveraging cloud computing solutions and 28% consider their digital maturity as ahead of their competitors. Some of the goals for digitization include improving compliance, achieving cost savings, improving data quality and automating processes.

Despite this, less than 15% are adopting emerging technologies such as prescriptive analytic solutions, 3D printing and machine learning. Some of the problems in digitizing the procurement function include talent shortage, data insights and budget restrictions.

According to SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass chief digital officer Dr. Marcell Vollmer, the results indicate CPOs’ understanding of the urgency of digitization and the importance of transforming procurement into a strategic business function. He also said that organizations need to continue to raise the role of procurement from simply providing cost savings to driving innovation and revenue.