Predicting the Future with Procurement

New survey reveals big data and predictive analytics drive smarter business decisions among global CPOs; results to be shared at SAP Ariba Live Prague June 12-14

PALO ALTO, Calif., April 10, 2017 – For years, companies have been collecting and analyzing massive amounts of information - everything from structured data on production, marketing, sales, HR, finance, facilities and operations to transaction-level data on suppliers, customers and partners. But big data is changing the game. And it promises to revolutionize procurement. According to the results of a new global survey conducted by the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt with support from SAP Ariba, leading procurement organizations across the United States and Europe are leveraging big data alongside predictive analytics to see the future and shape it to their advantage. The results of the measure will be shared at SAP Ariba Live, the premier global commerce conference that kicks off at the Hilton Prague June 12.

"The world has gone digital. And this is presenting new opportunities for businesses to predict and respond more effectively to customer and market demands," said Prof. Dr. Karsten Machholz, Strategic Procurement & SCM, the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt and co-author of Procurement Goes Digital.

To understand the priorities and challenges that global companies are facing on their path to go digital, the University of Applied Science Würzburg/Schweinfurt, in cooperation with SAP Ariba, conducted a survey of more than 650 leaders in procurement, finance and supply chain functions from organizations in North America and Europe between December 2016 and February 2017.

Among the key findings of the measure:

  • Big data and predictive analytics are the number one priority for procurement. When asked to rank the top five priorities for their organizations, a clear majority (72 percent) of respondents placed big data and predictive analytics in the top spot, followed by Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 (43 percent), automation (39 percent), cloud computing (38 percent) and business networks (33 percent).
  • Talent management is the number one challenge. The war for talent is being fought globally. And the ability to attract, develop and retain employees was cited as a key challenge by 55 percent of respondents in the US, 49 percent in Germany and 41 percent across the rest of Europe.
  • Automation will redefine the way procurement gets done. According to 73 percent of respondents across all regions and industries, automation will have a significant impact on operational tasks in procurement, making the function less tactical and more strategic.

“The digitalization of business is real, and it’s here to stay,” said Dr. Marcell Vollmer, Chief Digital Officer, SAP Ariba. “Networks and intelligence are the onramp to innovation and procurement and supply chain organizations that get on the highway and go fast stand poised to deliver it and drive their way to success.”

Thousands of procurement and supply chain, finance, IT, sales and marketing executives expected to attend SAP Ariba Live, where they can learn how to do just this. Reserve your place today at


SAP Ariba is how companies connect to get business done. On the Ariba Network, buyers and suppliers from more than 2.5 million companies and 190 countries discover new opportunities, collaborate on transactions and grow their relationships. Buyers can manage the entire purchasing process, while controlling spending, finding new sources of savings and building a healthy supply chain. And suppliers can connect with profitable customers and efficiently scale existing relationships – simplifying sales cycles and improving cash control along the way. The result is a dynamic, digital marketplace, where more than $1 trillion in commerce gets done every year. To learn more about SAP Ariba, visit


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