While many solutions providers in the procuretech space have focused their efforts on automating or simplifying operational procurement, my guest this week is from a company who have used this technology to bring AI-driven benefits to the spend analysis process.
Instead of just providing a spend dashboard, Simfoni is seeking to distinguish itself from an increasingly crowded marketplace by offering spend classification, a suggested savings roadmap and risk analysis all in one.
We discuss how this can lead to faster decision making, as well as exploring some of the limitations where the procurement skills of the person managing the category will still come into play.
Just like a pilot’s relationship with an aeroplane’s auto-pilot capabilities, AI can do the heavy lifting, but the nuanced expertise of the procurement professional is vital.
Leveraging AI to Power Smarter Spend Intelligence: Sreeram Venkitakrishnan from Simfoni
What is AI-powered spend intellgence?
I ask Sreeram whether AI capabilities are really that advanced when it comes to classification of PO data and the ability to categorise vendors and individual POs into taxonomies or buckets of similar spend.
Can a machine or artificial intelligence perform risk analysis? Or is it more around accelerating decision making through making certain pieces of data more accessible?
We explore how using AI and machine learning can locate the most lucrative cost savings opportunities, which could vastly speed up the amount of time to come up with an expense reduction roadmap from an initial spend analysis.
Sreeram explains the concept of “should cost analysis”, and how market intelligence can be utilised to project what direct materials should cost based on market price intelligence and various sources of commodity price data.
We discuss how tools like this can facilitate the ability to “hit the ground running” in a new category management position, especially in cases where Buyers and CMs don’t have experience of purchasing that particular category before. Will Simfoni and similar tools enable access to more roles for experienced Category Managers with a more generalist background?
Of the 3 key pillars that Simfoni offers, I ask Sreeram his thoughts on which of them will have the most profound impact over the years to come.
I muse about some of the same topics coming up in several different interviews that I’ve done for the podcast and how this is very unlikely to be a coincidence! If you want to stay relevant, ensure you’re aware of what these are!
How to connect with Sreeram:
How to connect with James: