Dr Michael Ryan of the WHO recently made a powerful statement that resonated across the world.
"Be fast, have no regrets. You must be the first mover. The virus will always get you if you don't move quickly. If you need to be right before you move, you will never win. Perfection is the enemy of the good when it comes to emergency management. Speed trumps perfection."
With the world reeling from the impact of the coronavirus, healthcare professionals remain in the eye of the storm. However, swirling around the eye at speed are procurement and supply chain professionals striving to keep hospitals equipped, grocery stores replenished, and services functioning.It is not easy, and too much is expected of these personnel because those outside the profession don't fully understand the challenges. Speed trumps perfection, so mistakes are made and commentators complain that inadequate protective equipment has been received.
As sourcing personnel become overwhelmed, what they need most from technology solutions is not more data or 'actionable intelligence'; they need actioned intelligence where the software reduces the load and performs the work that would otherwise fall on the shoulders of over-burdened personnel. Actionable intelligence has become somewhat of a vacuous mantra from technology firms that are reselling glorified telephone directories in lieu of intelligent systems that apply the knowledge and information. It's high time that some darling startup firms grasped this nettle and focused less on the easy wins of data reselling that promise much bu fail to achieve the desired end goals for customers. The key challenge for enterprises in this age of disequilibrium and uncertainty is to be resilient. A key trait of resilient firms is that their speed of adaption exceeds their competitors. So, how can sourcing teams accelerate productivity not by 10% or 20%, but by 500% or even 1000%? William Gibson uttered the famous phrase "the future is already here. It's just not evenly distributed." For procurement professionals, Sourcing Automation is a novel creation, unique to Keelvar, that uses AI-enabled bots to fully automate sourcing processes using API calls to manage Keelvar's Sourcing Optimizer SaaS solution instead of a human user. It can process hundreds or even thousands of sourcing events daily; it is this kind of ambitious development that is truly worthy of the moniker of 'Digital Transformation'.
To be fast we need machines to do for procurement what the tractor did for agriculture: perform the heavy lifting and not simply 'actionable intelligence' telling the farmer where or when to plant.
Dr. Alan Holland lectured in Artificial Intelligence and Game Theory in University College Cork until 2012 when he left and founded Keelvar Systems. Keelvar is derived from a Gaelic word for sensible or intelligent.