Brexit Impact: How technology can help Procurement?

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Brexit: What will be the impact on Procurement?

As we move into the New Year, Procurement is faced with yet another year of Brexit uncertainty. Although nothing is certain, it appears that the United Kingdom is edging towards a withdrawal agreement with the European Union and the start of talks for a future free trade agreement.

To conclude our Brexit series on the possible impact and consequences for the procurement community, Richard Hogg, Managing Director, JAGGAER addresses questions raised by procurement professionals from a technology perspective.

Q1.  Will the end of free movement of people from the EU accelerate the development of new AI technologies? Or will businesses demand access to labour resources, perhaps from other parts of the globe?

Richard Hogg: Whilst the UK is a recognized leader in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) research I think it would be difficult (and potentially dangerous) to draw any direct correlation between an acceleration (or slow-down) in AI technology development and the UK’s imminent departure from the European Union.

With new technology like AI, as we engage with customers, we see the demand emerge in the latter phases of transformation. Many organizations still need to digitalize their contract management, supplier relationship management and purchase-to-pay activities before considering how AI can enhance process automation and decision-making, and potentially free up resources.

Any short-term constraints to resources resulting from restrictions on labour movement within the EU will require procurement organizations to  look at other solutions, for example by accessing previously untapped resources from within UK itself, or from any new trading and resource partners. Procurement organizations will also seek to exploit technology to enhance the capacity of existing staff.

Q2. To what extent can businesses leverage technology to mitigate some of the effects of Brexit, such as border delays for customer checks? Can the documentation go paperless?

Richard Hogg: While the baseline technologies for automating customs checks are certainly here today and already being delivered successfully in similar environments, the real challenges lie in the definition and crucially the acceptance of such standards in a highly political and emotive environment.

Newly evolving approaches are showing huge promise, such as blockchain customs clearance and compliance, which is rapidly gaining global traction for import-export activities.

In the long run, going paperless is not only possible, it is absolutely critical in today’s world of rapidly developing consumer expectations

Got more questions on Brexit, register for the live Q&A Panel discussion in 2020: “Brexit – WTF? – What’s the Fuss?“.
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