Procurement: The Rise of Intelligent Bots

Bots are being used by companies to reduce costs, save time and make their processes more efficient. They also enable faster and more accurate responses to employee and customer queries.
Thanks to the adoption of bots, organizations in all industries can provide 24/7 service to customers.
Larger enterprises are increasingly using bots. Fortune Business Insights recently reported that the global chatbot market will grow from USD 396.2 Million in 2019 to USD 1953.3 Million in 2027.
We are receiving more inquiries from smaller and mid-sized organizations interested in bots, due to the advancements in AI (Robotic Process Automation), and the increasing affordability intelligent technologies.
They want to provide the same level of service that larger companies have been able for years, but with a 24-hour availability.
The various types of bots
We deal with two types of bots at apsolut. The conversational AI (CAI) is the first, and is also known as a chatbot. Chatbots allow you to communicate with your system using your natural language, whether it is voice or typing.
The RPA bot is the second type. It is designed to perform specific tasks. These tasks are often repetitive and simple. For example, going to a mailbox and extracting a PDF invoice. Then, moving the document into the procurement system. RPA automates predefined workflows, but when combined with machine learning (ML), it can understand the likely outcomes and make its own decisions.
SME procurement can be freed up for value-add tasks
Intelligent bots are becoming increasingly popular in small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). To streamline business processes and answer employee questions. Bots can be used to automate repetitive tasks, and act as digital assistants that make employees more productive at their jobs.
Bots are being increasingly used in procurement. Procurement specialists deal a lot with lots of data and can spend a lot time searching for information. Also, procurement deals with repetitive tasks such as processing purchase requisitions and invoices. Bots can do these tasks more efficiently, allowing procurement to focus on more value-add projects.
How SME procurement departments use bots
Chatbots are being used by SMEs to automate basic procurement tasks. Answering questions like “How do you create your purchase requisition? Who still needs to approve it?” is one example. We are already seeing mature midmarket companies using bots for 80-90% of their processes, particularly in procure to-pay (p2p).
Bots are becoming more popular because they can handle more complicated tasks in the source-to contract area. Sending out RFPs and negotiating small volume contracts. Bots are becoming more capable and we expect them to be able in the near future to perform more complex core purchasing tasks such as complex negotiations.
Mid-sized companies tend to create more intelligent RPA/ML robots to perform specific tasks. They will often build another bot to automate a second task. There is rarely communication between bots. This is changing. Bots are becoming more interconnected, and evolving into digital assistants. This trend is expected to become mainstream in the coming years.
What is ProBo?
ProBo, an RPA chatbot, is available in Microsoft Teams. It makes it faster and easier for users create and complete SAP Ariba purchase requisitions and approve work items. Because MS Teams is a single point-of-entry, we used it.

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