For several years now, Spend Matters has been collecting and publishing a series of articles about predictions and insights on procurement, supply and services trends for the year ahead from expert tech and service providers in the market.
This year is no different and we’ve framed the subject around “insights,” highlighting providers’ observations from the year they’ve left behind and how they see these observations shaping the year ahead.
This series will run from mid-December to mid-January, then our analyst Bertrand Maltaverne will wrap up with his own take on the key themes that emerge.
In no order of preference, other than by the date they dropped into our digital letterbox, today let’s hear from James Stirk, Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing at Tradeshift.
Supply chains face an acute liquidity crunch
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine put an end to any hope that 2022 might offer some respite from the enormous turbulence impacting supply chains over the past two years. Data from our Index of Global Trade Health shows global order volumes have slowed significantly since the beginning of the year as inflation bites and demand wanes. Early indications suggest this pattern will continue into at least the first half of 2023 as large parts of the world enter recession. Large organizations cannot battle macroeconomic headwinds, instead, they need to learn from mistakes early in the pandemic and be proactive about protecting the financial integrity of their supply chains. Businesses should think very carefully before passing liquidity pressure onto suppliers through extended payment terms. I also expect to see a big rise in demand for embedded finance services that can unlock huge amounts of liquidity from outstanding receivables, enabling suppliers to manage their cash flow much better and more predictably.
B2B marketplaces will come of age
We’ve seen an explosion in interest around our B2B marketplace proposition in 2022, and we’re expecting a further acceleration in 2023. In a world where more than 40% of consumer online purchases happen on marketplaces, the often byzantine processes that dominate corporate purchasing are looking ever outdated compared to the convenience we expect when we buy from consumer platforms. A new generation of procurement professionals sees B2B marketplaces as a way to embed efficiency, convenience and control at every stage of the buying process. The marketplace model is also becoming central to boardroom conversations around supply chain resilience and sustainability, thanks to the end-to-end visibility they provide. This helps explain why B2B marketplaces sales have increased more than fivefold between 2020 and 2022. I can easily see that growth rate doubling in the year ahead.
Digitalization will top the CFO agenda, but talent will keep them awake at night
Recession or not, the digitalization juggernaut shows no signs of slowing in 2023. A recent study of financial leaders we carried out found that three-quarters of CFOs are planning to increase spending on technology over the coming year. Process automation will remain a primary focus for organizations looking to offset rising labor costs through greater efficiency. Long-term demographic shifts mean that most developed nations must be much smarter about how they attract, retain and deploy employees in such a competitive international marketplace for talent. The majority of CFOs we spoke to saw data and insight as the biggest prize on offer from digital transformation. Automating low-value and repetitive tasks frees up huge reserves of human capital, but employees will need the skills and training to extract the value and insight that new technologies provide to future-looking enterprises.
Thanks to Tradeshift for being a part of the series.
Look out for more Spend Matters Insights for the year ahead over the coming weeks.
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