CIPS Supply Management Awards 2015: Most Innovative Use of Technology – IBM

Rebecca Ellinor Tyler is former editor of Supply Management
12 October 2015

With big plans for big data, the idea was to design an application to gather internally and externally available information on suppliers to make informed judgements. The resulting Supplier IQ application transformed IBM procurement.

The cloud-based tool uses Watson Analytics and Explorer software to evaluate unstructured information from social media and aggregator sites, as well as structured data with automated infographics, advanced analytics and benchmarking of a company’s financial viability against its peers. The automated way it collects and combines this information in real-time from multiple sources has reduced manual workload at IBM – it already has 600+ users.

Bob Murphy, IBM CPO and vice president of supply, said: “What took hours – even days to aggregate and analyse – now takes seconds. This is a game changer. The improvements to procurement, to enable a full and virtually instantaneous supply base understanding, and management are incredible. The buyers of today’s generation will wonder how their predecessors coped.”

Functionality includes a 360-degree view of a supplier’s size, stock performance, products, services, major customers, competitors, alliances, significant events, and more. It includes financial performance across 46 KPIs, holds IBM revenue (sell-side) and IBM spend (buy-side) information, has details of key stakeholders and supplier contacts, covers recent supplier news and more. Process simplification and automation improvements are expected to generate significant value for years to come.

Katherine Eason, CFO, IBM global procurement, said: “This gives our sourcing teams improved assurance in supplier selection and management activities,

which combined with our social listening and business continuity algorithms, will help to predict risk of supplier failures impacting our supply chain and that of our customers.”

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