Artificial Intelligence Technology

161: Sourcing Optimization is About Visibility, Not Complexity w/ Alan Holland

Welcome to today’s Art of Procurement interview powered by SIG.

Today I’m delighted to be joined by Alan Holland, the founder and CEO of Keelvar. Given that Alan has a degree in computer engineering, a PhD in artificial intelligence, and has worked as a research fellow and a lecturer, he is probably one of the most qualified people in procurement to answer my first question, “What really is AI?”

“It’s not that AI has made any massive advances in the last two or three years. It’s just that people are starting to join the dots between various subsystems in AI and come up with applications that when you take these pieces and put them together you’ve got an overall system that’s extremely powerful.” – Alan Holland

Highlights from the Show Include:

  • Alan explains how the evolutionary journey of AI goes back far further – and is changing much slower – than most of us would guess.
  • Observations about how the prevalence of smartphones and other connected devices may prevent the current AI hype cycle from returning to ‘AI winter’ like it has in the past.
  • The most efficient way to trade with anybody via a reverse or forward auction is to allow bidders greater freedom of expression.
  • Sourcing optimization tools shouldn’t be so hard to use that you need a PhD candidate to serve as your interpreter.
  • Procurement is sitting at an AI tipping point – today there are about seven stages in the sourcing process and just two out of the seven are typically automated.

Links and Resources:

About the author

Philip Ideson

Philip Ideson is passionate about the role that procurement professionals and leaders can plan in creating competitive advantage for their organizations in ways that go beyond the traditional value proposition.

Philip founded Art of Procurement as a way for the procurement community to learn from each other, increasing the impact they have on their organizations. In 2017, he co-founded Palambridge, a virtual platform of procurement experts, technology, and intelligence. Palambridge provides a broad range of flexible procurement solutions, available on-demand.

Prior to Art of Procurement and Palambridge, Philip enjoyed a career that spanned the procurement value chain, working across three continents for organizations such as Accenture, Procurian, Ally Financial, Pfizer and Ford Motor Company.