Insights & Ideas

How procurement professionals should use Gartner’s Hype Cycle

Accurate or not, Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Procurement and Sourcing Solutions always provokes a good discussion in the office.  


With expectations often high for new technologies, the reality is often a downer because the first or second generation of a vendor’s software isn’t ready for mass market.  That’s often expected, and accepted, by first-mover-status buyers as they seek to gain competitive advantage.  It’s the responsibility of the seller to ensure that products continue to mature, and meet the expectations of customers; otherwise, another company will come in with a better proposition.

So, how is procurement expected to use Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Procurement and Sourcing Solutions ? Well, for starters, it provides an overview of the different types of technologies that procurement professionals should consider now and in the future to support their ability to deliver business value.

A second way of using the hype cycle is to be reminded of the importance of having complete and accurate data. Of the 36 technologies placed on this year’s trajectory, not one can operate without data.  Therefore, when looking at your procurement organization’s technology roadmap, you need to factor in a data management strategy and data management program.  Otherwise, you’ll be buying a fleet of cars without the gas to drive them off the lot.

Going back to the 2017 hype curve, here are a few observations:

  • It appears that spend analytics - which provides visibility and insights for decision-makers to manage costs, compliance and risks - doesn’t warrant a place though customers tell us that there is a huge discrepancy among vendor solutions, ranging from manual spend analysis to automated spend analytics.
  • Procurement Savings Management (PSM) solutions have moved in the past 12 months, from “At the Peak” in last year’s hype curve to “Sliding into the Trough” today. This reflects the growing interest, and capability, of solutions to track and manage savings.
  • With much demand to incorporate information from external sources into reporting and analysis, I’m surprised not to see Gartner add Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) to the research firm’s hype curve.  Though a distant relative, Gartner does include “News Monitoring.”
  • We’re not surprised to see that “AI for Procurement” has been added to this year’s hype curve but we believe this technology has a number of years before it is “Entering the Plateau” since most procurement organizations are only just moving from reporting into the realm of analytics. 
  • We predict that “Robotic Process Automation” will take massive leaps and bounds over the next 18 months. Why? Because vendors are making big investments in developing this type of software to improve efficiencies.  Don’t be surprised to see RPB “Entering the Plateau” sooner than most of the technologies on the hype curve.

What are your views of Gartner’s most recent Hype Curve? Are you looking at any of the technologies and what’s been your experience with them?

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