Can a purchase order have a brain?  What happens if we layer Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and robotics with common procurement documents and traditional sourcing practices?

To boot, YOU can configure, design and implement solutions thanks to a number of new products making waves in the market. A few examples are Seal’s Contract Discovery, Ariba’s Spot Buy, and TinderBox’s Propose.

Cognitive software already reaches into data to link options and recommendations for managers. Automating decisions and fusing them with the dynamic traits of a Sourcing-pro will likely create new and wonderful business animals. Procurement leaders that dial into these hybrids exploit advantages for themselves and their teams with the ultimate goal of bringing more dramatic value to their business.

Enter the Age of the Sourcing-Bot, where algorithmic discoveries become the brain and heart of ordinary documents. Tom Linton, Chief Procurement Officer for Flextronics, inspires the Soucing-Bot vision. He describes symbolically (and politics aside) how animals in the wild adapt to planet earth’s atmosphere getting warmer. The timing is curiously aligned with the rise of the Internet where upside potential for tech trends like mobility, cloud, and big data is white hot.

Tom states nature adapts to form“new hybrids across the environmental spectrum in response to rising temperatures.” For example, Polar bears work their way south because they’re losing land and ice, while Grizzlies migrate north to cooler regions. Each is responding to new norms and together they’re creating more adaptive beings. Pop culture calls them Grolar bears (or P-grizzlies). But, funny names aside, he suggests that “Hybrids combine the best features of two species to make them more likely to survive in a new environment.”

So how are Sourcing leaders adapting to the hybridization phenomenon?

In my next blog, guest contributor Pierre Mitchell of Spend Matters will have a conversation with us to dive deeper into how documents can and should have a state of awarenessTheir movement is triggered by metadata relevant to your business and the result makes them appear full of life. We’ll highlight how this helps us get closer to influencing business outcomes in fashionable and innovative ways; how to do it with less process friction; and where the permutations are not just hybrids but limitless!

Doug Seward is the Senior Manager for Sourcing at DocuSign and a regular contributor to our Thought Leadership Blog series. His sources for this publication are Procurement Leaders, Spend Matters’ Pierre Mitchell, and DocuSign’s world class user conference known as Momentum. This article is the second in a three part series that comments on how technology is influencing procurement. The first is called The 21st Century Sourcing Pro.  Join the discussion and let us know your thoughts below.