Category strategy automation masterclass: the topic in procurement today


This year, the most popular “masterclass” at ProcureCon EU was Cirtuo’s “From myth to reality: Cracking the code on category strategy automation.” AI-based systems were a hot topic of discussion, with many attendees excited about how AI can augment and transform category management. The dialogue with the audience was a highlight of the event, and it was clear that everyone left with a greater understanding of how Cirtuo AI-powered category management software can be used to deliver next-generation procurement strategies.

The Masterclass provided insights on how business strategies, specifically category strategies in procurement, benefit by improving supply, service quality, diversity/ innovation, and sustainability assurance. Cirtuo’s CEO, Drasko Jelavic, covered topics on strategy development, focusing on three core areas:

Procurement strategy

  • Growth
  • Profitability
  • Shareholder value

Category Strategy

  • Value
  • Cost
  • Risk

Supplier strategy

  • Performance
  • Relationship
  • Risk


Drasko also articulates how category strategies in procurement drive Organizational development through implementing procurement transformation strategies that focus on:

  • People and skills
  • Organization
  • Processes
  • Governance
  • Digitization
  • Diversity


AI will augment and not replace humans

Will AI replace humans? Probably not. People and AI both bring different abilities and strengths to the table. The real question is: how can human intelligence work with artificial intelligence produce augmented intelligence? AI will augment and not replace humans or category managers due to ML input management, whereby humans must oversee and occasionally correct AI-produced output. The output control on category strategies produced by a system is a suggestion that a human must always review. Moreover, knowledge contribution is required as no AI system possesses “common knowledge,” or knowledge of the world we humans learn through life. Lastly, context contextualization depends on humans fine-tuning strategies and deriving “actionability from AI-supported recommendations. 

The future of procurement strategy automation

Machine learning has already begun to revolutionize the field of procurement with its ability to process and analyze vast amounts of data. Machine-executed actions based on these insights can help organizations save time and resources while improving decision-making. However, the true potential of AI in procurement has yet to be fully realized. The next generation of AI-powered procurement software will become increasingly able to help translate data into insights and machine-executed actions. In addition, AI will help extrapolate future developments from historical data for better recommendations. The application of AI will be less generic and more attuned to the idiosyncrasies of categories. As AI continues to evolve, it will transform the landscape of procurement strategy automation.

The ProcureCon EU “From myth to reality: Cracking the code on category management strategy” was a truly enjoyable experience, and Cirtuo looks forward to presenting again next year. Discussing how AI-based systems will augment, not replace, category managers but help them deliver more strategies with better outcomes and faster results! What are your thoughts?

Thank you to all those who participated in today’s Masterclass. It was truly enjoyable to host you; please visit us at Booth 12 today at ProcureCon EU, and hopefully, we will see you after!

If you want to keep up with industry insights, be sure to follow Cirtuo’s Linkedin page.

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Mark Webb, CEO of Future Purchasing, provided a glimpse into the current state of adopting Category Management in his session on “Category Management in action: a study of implementation and impact across industry”. Based on a 2022 survey conducted globally, he shared some statistics on the overall adoption and maturity of category management that were hard to digest. 75% of respondents were classified as Starters and only 5% as Leaders.

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