Heading towards 2024: 5 Intellectual Services Procurement Trends to Follow 

The rise of B2B marketplaces, the increasing prevalence of freelancing, and the growing emergence of responsible procurement were some of the trends in intellectual services procurement that we had anticipated for 2023. It’s safe to say that our predictions were accurate!

But what about 2024? What are the new developments that will disrupt this procurement category, and what significant changes should we anticipate? Once again, we’ve delved into the exercise of prospective analysis, and today, we present our selection of the 5 trends that, in our view, will shape intellectual services procurement in this new year.

#1 Integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Procurement

The AI onslaught is evidently poised to impact intellectual services procurement. It is expected to introduce new disciplines like “predictive procurement“, already enabling anticipation and optimization of procurement decisions.

The integration of AI into procurement processes is anticipated to revolutionize sourcing and providers selection, contract management, risk detection, and solution personalization. This offers increased efficiency and more informed decision-making.

At LittleBig Connection, we believe in fully embracing the opportunities presented by AI, which is why we are making it a new key innovation. For instance, we are currently exploring the development of an AI writer to assist our clients in formalizing their bids. It will be available very soon!

#2 Rapid Internationalization of Skills Sourcing

The skills shortage, especially in technology and IT fields, is unlikely to diminish in 2024. Consequently, more companies are expected to turn internationally to source their intellectual service providers.

The development of new tech hubs worldwide creates valuable pools of talent for companies seeking specialized skills. Notable examples include Vietnam, now a reference in software development, Colombia, hosting numerous innovative tech startups, and of course, India, emerging as the largest pool of IT talent globally, particularly in cutting-edge expertise like artificial intelligence. Companies will undoubtedly increasingly invest in these destinations, focusing on outsourcing rather than offshoring, targeting highly qualified profiles.

Moreover, many large corporations are investing in Asian countries or even Portugal to establish Shared Service Centers (SSCs), Global Capabilities Centers (GCCs), and Centers of Excellence (CoEs).

#3 Increasing Use of VMS (Vendor Management System)

François Tourrette, President of Brapi (Benchmark of Intellectual Services Procurement Managers), predicts widespread adoption of Vendor Management System (VMS) tools. “Today, many clients are interested in VMS, and I think by the end of 2023 and early 2024, there will be a generalization in the use of these solutions” he stated in an article for Republik Achat.

Facing rising expenses in intellectual services, organizations increasingly require efficient management tools. Conventional procurement tools typically aren’t suited to the specificities of this procurement category.

Consequently, it is highly probable that more companies will turn to specialized solutions like VMS, offering numerous advantages for buyers. VMS digitalizes and centralizes the management of all service procurement, enabling real-time expense tracking, supplier panel management, and automation of contractual and billing processes.

#4 Rise of Freelancer Loyalty Initiatives

The 2023 edition of our survey, “Companies that Inspire Freelancers” clearly revealed intense competition among companies to attract and retain top independent workers. These freelancers represent highly strategic resources that need to be nurtured similarly to full-time employees.

In 2024, many companies are expected to develop an employer brand dedicated to freelance profiles. Expect communication initiatives to enhance the attractiveness of offered missions, promote company culture and values, and provide specific benefits.

Likewise, there will be actions aimed at improving the “freelance experience,” akin to the “employee experience.” Companies will strive to create a professional environment where freelancers feel valued, fully integrated, and their well-being is prioritized, all aimed at fostering loyalty.

#5 Surge in Demand for Sustainable Transformation Intellectual Services

As we highlighted a year ago, more companies prioritize social and environmental responsibility (CSR) and integrate ethical practices into their business models. In procurement, this translates to an upsurge in responsible buying policies and, notably, the emergence of a new category of intellectual services: those related to companies’ sustainable transition.

This trend is expected to accelerate in 2024, witnessing a surge in demand for expertise in climate strategy, carbon footprinting, green IT, diversity, and inclusion policies. We extensively explored this subject in our white paper this year, titled “Sustainable Transition: Expertise to Develop for Transforming Your Company“.

Experts in these fields remain scarce in the market, and companies will undoubtedly intensify efforts to attract and retain these specialized and valuable talents.

Therefore, 2024 is shaping up to be a pivotal period for intellectual services procurement. From the growing integration of artificial intelligence to the rapid internationalization of skills sourcing, coupled with increased efforts to retain freelancers, companies need to prepare for a profound transformation in their practices!