One of the strongest IT urgencies today is to use software to automate as much of the supply chain as possible. But, the supply chain is a vast and complex series of tasks that has thus far daunted many of the software vendors and IT professionals contemplating its automation. Many organizations have come to the conclusion that it's not realistic to automate the entire chain at the moment. They have decided, instead, to focus on the procurement links of the chain. This focus explains why the term "supply chain" is so often misappropriated of late; most people uttering the term really have procurement – or even a subset of procurement – in mind.

Procurement is certainly a good place to start with supply chain automation, because it is fairly well understood as a business practice, amenable to software automation and a complicated business process that many corporations and government agencies would like to improve with automation.

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