How BT and Globality Achieved Cost Savings with Gen AI

How did BT go about using AI powered sourcing software to make cost savings with partner Globality?

Procurement Magazine spoke with Seth Catalli, the Chief Revenue Officer of Globality, Inc, to discuss the use of AI-powered autonomous sourcing software. Catalli explains how they helped one of its flagship clients, BT, to drive efficiencies and savings across its multi-billion pound annual spend.

Can you tell us who you are and a bit about yourself?

My name is Seth Catalli. I joined Globality from UiPath, where I was a Senior Vice President and had grown a sales team to 72 people globally, leading up to and through that company’s very successful IPO. Prior to that, I was Vice-President for Sales at SAP, and have led global sales functions at Workday and Oracle.

What did you see as the opportunity at Globality?

Many years of working with enterprise customers have taught me there is no room for software technology that does not add significant business value. When I met the Globality founders and saw how much their customers love the product and its AI technology, I knew this was a unique company with a huge opportunity to transform the spend management market.

Seth Catalli Globality Chief Revenue Officer (Credit: Twitter)

Your company has the likes of Tesco, Santander and adidas as customers, but you’re showcasing your BT success story right now. Is that correct?

The reason we are discussing our partnership with BT is that we just had an amazing on-the-record conversation about our engagement on The Spend Sessions—a new podcast I host, where the big issues around how leading global companies manage their company spend are aired.

Can you tell me more about the discussion with BT?

The discussion was with BT Group’s Chief Procurement Officer and CEO of BT Sourced, Cyril Pourrat. 

The context here is that as part of BT’s most recent re-organisation to better service its huge market of retail and business telco customers, in 2021 the firm decided to set up a specialised internal procurement function, BT Sourced, to optimise procurement.

The discussion centred around how BT is using gen AI to better manage its multi-billion global spend. It says in just two years it is consistently reaping 10-plus percent annual savings in indirect spend alone. Globality’s autonomous sourcing platform now manages two-third of BT’s overall £13bn annual spend—a percentage that BT wants to increase over time to 100%.

BT Call Centre Newcastle (Credit: BT)

What’s unique about BT Sourced?

BT Sourced was set up in 2021 and is a new, digital-native organisation. It has a specific remit of redefining procurement from top to bottom. Cyril was tasked with discarding conventional approaches and seeking innovative alternatives to the traditional Fortune 100 corporation methods of procuring goods and services.

The context for that is, as a major UK company and one of Europe’s largest technology companies, BT faces critical spend management challenges. Key to that is getting a better handle on project spend and buying the goods and services the organisation needs to operate at massive, enterprise-levels. 

Managing billions of pounds, efficient execution stands out as a crucial differentiator in delivering genuine value to customers and shareholders. To do that, from day one BT Sourced has been dedicated to radically simplify its processes and really push to change the way BT works with suppliers.

BT Sourced has embraced an innovative approach to procurement skills, bringing in IT, Networks, Connectivity, and Services experts to complement the efforts of an expanding team of procurement analytics and transformation specialists.

Can you explain how AI maps on to the procurement process?

The challenge is in achieving the economies of scale and efficiency required to operate at a digitally-transformed business scale. BT's solution aligns with a trend I foresee more C-Suites prioritising this year—leveraging intelligent use of data, analytics, and new technologies.

The cornerstone of intelligent procurement is the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a new autonomous sourcing model. In fact, AI-enabled sourcing is already making a huge impact for BT. In the 2023 financial year alone, BT Sourced managed over 400 projects on the Globality platform, automating admin-heavy tasks and cutting go-to-market time for delivery that made a difference in overall performance.

That means we now provide comprehensive support for all types of sourcing scenarios, including RFP, RFI, RFQ, Sole Source, Delivery of Staffing, Supplier Panel, and more. Our capability extends to building and structuring custom requirements, as well as capturing responses from suppliers in various formats, including free text, multiple choice, or matrix.

These functionalities are made even more helpful to BT Sourced via extensive use of an easy-to-use, consumer-like interface, that utilises GenAI and natural language processing (NLP) technology built from the ground up to help buyers find the right supplier more quickly and productively. As Cyril confirms, autonomous sourcing achieves this for BT Group by only ever asking the right questions, unprompted, to understand the user’s project’s complex intent and so granularly and accurately scoping requirements.

BT Engineer (Credit: BT)

So is this effectively a GenAI story?

Undoubtedly. And Cyril says this is unfolding at BT because, unlike in many other environments, generative AI is embedded into his sourcing platform instead of just being talked about. As a result, and in his own words, “We’re not thinking about if GenAI could help us. We're instead doing it, and across billions of pounds of spend.”

That front-line use means that what was previously seen by non-procurement specialists as cumbersome and too complex is being simplified by GenAI. Business users can obtain the statement of work they need to be able to access all the suppliers BT Sourcing has in its catalogue on their own. 

As a result, Cyril says autonomous sourcing is making it possible for non-procurement team specialists to sit down and run up a request “with one sentence”.

BT Sourced sees this success as down to the inherent deep, intelligent functionality of Globality technology, but also its unique approach to co-development. 

Tell me more about the partnership.

I take great pride in Cyril's acknowledgment that we came to him with a great technology platform, and we were also prepared to sit down and listen to him and his colleagues and keep on asking, ‘Is this right, is this what you need to happen here?’

Cyril sees this as ‘true partnership’, and I agree. Partnership and user support is all about what Globality tries to do. 

I am eager to witness the unfolding developments, not only at BT but also across the spectrum of major brands we are partnering with. While some of these collaborations are already in the public domain, we anticipate unveiling more soon.

Make sure you check out the latest edition of Procurement Magazine and also sign up to our global conference series - Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE 2024 


Procurement Magazine is a BizClik brand 



Featured Articles

Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE Dubai: One Month to Go!

Just one more month to go until Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE returns with Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE Dubai – 15 May 2024

Top 100 Women 2024: Aurelia Tremblaye, ENGIE – No. 4

Procurement Magazine’s Top 100 Women in Procurement honours ENGIE’s Aurelia Tremblaye at Number 4 for 2024

Coupa Inspire Las Vegas: AI is the Future of S2P Solutions

Global Procurement Leaders will gather at Coupa Inspire Las Vegas on April 22-24 for insights on Coupa's transformational AI-driven S2P solutions

Procurement & Supply Chain Awards: The Categories – Part 3

Procurement Strategy

Procurement & Supply Chain LIVE New York: Meet our Sponsors

Procurement Strategy

Procurement & Supply Chain Awards: The Categories – Part 2

Procurement Strategy