If you have a minute, it's worth checking out Eric Strovink's guest post over on E-Sourcing Forum that discusses why companies are often disappointed from their spend analysis initiatives. Eric argues that meeting the needs of three separate groups of constituents can be quite a challenge. These three groups are:
1) Those primarily interested in reports
2) Those who drill around a spend dataset, occasionally, to explore specific areas of interest, or to track down individual payments
3) Power users who are using the spend data to locate, drive, and monitor the next level of savings initiatives — initiatives that are aimed past low-hanging fruit that has already been harvested
The obstacle, according to Eric, is that "satisfying all three of these groups is beyond the reach of most of the current generation of spend analysis products." Check out the post to see how he builds on the rest of this argument. Obviously, it's a bit self-serving, but I'd argue that there's quite a bit of truth in what he has to say.