Spend Analysis Learnings From Oil and Gas — What Would You Do Differently?

In the first post in this series covering a user study of oil and gas companies, I examined some of the findings from a recent OFS Portal study of member companies looking at spend analysis program results and lessons learned. I also shared some of our collected learning from both users and observers of spend analysis capabilities over the years. In this post, I thought it would be useful to talk about some of the lessons learned and what users would have done differently as a result of having gone down the spend analysis path once before.

Many of the survey respondents suggested they would have focused their efforts around data management and data acquisition in new ways had they the chance to revisit their initial efforts. This includes wanting "better control on the input data, whether in the ERP, on invoices or on orders or any other system the data was being extracted from" and checking and rechecking "data before reloading." Another suggested that "we really needed true data strategy before beginning the project" and that "Master data needs to be clean prior to implementation." In other words, from a collective lessons learned perspective, companies should think more closely about their data collection, management and quality before getting started on the spend analysis path.

Some responses were humorous: "Next time I would have a consultant who really knew my business," opined one (editors note: if you're looking for any spend analysis consultants, please let us know. From larger firms to specialists like Lexington Analytics, the service provider landscape has matured dramatically in years, as has the benefit procurement organizations can gain from working with a consultant). What's the best news from the study? "All companies plan to continue with their projects, and in some it has become business as usual and are no longer considered a project," the results suggest. Our own experience suggests that when spend analysis and what it enables becomes business as usual, then procurement organizations are likely not only to identify and implement sourcing savings on a more consistent basis, but also to manage their overall supplier compliance, diversity, CSR, risk, performance and development initiatives more effectively as well.

Jason Busch

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