Drilling Into Opera Solutions and BIQ — The Spend Data Mash-up Advantage

Opera Solutions is announcing its acquisition of BIQ today. You can read more about the companies, transaction and roadmap here.

For those interested in understanding how the spend analysis market has moved past the basics -- and the role that Opera Solutions and BIQ play within it -- we recommend the following Compass paper: Using Spend Visibility to Drive More Than Category Sourcing Strategies and Spend Reporting. In this paper, we observe one of the core strengths of BIQ – the ability for companies to create mash-ups of different spend, supplier and broader procurement and supply chain datasets. On the most basic level, mash-ups are applications and data sets that combine capabilities and content from different sources.

In a mash-up, these disparate capabilities and content come together to provide what often amounts to an entirely different look at data elements, which in the context of each other can help companies make more informed decisions. Consider, for example, the ability to layer both PPM and warranty claims information on top of traditional spend data. An analysis might show the a new Chinese supplier is meeting initial quality expectations as a low cost producer, but that the parts they are shipping to a specific facility tend to fail at a higher rate than normal.

Other data mash-ups we have seen that leverage both spend data and other sources of information include: tax/VAT payments (and types), budget data (vs. actual), sourcing and category intelligence information (e.g., savings data), commodity market pricing feeds, marketing analytics data (and competitive marketing data), credit and P-card information, supplier financial risk data, vendor files with invoice detail (e.g., line-item detail for computer hardware, commercial printing), inventory data, services/contingent workforce data (e.g., comparing contract markup with actual markup as well as variations in bill rate and pay date), payment terms including working capital/cost of capital (both buyer and supplier), logistics data (carrier direct or aggregated by a 3PL), motor vehicle sales tax (MVST), AP duplicate payment data and claims adjusting information.

Other category specific mash-ups may involve the following types of datasets (individually or in concert with existing AP/invoice or other data):

  • IT hardware and equipment (e.g., PC invoices, peripherals, copiers -- bill rates; meter reads)
  • Commercial printing (e.g., forms, lettershop, statement generation, checkbook printing)
  • Telecom equipment (e.g., long distance, PBX activity, wireless -- data/voice)
  • Medical (e.g., nursing staff, medical supplies, pharmaceutical information)
  • Legal (e.g. paralegal, regular staff, on-shore and off-shore mix, expenses)
  • Facilities (e.g., security Guards, security equipment, ATM, uniforms, cleaning/janitorial supplies, work orders)
  • T&E (e.g., air, car rental, hotel, taxi, car service/limo)
  • Marketing (print, digital -- including impact/effectiveness, radio, TV, loyalty programs, promotions effectiveness)

Spend Matters readers that want to learn more about spend, supplier and procurement analytics can download the following papers on the topic:

Getting the Most From Analytics and Benchmarking

The Intersection of Analytics and Supply Chain Risk Management -- Using Intelligence to Drive Early Intervention

Beyond the Basics: Using Spend Visibility to Drive More Than Category Sourcing Strategies and Spend Reporting

Analytics and P2P: Using Spending and Payment Insights to Drive Savings and Working Capital Management Strategies

The Future of Procurement Analytics and Content -- Three Scenarios For Company Adoption

Supply Risk Management -- Segmenting the Technology and Content Landscape and Choosing the Right Category of Solutions

Services Procurement Benchmarking -- Truth in Numbers to Achieve a New Level of Program Results

Spend Analysis - Making Quantum Leaps: Exploring the Realm of Possibility and Savings with Three New Strategies

- Jason Busch

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