Big Data Meets the CPO: Chief Procurement Officers in the Analytical Age

This post is based on material from the Spend Matters research brief, Changing Roles of Procurement Leaders - The Analytical CPO. Registration is required to access this document – but free access to the content has been underwritten by BravoSolution until December 2013.

Data, Data Everywhere (and no: it’s not just in our spend analysis tools)

The more data there is available, the more important it is that we know how to analyze it in order to create real benefit. Data in itself has no value – it starts to be meaningful when it becomes information that we can use to generate knowledge and ultimately actionable intelligence. That is what enables us to make good decisions and take appropriate actions. So the key management skill is being able to identify and convert data; understand, interpret, and analyze it; and end up with better performance in our organizations and procurement roles.

And of course the quantity of data CPOs and other senior procurement executives face has exploded in its breadth and depth. Luckily, our ability to analyze it is also far greater than ever.

The breadth of available data has exploded...

Data is now available in so many areas where it previously didn’t exist or was inaccessible. Not too long ago, a personal investor would have access to share prices and a few key metrics published in the Wall Street Journal or Financial Times. If they wanted more, an annual report could be obtained, and more numbers would be painstakingly extracted from the paper document.

Now, with a few clicks, anyone can obtain thousands of pieces of financial data, analysts' opinions, ratios, benchmarking against other firms, time-series charts and graphs, detailed analysis of every statement made by the firm... and so on.

The same applies in the world of procurement and supply chain. Whether it is market data, pricing and production, comparative supplier analysis, or market analyses from hosts of experts, there is just so much data and information available at every turn.

Twenty years ago, there was no easily answer available to the question: how many manufacturers of bicycle components are there in Taiwan? Now, we could certainly find an answer. We could get financial information on many of them; find out who works for them from LinkedIn; and even get a view of their premises from Google Earth or Streetmap.

Read the full Spend Matters Research brief: Changing Roles of Procurement Leaders - The Analytical CPO (free, registration required). Temporary access to this material is underwritten by BravoSolution until December 2013).

First Voice

  1. Howard Richman:

    Learning how to learn (in this case, learning how to query and access big data) is just as important as developing subject matter expertise.

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