PRGX: High-speed Spend Visibility from Luton

We published an introduction to PRGX last year, and recently caught up with the firm to have a closer look at their product offering.

As we said previously, their roots are in audit recovery services, and they now describe their mission as “Profit Discovery™”.  They’re much bigger than you might expect – 1400 people worldwide, offices in 33 countries, a $200M turnover and a Nasdaq quote. Their strongest market is retail, where they analyse huge numbers of transactions for some of the biggest firms in the world, handling considerable data volume and complexity as you might imagine (e.g. analysing invoices to look for over-charges or similar).

That leads on to one of the key strengths of PRGX, which is obviously when you see the product in action. Across the whole firm, they crunch HUGE amounts of data very regularly. So their processing capacity and capability is vast, which is then reflected in the speed at which their spend analysis products work.

They describe their four business areas as Recovery Audit; Spend Optimization; Fraud Prevention; and Profit Performance (the last including operational efficiency and working capital improvement). Their business model is very much a combination of powerful software alongside services provision, with consultants supporting their clients, often in terms of how to use the software and the data coming from the analysis in the most beneficial manner.  “We’re a business intelligence solutions provider, not a software firm”, says Sajid Ghani, who runs the Spend Optimization business.

This element of their portfolio, the most interesting to us, comes from their acquisition a couple of eyars back of Etesius, a well-known UK based spend analytics firm. That’s now part of this wider spread of products which cut across procurement, finance, audit, operations – so they’re a bit different to many of the analytics firms we feature here who have a pure procurement focus. But their analytics area is significant in its own right – with around 40 spend analysts on the books for instance, and over $500 Billion a year of spend data is classified.

SpendTrax is their spend visibility platform. It has two layers; the first is Data Management. Here, data is aggregated from various sources, often pulling in data from multiple ERP systems and other sources. Data is cleansed, normalised and hits the “classification engine”. There’s deep capability here, with a combination of advanced technology and real live humans involved!

For most clients, PRGX process a quarterly or a monthly analysis – the scale and capacity of their operation means that turn-around is rapid, with analysis and reporting available within about a week of the client providing the raw data.

The “Spend Visibility” layer sits on top of Data Management and provides the tools that are used by clients to analyse the data.  At our demo, the PRGX team took me through it as a “story”, an approach I rather liked. So, starting at the beginning,  as a category manager coming new to the platform perhaps,  we’ll have defined user rights, with drop down menus to give simple access to the spend areas we’re interested in. So categories can be chosen by users- or allocated by administrators.

The first level of analysis is what we might call the basics of spend by category, suppliers, business units and so on. That’s all pretty standard – and well and clearly presented.

The platform then provides savings opportunity analysis – and that’s where it starts to diverge from the more basic spend analysis tools on the market. You can create charts looking at savings based on factors such as “ease” and “urgency” in order to map priorities. “Fragmentation” by category or market can be charted, showing the opportunities for supplier rationalisation within that area. The “spend tail” can be analysed, and those suppliers who form the tail easily identified.  The thrust is on identifying savings opportunities, rather than purely mapping the spend data.

All of this is presented in a very intuitive user interface, with standard reports pre-configured, but also the scope through a “report builder” tool to construct different options yourself. And, as we said earlier, even quite complex requests for different reports or charts got a response in a few seconds – it felt almost instantaneous. (And I was assured this wasn’t a specially set up demo – this is normal).

Stay tuned in part 2 of our review, when we’ll move on from opportunity analysis and look in more detail at the supplier analysis tools within the platform.


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