The future of spend analytics: From Jason Alexander to Jerry Seinfeld [PRO]

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In a previous article, “What the Jason Alexander hoodie ad teaches us about the past and future of spend analytics capabilities,” we talked about how spend analytics in the source-to-pay (S2P) world is a bit like George Costanza in Seinfeld’s world. It’s still a bit of a side-show, even if it shouldn’t be. Sometimes we have to laugh at it, like when it tells us equipment shoes are footwear, even though we should be crying.

But just like the Jason Alexander hoodie from the Super Bowl commercial, if we can laugh at it, or at least acknowledge its flaws in terms of where analytics’ value generation typically comes up short, we will end up respecting its potential even more — because we will be open to the possibility of a new generation of solutions that will provide a level of value not previously seen. Then we will transition from the sideshow of George Costanza to the main act of Jerry Seinfeld as spend analytics begins to take center stage in its own show.

In this follow-up article, we will specify the properties of third-generation solutions and provide some detailed examples of value identification that will only be possible in next-generation systems. First, we’ll highlight some of the major shortcomings of current second-generation solutions and overview a few best-of-breed providers that offer, or are close to offering, third-generation capabilities. While we touch on only a few key capabilities in this article, these should be enough to highlight what 2.x solutions are missing and just how deep the opportunity iceberg goes.

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