Spend Analysis Content

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6 Ways to Leverage AI in Procurement Today

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most hyped-up topics in business right now. Gartner has included a number of AI applications in their 2018 Hype Cycle for most important emerging technologies. To take matters further, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai recently said he expects AI to become more important for humanity than even fire or electricity.

Almost every week we hear of new ways AI revolutionizing business practices, but where does this leave procurement? The good news is, if your procurement organization is ready for digital, it’s ready for AI. Here are six concrete ways you can get started.

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Spend Analysis Requires Human Expertise for Data Optimization, Data Visualization

From recent conversations during this fall conference season, it’s clear many procurement teams are still struggling with poor-quality spend data. Combined with the challenges of data lakes, corporate changes from mergers and acquisitions, and an overall pressure to get more savings year over year, procurement leaders are finding it difficult to align their talent and technology strategies for their digital transformation efforts.

Whether it be companies in the market for spend visibility for the first time or those looking to focus on spend analysis and visibility to engage digital transformational efforts, organizations will, for now, still need to get the basics of spend analysis right with human interaction and expertise combined with innovative technologies that will evolve and improve over time.

The Tip of the Spear: How Serco Has Used Spend Data to Generate Business Value

Spend data is a gold mine of valuable information for improving the procurement process as well as driving enterprise-wide decision-making. FTSE 100 services provider Serco learned this first hand when it engaged Simfoni, a provider of spend analytics tools, to change the way it gathered, presented and analyzed its data. Using spend analytics as the tip of the spear, the Serco team developed “should cost” predictive cost models to develop better bids for potential clients — and support what every CEO wants: profitable growth. 

Spend Matters hosted a recent webinar in which experts discussed the topic. Featuring Serco Head of Procurement Andrew Spafford and Simfoni Managing Director Stefan Dent, the event centered on the role that spend data should play in an organization’s decision-making process. Spend Matters Chief Research Officer Pierre Mitchell moderated.

6 Ways To Really Mess Up Your AP Automation Project

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Melissa Hendrick, VP of marketing at Yooz North America.

Today, automation technology is one of the inevitable trends for companies wanting to improve their efficiency and agility in a complex economic environment. The reasons are clear: cost reduction, process optimization, data security, regulatory compliance and many more.

If you are considering automating your invoice payment processing workflows in accounts payables, or are already investigating solution providers, your success will be based on following some basic guidelines and avoiding some common pitfalls.

With that in mind, here are some insights to help you identify the pitfalls on your journey to AP automation, combining practical information with a little tongue-in-cheek humor.

Coupa-Aquiire Deal Highlights Key Change: Marketplace E-Procurement Models Aren’t One-Size-Fits-All Anymore

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Spend Matters’ recent coverage of Coupa’s purchase of Aquiire details Coupa’s acquisition rationale and the general wisdom of its decision — but the deal also calls attention to a useful context that evaluators of “Amazon-like” e-procurement systems would be well served to understand. As these systems are tailored for different industries, they should be evaluated for how they differ, not how they're the same. Let's look at three types of marketplaces spawned by the Amazon model.

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Procurement’s Spend Analytics Expertise is Untapped Strategic Lever for M&A success

Mergers and acquisitions provide a constant reminder of how business is always in flux and how executives need to meet the challenge of managing it. The first 100 days after a merger or acquisition often set the tone for the new entity and can influence long-term success. The environment is typically perfect for early procurement synergy capture, where when executed correctly, procurement optimization can improve EBITDA by an average of 10% to 30%, which is one reason why procurement is an untapped strategic lever for M&A. With effective spend analytics, organizations can better size up the savings based on the combined entities spend in key procurement categories and identify the commonality of suppliers across the merged entities and categories where spend is highly fragmented.

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Procurement Benchmarking in the Era of Big Data

Let’s be honest: most benchmark reports promise much but deliver little. They often start with good intentions but focus on high-level best practices or rely on survey questionnaires to gather their data. Benchmarks can take weeks or months to develop, and even then they are often discarded if they can’t give concrete action points to procurement. At the same time, we live in the era of big data. Perhaps you’ve heard that more data has been created in the last two years than all of the previous human history. As data becomes the oil of the fourth industrial revolution, why wouldn’t we put all this data into action?

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ROI, Today: Making the Near-Term Business Case for Spend Analytics

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Most varieties of procurement software deliver some form of return on investment. Whether it’s an e-procurement system that consolidates process costs or a sourcing tool that optimizes supplier selection, successful vendors can always point to clear ways their solutions deliver value, both immediately and in the future. When it comes to spend analytics, however, demonstrating ROI has proven more elusive. This is because dedicated spend analysis tools are often viewed as enablers to saving money through other methods, rather than a benefit in their own right. Yet while it is true that spend analytics deliver value by illuminating new savings opportunities, these tools can also be used to obtain tangible wins in their own right.

These 3 Data Problems Could Be Draining Your Company’s Resources

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Brian Alster, global head of supply and compliance products at Dun & Bradstreet.

When you’re working on estimating the costs of your third-party relationships, the last thing you want to find are holes or inaccuracies in your data. It can leave you unable to make informed, data-driven decisions. This fear might explain why, according to Forrester research, almost a third of enterprise architects and chief data officers spend at least 40% of their time discerning the credibility of their data before using it to make critical decisions.

Simfoni: What Makes It Great (Spend Analytics SolutionMap Analysis)

Spend analytics tools that stagnate age quickly. But solution providers that listen to customers, practice agile software development and bring a deep knowledge of procurement can flank a large cross section of incumbents — quickly.

Simfoni, one of the top-ranked spend analytics software providers by both Analyst and Customer scoring in the Spend and Procurement Analytics SolutionMap, is a case in point. Founded in 2015, Simfoni delivers above-the-benchmark performance in numerous functional areas and is convincingly a Value Leader across all spend analytics buying personas. Join us in exploring what make Simfoni great, based on the latest functional and customer SolutionMap benchmarks from Q2 2018.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief explains how the provider excels and where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark, concluding with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider the vendor.

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 5d — Analytics Components) [PRO]

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Analytics is an essential component of effective program management. All processes within procurement depend on analytics, and the more individual tasks become integral threads in a tapestry of activity, the greater the value that the analysis of data brings to an organization.

But obtaining such value requires a software platform that supports the program, which in turn requires certain functional components to be successful. In this installment of our ongoing series on program management, we define the analytics solution components needed to facilitate both initiative identification and initiative support.

Simfoni vs. SpendHQ: Spend Analysis Head-to-Head Technology Evaluation and Comparison

Simfoni and SpendHQ have both common and different DNA, particularly in how they originally built and delivered their spend analysis software.

Simfoni initially designed its spend analysis tool to enable the success of other consultancies delivering procurement and spend analytics. Similarly, SpendHQ was born out of Insight Sourcing Group, a consultancy itself.

Although in a matter of years Simfoni has evolved dramatically, it has remained true to its roots, delivering a spend analysis tool that serves both consultants working with end users and procurement organizations directly. And while ISG at first used SpendHQ as both an internal tool and as a leave-behind for procurement organizations, today SpendHQ operates as a standalone company, with a growth rate that is outpacing the market, making it one of the two largest — if not the largest — standalone spend analysis software providers.

Simfoni and SpendHQ have rarely encountered each other in the market to date, given Simfoni’s global focus and SpendHQ’s North America-centric orientation. Still, since both beat the average functional benchmark score in the Spend Matters Q2 2018 Spend and Procurement Analytics SolutionMap, we thought a comparison was in order. Because a collision course is inevitable at some point.

Join us in this unfiltered SolutionMap results analysis from our Q2 2018 dataset, along with the commentary of the Spend Matters analyst team. These Head-to-Head columns share the insights of each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers<, providing comparative cuts of SolutionMap benchmark data along with the trademark quips that Spend Matters was better known for in its early years. So buckle your seat belt, prepare for some real data and expect a few sparks to fly as we pit Simfoni and SpendHQ against each other in the spend analysis software evaluation ring.

Not yet an Insider member? Here’s a preview: In certain spend analysis categories — which include data layer, process support, technology, configurability and services — Simfoni convincingly comes out on top. But in others, it’s darn close, and in at least one area, SpendHQ delivers an unquestionably superior score.