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Are your spend classification efforts relevant and truly moving the needle?

Last month, we examined the current constraints on procurement today and discovered that data spend quality is an issue that’s holding organizations back. Digging in further, we found that spend classification is a big factor affecting organizations’ abilities to get high-quality data. The reality is you don’t know what you’re actually spending in each category. For many procurement teams, getting the insights they need is challenging because classification is painful and time-consuming, and they don’t know how to make things better.

Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the problems with spend classification today:

We have some hard questions about (and a soft spot for) Coupa’s new Business Spend Index (BSI)

Coupa recently released its Q4 Business Spend Index (BSI). Indexes such as ISM’s PMI and NMI can be helpful tools for procurement — not to mention economists, investors and policymakers — to gauge overall economic trends as well as underlying supply, demand and inventory conditions.

Coupa is a relative newcomer to publishing an index, but it offers a potentially promising approach based on underlying transactional data flowing through the Coupa system — as opposed to the polling data that is used for the ISM indexes, for example — to complement other economic indicators.

Still, we recommend that firms not read too much into the BSI for making procurement, economic or investment decisions without some additional details.

There are a few issues we’d like to see addressed if Coupa truly wants to make this a useful planning tool and not just a marketing vehicle for its community intelligence strategy:

Lease spend is a hidden category worth millions in savings, strategic value for business

procurement

In most businesses, their millions of dollars in leasing spend represent a hidden opportunity for procurement and finance departments to find savings and create strategic value.

With every department in a business juggling leasing terms, financing and renewals for things like warehouses, offices, computers, supplies, furniture and fleets, it’s a daunting task to think any single department could manage it all. These are some reasons why lease spend isn’t managed well. But technology has developed to the point that it would be unthinkable to leave all of that spend unmanaged.

So it's clear that lease spend should be its own category, but why is that becoming apparent now?

Procurement, operations and accounting disconnected: Expense management is broken, but 4 strategies can help

Close-up Of Businessman Stopping The Effect Of Domino With Hand At Desk

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Rich Ham, the CEO of Fine Tune, which partners with companies to source, negotiate, manage and audit certain burdensome expense programs.

Procurement, operations and accounting are three disparate parts of organizations that are simply not equipped to efficiently share information and work together so that individual expenses are optimally managed. This fundamental disconnect between them is costing millions and impacting the growth of companies everywhere.

Let's look at the issues and four strategies to help.

CPO masters of complexity (Part 2): A new approach to augment talent

Deloitte's 2019 Global CPO Survey shows that many procurement leaders are finding it hard to balance a variety of competing demands for their limited resources. One common theme expressed was the challenge of how to find, recruit and retain the talent required to implement and optimize a more digitally complex and increasingly sophisticated procurement function. Many organizations are using this opportunity to challenge the traditional operating model, including the roles, responsibilities and skill sets required for this new digital world.

Demand for top talent in the global procurement space continues to outpace supply, even as the expectations from the corporations they serve continue to increase. While investment in training in both technical and softer skills appears to be rising, the CPOs surveyed felt the negative impact of a “talent drain” on their ability to keep pace with the increasing complexity of reducing costs and risks while implementing digitally-enabled procurement functions.

Hyr Medical’s Manoj Jhaveri: ‘We knew that this was a big, hairy, audacious problem worth solving’

Healthcare staffing has long been a big business — and a major spend category for hospitals and healthcare systems.

But are the established staffing models meeting the needs and expectations of healthcare delivery organizations and contingent healthcare professionals? And are there alternatives?

We recently spoke with Manoj Jhaveri, the co-founder and CEO of Cleveland-based Hyr Medical, which aims to leverage lean processes and technology (including blockchain) to provide a lower friction, higher velocity alternative to traditional locum tenens staffing.

A.T. Kearney: The best use of analytics boosted profits by 83%

Advanced analytics are an indispensable part of doing business in the 21st century, but few businesses are leveraging the full potential of their existing analytics capabilities, with just a fraction achieving the substantial cost savings and profitability improvements that digital transformation and advanced analytics have to offer, according to A.T. Kearney’s “Value of Analytics in 2019” study.

It revealed that just 6% of businesses surveyed have adopted the methods and mindset required to be an analytics leader, including C-suite commitment to an analytics strategy aligned with the broader business strategy, real-time data availability, and an entrenched culture of data-driven decision making. Those organizations saw an increased profitability of up to 83% relative to counterparts who made minimal use of their data and had yet to integrate analytics into their company culture, the study said.

Deloitte webinar: How CPOs can tackle an increasingly complex world of procurement

Today’s procurement organizations are facing increased complexity from an array of sources — economic downturns, working with mega-suppliers, global trade issues and digital transformation, said Ryan Flynn, Principal Deloitte Consulting, in a webinar that explored the findings of Deloitte’s 2019 Global Chief Procurement Officer Survey.

While these complexities present challenges for procurement leaders, they can also be a means to increase procurement’s influence across entire organizations.

Deloitte’s survey — this year titled “Complexity: Overcoming Obstacles and Seizing Opportunities” — offers insight into how CPOs can evaluate their current situations and take actions that will secure a more successful future.

How digital transformation is reinventing finance and accounting departments

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Manoj Shroff, Accenture Operations’ managing director, finance and accounting business process services lead.

Thanks to digital transformation technologies like real-time data analytics, robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI), financial management is no longer about looking back. It’s all about looking forward, with predictive insights that yield positive business outcomes at scale. While our industry has undoubtedly been disrupted, it’s also been dramatically improved.

These changes (and their benefits) are flowing far outside of the finance department too: Executives and department heads — CPOs and CIOs included — no longer have to repeatedly report back to the CFO. Today, with intelligent tools at their fingertips, they can easily access, share and analyze critical organizational financial data.

Rob Handfield interviews Pierre Mitchell: What’s on the mind of CPOs in 2019?

For the equivalent of a fireside chat between two of the procurement and supply chain industry's most respected figures, you've come to the right place — look no further than this video discussion between Dr. Rob Handfield and Pierre Mitchell, tackling the question: What's on the mind of chief procurement officers in 2019?

Why RPA is not a breakthrough advancement in procurement

Procurement teams globally are facing the same common challenges. We hear it over and over: CPOs are constantly being tasked with cutting costs and doing more with less … yesterday. But how are they doing in actually overcoming these challenges? Let’s take a look.

Today, many procurement organizations are attempting to solve these challenges by turning to robotic process automation (RPA) as a solution. But RPA, while serving as an important automation tool, operates in a regime that accepts current constraints as a given and works within them. It represents an incremental advance in the evolving technology frontier by addressing a subset of procurement domain competently, but it cannot be justifiably elevated to the status of a breakthrough technology.

Xeeva’s patented specialized procurement AI demolishes the resident constraints in procurement by transforming spend data and digitizing domain expertise.

Tech selection Q&A: ‘I was like the most hated guy in the office for a while’

Tech selection requires evaluating a lot of procurement software vendors before making a choice, and our coverage typically focuses on the early part of the process to help companies buy a solution that’s the right fit for their needs. But we wanted to talk with a company well after its tech selection to gain insights on the process.

The strategic business enabler Tecom Group and its parent company, Dubai Holding, have gone through two rounds of tech selection to find a spend analytics firm to help them analyze high value transactions, find common spend areas, save money and add visibility for new business strategies.

To find out more about the tech selection process and its results, we did a Q&A with Cory Thwaites, Tecom’s executive director of procurement, about his efforts to bring in a spend analytics firm.

“I was like the most hated guy in the office for a while,” Thwaites said about trying to convince the staff that Tecom needed to know more about its spend.

He said that all changed once his team started seeing the dashboards that showed the actual state of Tecom’s spend.