Spend 360 – Machine Learning Drives Better Spend Analytics

We wrote recently about AnyData Solutions, a young firm with technology that is challenging the primacy of more established firms in the spend analytics market. That business is not the only example of what we might call the "new wave" of analytics firms. Rosslyn were a very visible entrant into this market around five years ago and issued shares on the AIM market.

Another of this generation that has made significant progress is Spend 360. The firm is based in Guildford, the beating heart of global technology innovation (??), just a few miles down the road from Spend Matters Europe HQ. Spend 360 was founded by CEO Paddy Lawton some 8 years ago. He is a “techie” by background, but is far from being your quiet backroom operator, being an enthusiastic and dynamic character who can make even spend analytics sound rather exciting!

It is the technology underpinning the spend analytics process that is what generates competitive advantage for any firm in the market. In this case, Lawton says that it is the use of “artificial intelligence” (AI) and machine learning techniques that enable Spend 360 to analyse a higher percentage of the spend data successfully at “first pass”.

That effectiveness in the analytical process in turn determines how quickly and cost effectively large amounts of data can be processed and useful information fed back to customers (the owners of the data). The firm has invested in AI research, with the help of government “innovate funding” grants, and sees this technology leadership as key to their success. It is all about the system learning how to classify better.

“The first pass on classification is likely to be better with machine learning than from solutions that classify purely based on fixed rules” he says.

Another positive is security, in that the firm handles all the data analysis in-house; no data is sent elsewhere, which is not the case with some providers. There are certainly some impressive customer references, from major firms such as BAE Systems and Associated British Foods. As well as end-user firms like those, Spend 360 also provides the tools to consulting firms and to other software firms who want to bolster their offerings to clients.

Clients are also offered the option of comparing some metrics against industry data e.g. spend per purchase order or payment terms, and data can be enriched through other eternal providers such as D&B and Lexis Nexis. There are also clever tools to enable customers to link categories and sub-categories; so the customer drives the taxonomy.

Lawton is also proud of the work the firm is doing with a group of hospices around the country, helping them look at pricing for common goods and services and come up with opportunities for cost savings and potential procurement collaboration. It sounds a very worthwhile initiative and we hope to report on that further. We also hope to take a more detailed look at the product, but in the meantime, do bear Spend 360 in mind if you’re in the market for a spend analytics solution.

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