Today’s post is by Ronald D. Southard, CEO at SafeSourcing.
I’ve participated in a lot of discussions lately about spend cubes, which can just as easily be called data cubes, because that is all they really are.
Just what is a spend cube? In its most simple form it is a data set that includes information that when analyzed as a whole provides a better or more completed picture of your spend universe such as the expense category. Spend cubes help to identify opportunities within a broad category of products and services that may require more attention including going to market and ideally, when they should. Because a spend cube includes vendor data, causal data, and other specifics such as commodity pressures relative to the related cost center being impacted, spend cubes by their nature are very complex.
Unfortunately good spend cubes as well as improperly built managed spend cubes can deteriorate over time based on a number of factors. Probably the primary reason is that the originating data was not complete to begin with or scrubbed properly in the first place. This is kind of a one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch issue or the wrong data bumping into the wrong data. Another reason may be that you don’t have all of the data that you need and therefore the result sets are compromised or left to conjecture that creates improperly built and executed sourcing strategies. Additionally there is the analyst’s interpretation of the data and to this author that is really the most important part once you get the data sources right (think ERP). This person or group of persons needs to know their stuff (industry and products) in order for the data to be interpreted properly. It’s pretty easy to read a GL and determine what suppliers you have been spending the most with. It’s an entirely different thing to understand what the market for a commodity that impacts that particular spend was doing during the last contract versus what it is doing now and how it is trending for the future. All of this has to be attached to specific sourcing unit activity. Think of it this way? If your vendor does not invoice you at the unit level, where will you come up with corroborated unit spend from regardless as to whether it is a can of beans or a fork lift.
Ask your solutions provider where your data should come from, who will be interpreting your data and what data they will be interpreting. Also thinks start small.
If you’d like to learn more about how to optimize your spend data, contact SafeSouricng.
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