Traditional spend analysis solutions came to market to support the purchasing department, helping to solve problems such as finding new savings opportunities, maximizing leverage in negotiations and monitoring compliance.  However, these same solutions are being increasingly leveraged by other departments, in particular finance, to help solve very different challenges.

 

A current article by Denise Bedell (TCM:  Data Drivers   Data Analytics) in Global Finance focuses on the use of analytics solutions, including spend analytics, by the Treasurer.  Denise points out that since the financial crisis, "the job of the treasurer has increasingly focused on a few key areas—compliance and risk management, global liquidity and working capital management, and planning support" and that "[h]aving good data and good analytics to support decision-making and help drive efficiency is key to effectively managing those tasks."  She goes on to list some examples of ways such solutions are being used by treasurers, including supporting risk management via enrichment of suppliers with credit/financial information and flagging any on the OFAC (Office of Foreign Asset Control) or SDN (Specially Designated Nationals) gov't lists.  Through our continuous engagement with our Ariba Spend Visibility customers, we have also noticed the usage widening beyond purchasing.  Some additional uses by finance we've noted include:

  • Improving Working Capital Management
    • Analyzing and negotiating improved payment terms (ex.  finding varying terms with single or linked vendors and consolidating onto the best terms contracted)
    • Identifying total payments under each term negotiated for forecasting purposes
  • Planning Support:
    • M&A Planning:  Identifying and acting on supplier rationalization opportunities to realize committed M&A synergies
    • Dissecting costs drivers (ex. volume vs. price vs. exchange rate effects) to determine exposure and hedging strategies
    • Actual vs. forecast analysis as part of future budgeting
  • Compliance:  Cleaning vendor masters leveraging supplier enrichment

 

Clearly, any opportunity to leverage existing solutions to meet broader needs is a significant win for companies, driving more value form existing investments and supporting cross-functional collaboration.  I would love to hear more examples of how finance is leveraging spend analysis solutions.