Analytics vendors provide data warehouses that bring your spend
data into one place and allow you to analyze it.
If you are in the market for better, more actionable spend information,
you have many technology choices. The most popular choice is clearly
Excel, which is quickest, cheapest, and least powerful. Another
popular choice is to build a data warehouse from a data warehouse
application like Business Objects and Cognos. We assume that the
reader is familiar with both choices and have not covered them in
Yet another choice is to get technology and intellectual property
that has been designed to help you solve sourcing problems. All
the ERP vendors and the broad-based vendors provide something in
this area. In addition, there are three specialist vendors who are
worthy of special consideration.
Unfortunately, the problem of providing meaningful analytic information
about spend is a highly complex one. One must be able to get transaction
information in a reasonable amount of time, harmonize it with other
transaction information, insure that the information is clean, accurate,
and meaninful, organize it in a way that makes the analysis useful,
incorporate other (non-transaction) information, provide an interface
that does not deter, allow for simulations, and provide some ability
to make analysis replicable and actionable.
Alas, most of the vendors that we have seen do not seem even to
have understood the complexities of the problem. It is not sufficient
to say, for instance, as most vendors do, that they "integrate"
with sources of spend information. By "integration," they
simply mean that they have a way of extracting and loading data
from another system. But unless the issues of data cleanup, harmonization,
refinement, etc., are not addressed, it will be garbage out, garbage
The four vendors listed (SAP, SAS, Reputation, and OpenRatings)
below seem to have done a bit more than most in these areas. One
is a traditional analytics vendor, one is launching its move into
sourcing from the platform of analytics, and two do even more. They
have figured out to provide actionable data from their analytics.
To get our publicly available information about them, click on
the logo. To get the full scoop, contact Rick McLaughlin at (617)
864-9032 or firstname.lastname@example.org.