It’s Time For Intelligent Spend Management. Here’s Why.

Drew Hofler

For those charged with managing spend, there’s a big transition underway. Businesses across all industries face intensifying pressure to be more flexible, disruptive, and nimble. The leaders of procurement, supply chain, finance, and accounts payable are being called to help their organizations adapt to changing needs, drive change, and adopt new business models.

This is no small task, as these are big, strategic business priorities. And to achieve them, individuals responsible for spend management will need to go beyond baseline metrics like efficiency, productivity, visibility, compliance, and cost savings. Companies need to complement them with a focus on new priorities for managing spend, such as:

  • Delivering transparency to manage supplier risk and brand reputation
  • Revolutionizing both the information used to make decisions and the quality and speed of the decisions themselves
  • Creating new ways to connect with business partners and develop new business and delivery models
  • Delivering insights by gathering and analyzing information from new and exploding data sources

We refer to this as the intelligent spend-management agenda.

Five keys to intelligent spend management

By bringing more intelligence to every part of the spend-management process, procurement leaders can tackle these new challenges – and make incremental progress on this agenda – in five key areas:

  • Employing a nimble approach to managing data: Spending generates all kinds of data. To manage spend, business systems need to interact with data coming from business processes, social sources, suppliers, and more. This requires a new approach, not the 1990s-era model that moves data from one place to the next.
  • Embedding intelligence from end to end: Disconnected, siloed solutions with embedded intelligence can learn only from the parts of the process they manage. These intelligent technologies need exposure to a holistic view of spend-related data to learn and continuously improve decision-making across the source-to-settle process.
  • Connecting across the business: The process of managing spend touches many other parts of a business. It’s essential that the processes and systems managing everything from supply chain and manufacturing to finances and CRM be integrated.
  • Capturing data beyond the four walls of the business: The data needed to manage spend doesn’t come exclusively from within the business. It also comes directly from suppliers and other sources or systems. Procurement needs a way to easily and automatically connect with third-party sources and store and analyze collected data.
  • Easily adding extensions and enhancements: To address unique regulatory requirements and other specifics, procurement must be able to easily tailor and enhance its spend-management solution with APIs and extensions. (For example, they can tap into targeted third-party solutions or add their own functionality.)

Intelligent spend-management solutions available today

Achieving all of this requires investment in the right IT infrastructure and systems to put intelligence to work in a consumable and predictable way. Intelligent technologies embedded from end to end can connect systems and processes across the extended enterprise through a commerce network. At the same time, this approach brings more intelligence to procurement, supply chain, and spend-management processes, thereby augmenting the expertise of users by providing:

  • Intelligent experiences – simple, consumer-like, and contextual that guide users to exactly what they need
  • Intelligent processes that continually and dynamically improve based on data, behavior, and results
  • Intelligent insights through embedded analytics that serve up relevant, future-focused assessments and recommendations at the point of action

As a result, procurement organizations are equipped to make incremental improvements on everything from cost control to efficiency and supplier risk. They can take massive leaps forward in their ability to make smarter decisions faster, be more focused and effective, and get more done in less time.

Learn more

Want to learn more? Register now for our upcoming webinar, “Explore the Future of Intelligent Procurement: Countless Inputs. Powerful Outcomes,” on November 29 at 11:00 a.m. EST, featuring a panel discussion with leading analysts. You’ll leave with a better understanding of how to reimagine procurement through the strategic use of intelligent applications.


Drew Hofler

About Drew Hofler

Drew Hofler is a Senior Director of Solutions Marketing for SAP Ariba. Mr. Hofler is recognized as an expert in the area of collaborative finance and dynamic discounting. He has been interviewed and quoted widely in finance and supply chain industry publications around the topics of e-invoicing, dynamic discounting, supply chain financing, and working capital management-related issues, and has published a number of articles on these subjects. Mr. Hofler is also a regular contributor to various blogs around the issues of the financial supply chain. Mr. Hofler brings almost 20 years of banking and financial services industry experience to SAP Ariba.