Smart Move: Bring Intelligent Spend Management To The Business

Drew Hofler

Part of the “Intelligent Spend Management” series about how to manage more spend, more intelligently

If you’re only buying office supplies, you’ve probably got a good idea what you’re spending on paper and pens. But odds are, your budget goes beyond a few reams of ultra-white printer stock. If you are tasked with spend management — whether you are a leader in procurement, finance, or supply chain — you actually help hold the reins and influence on multiple categories of spend — from direct and indirect goods to services, contingent labor — even T&E.

True, this spending is spread out across your organization, and yes, in many of these categories, spending is more decentralized than ever, with employees all over the company buying what they need when they need it. And it’s true that all of this spending and all of these categories aren’t in one department’s charge. However, the business needs you to help bring all that spend under control across all those categories so you can not only reduce costs but also help your company:

  • Manage supplier performance holistically
  • Diminish delivery and reputation risks across the board
  • Improve compliance and enforce purchasing policies equally in all categories
  • Increase productivity across procurement and throughout the entire company

Organizations are expecting this and more from you.

  • They want you to collaborate with your peers in procurement, finance, and supply chain to address spend management holistically across the business.
  • They’re expecting you to bring more spend categories under control, to unify how you manage suppliers across all categories, and to help bring direct and indirect spending together with services and T&E to increase visibility into all your spend.

They want more, and there’s an easy way to deliver.

This is brilliant: Managing every source and every category of spend and delivering one, unified view. Unfortunately, the systems most businesses use to manage all of these different spend processes can create barriers between spend categories and keep people from working together. Intelligent spend management, on the other hand, is a strategy designed to bring those barriers down, so you can get visibility into and control over each and every area of spend—in one place.

Here’s why that matters.

Intelligent spend management means comprehensive policy and supplier management. This gives you oversight over indirect and direct suppliers while bringing that same level of discipline to services/external workforce suppliers as well as key travel suppliers. And integrated with your ERP system, an intelligent spend management solution creates a common set of spend data — a hub where you can unify and clarify the information. You’ll also be able to:

  • Capture and centralize once-invisible spend like p-card transactions, non-PO invoices, and direct travel bookings that used to slip through the cracks in your systems
  • Apply sourcing best practices consistently to all of your suppliers across all categories
  • Centrally manage supplier risk as well as tax and other regulatory requirements

It brings you best-in-class control of each spend category. Let’s take direct and indirect procurement as an example: This means you can manage the entire procure-to-pay process for direct and indirect expenses from a single solution. Imagine being able to:

  • Deliver a guided user experience that makes it easy to follow policy
  • Give users a simple way to make procurement requests, plus tactical purchases directly from suppliers
  • Ensure that the suppliers you source, the prices you negotiate, and the terms you establish are pulled through right to the point of purchase, so policy compliance becomes everyday practice
  • Capture data from across the process and use AI and machine learning to automate mundane tasks and serve up insight-driven recommendations at critical decision points
  • Strengthen supplier relationships and, ultimately, get more innovation from suppliers to improve how you work and what you deliver

And you can bring that same level of precision, efficiency, and user experience for services, your external workforce – and the same level of control.

You get a unified view of spend. The intelligent spend management solution connects spend data across spend categories, giving you a single, near-real-time view — without having to piece together reports from disparate systems. This means you can see where every bit of your budget is going, and help the organization:

  • Ensure that all spending is in line with corporate policy and priorities
  • Get up-to-date views into your KPIs, so you can adapt accordingly
  • Manage discretionary employee spend before it gets away from you
  • Feed this spend data back into supplier management and fuel stronger negotiations

Intelligent spend management breaks down the silos, so companies can control spend across the board. Intelligent spend management enables you to work across categories and bring all the data together — so you can bring confidence to your company by bringing certainty to your spending.

Interested to learn how SAP can help you on your journey to set up an intelligent spend management approach in your organization? Visit our website to learn more.

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Drew Hofler

About Drew Hofler

Drew Hofler is Vice President for Portfolio Marketing for SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass. In this role, he is responsible for developing messaging, creating content and executing global programs to drive awareness and adoption of the company’s cloud-based applications and business network. Mr. Hofler brings over 20 years of technology, operations, and software industry experience to SAP Ariba. Prior to joining the Ariba in 2006, he served as Vice President of Treasury Product Management for PNC Bank and Director of Payment Systems at Tier Technologies. Mr. Hofler began his career at Thrivent Financial. Mr. Hofler has written a number of articles in industry publications – as well as has been interviewed, quoted widely, and speaking extensively – on topics including intelligent spend management, emerging technologies, procure to pay, supply chain finance, and dynamic discounting and payment.