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Here's a thumbnail sketch of some of the progress we've seen:
• Supplier Data/Risk Data-While companies have kept very basic supplier information in electronic systems (e.g. purchasing, ERP, financial systems) for many years now, very few have had centralized Supplier Information Management systems with more complete supplier information. Even now, though some firms have adopted them, these systems are still limited by the completeness and quality of the source information.
• Contracts-There has been movement from paper contracts to electronic contract management systems (CMS), or at least capturing terms electronically. But many companies still use paper or fax or MS Word without a CMS, making the data difficult or impossible to access.
• Purchasing and Financial Data-While some basic spend analytics can be done without PO and line level data, these are needed for more advanced types of analytics. Fortunately, the recording of this data electronically has become fairly widespread.
• Internal 'Enrichment Data'-Many types of advanced analytics are dependent on information outside of procurement and sourcing systems. This can include engineering and parts data, logistics data, activity-based costing data, marketing data . . . virtually any data needed to measure agreements, outcomes, and performance details resulting from specific suppliers, contracts, and purchases. It is still too often the case that this data is not available electronically (or in a form that is easy to discover and integrate).
• External 'Enrichment Data'-Here is where we have seen the biggest explosion of information. Besides the third-party content sources already mentioned, there are huge amounts of semi-structured and unstructured data available either via the web (publicly available sources) or from trading partners. However, access, normalization, quality and consistency can be a big challenge.
What a company can accomplish in their spend analysis efforts is constrained by the quality and completeness of the data available to them.
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Keywords: SC Finance & Revenue Mgmt., Business Intelligence & Analytics, Sourcing & Procurement Solutions, Supplier Relationship Management, Technology; Business Strategy Alignment, Quality & Metrics, Supply Chain Analysis & Consulting, Global Supply Chain Management; ChainLink Research, Purchasing, Financial Systems, Supplier Information Management Systems, Contract Management Systems, Spend Analytics, Sourcing
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