Daily Archives: January 28, 2010

Are You Ready For The Next China?

A recent article over on the Harvard Business Review on China Myths, China Facts reminded me how China is starting to change and how my advice in my recent post on overcoming cultural differences in international trade with China to take time to get to know the people you will be dealing with because their behaviour may be nothing like the usual behaviour of the country in which they reside is becoming truer and truer by the day in some parts of China (that deal regularly with the west).

According to the article, which isn’t entirely accurate (just ask our resident Global Trade expert) the following are myths:

  1. Collectivism
    According the article, Individualism is the reality. While this is becoming true of the emerging “New China”, especially in the urban middle class, the “Old China”, which still makes up the majority of China, is still collectively oriented and, as the article points out, decisions, particularly in the business world, are still made in groups.
  2. Long-term Deliberation
    According to the article, real-time reaction is the reality. While the “New China” that has been dealing with the west for the last two decades (or so) has learned to “react” at western speeds, there is still a lot of deliberation that goes on behind the scenes, and quick decisions are often the result of policies that were decided as the result of long-term deliberations.
  3. Risk Aversion
    According to the article, risk tolerance is the norm. Well, this one is half true. The reality is that the Chinese are neither risk-averse or risk-tolerance. They are what I’d call “risk-comfortable”. You have to remember that China is one of the oldest civilizations on the planet. They can trace their history back millennia, while we struggle to trace ours back a few centuries. They are more aware of risk and used to dealing with it than we could ever imagine. It’s just another part of everyday life to them … that sometimes comes and goes in waves. They know that some risks can never be completely mitigated and that others can never be predicted. As a result, they don’t feel the need to needlessly analyze something to the nth degree when they know nothing will be gained from the exercise. So they make a decision, execute, and accept what comes. We could learn a thing or two from them.

What’s happening is that, just like Japan transformed itself from the “Old Japan” to the “New Japan” over the last few decades, China is in the process of transforming itself from the “Current China” to the “Next China”. This will happen over the next few decades as it claws its way back to global supremacy. So, are you ready?

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Rosslyn Analytics – Building an Analytics Visibility Platform The Massess Will Rally Around

In Part I, I discussed how I was quite impressed with Rosslyn Analytics‘ spend analysis platform and their overall approach to the problem as compared to many of the spend analysis providers in the space and how I saw vision, clarity, and execution in their offering. In this post, I am going to discuss their current platform capabilities and overview a few of the enhancements coming over the next few months.

Spend Basics: As I mentioned in my last post, they integrated with over 30 standard ERP/MRP systems out of the box, and can quickly add additional systems with about 1 day of effort as they have developed a rules-based integration platform that allows them to quickly bring additional systems on-line. Their rules-based system allows data to be cleansed, normalized, and enriched in one step during the extraction, which lets you get straight to the analytics. And they can automatically identify dimensions (categories). Like most platforms, their analytics are report (and dashboard) driven, but they have an ever growing library of reports, you can view data on (and drill down into) any dimension hierarchy you choose, and they are building in the ability to add user-defined parameters and indexes to certain classes of reports in the next release.

Accounts Payable Support: Not only do they suck in invoice data, but they have rule-sets that allow them to automatically detect overpayments and automatically generate reports that alert you to duplicate invoices, duplicate charges across invoices, duplicate payments, overpayments, payments to the wrong supplier, and other discrepancies. Some customers have recovered the cost of an annual license in a month with this feature alone. In addition, they also have similar tax reporting capabilities. Their tax reports will detect overpayments, underpayments, and, more importantly, missed payments that could cause import/export problems for you down the road.

Contracts Support: Integrated with their AP reporting / overpayment detection capabilities, their contracts module allows you to upload your contracts or integrate with an external contract repository. Either way, once you define the appropriate meta-data and triggers, the platform takes care of the rest.

Savings Analysis: Working with global partners, they have developed a savings module, complete with McKinsey-esque bubble charts, that identifies your top savings opportunities based upon your supply base, spend, and market indices. While the current version does not allow you to define your own customized savings plan, the next version will allow you to define your own indexes and support parameters that will allow you to tailor the opportunity reports to your company. And while this still won’t give you the control that user-defined measures will, for your average sourcing professional who’s still making seat-off-the-pants decisions based on total spend and instinct, it’s a great step in the right direction, as it’s the first step to truly bringing spend intelligence to the masses in your average organization.

Sustainability Support: While not yet available, Rosslyn is working hard to integrate a large number of external data feeds that go beyond standard price and risk indices and include carbon and sustainability data. Building on this data, and their ability to do trend analysis (which is currently built in for supplier and category data), they’re in the process of creating a sustainability tracking and reporting solution that will be on-line early next quarter.

All-in-all, it’s a great platform for any organization starting on their supply management journey or stuck in a rut because of the limited capabilities and reach of traditional on-premise platforms built with a single user in mind. And when you’re ready, you can use it to supercharge the performance of your power-analysts as they will have a normalized, cleansed, and enriched data source to start with in the application of their stand-alone analyst tools.

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