SpendHQ: Revving Up Visibility Into Your Supply Base

When we last dug into SpendHQ back in 2014 (Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV), we noted how this solution has grown from a simple spend reporting tool into a fully featured spend visibility tool that tracks all of your spend over time — by category, department, and user; a category management tool that lets you dive into category spend and filter down to the items of interest, see managed vs unmanaged spend, and track compliance; and, as of the next release later this quarter, track contract meta data and do basic contract lifecycle management.

We also noted that while it was not the most powerful (ad-hoc) spend analysis solution on the market, it was a really great solution for a mid-market company without a (useable) spend analysis or visibility solution that needed to get one up and running quickly, accurately, and usefully (as the solution has more power and capabilities than the average company needs to get great results). Within 4-6 weeks, a company with no spend analysis capability can be up and running 100% and be making useful, informed decisions.

Since then, they have been hard at work improving the contract module; adding a new compliance module in the visibility engine that allows the user to instantly see, for the selected categories, the addressable spend, the managed spend, the compliance rate, and the impact rate; and a brand new vendor detail module that sits on top of their brand new supplier database that contains information on about 20 Million entities that was formed from the fusing of their database of over 7.5 M entities that they built up over 12 years of operation and InsideView’s database of over 15 Million entities. The database has basic vendor information (address, ownership, status, industry, revenue, etc.), insights (on products, services, strengths, etc.), family tree (which contains ownership, subsidiary and sibling information), and financial data. A user can also see all associated contracts in the contract module and click into the details of each one as required.

One of the gems of the platform is the new and improved Category Management module with greatly enhanced savings management capability. On a category basis, this module summarizes spend, managed spend, core list compliance, and pricing accuracy — where each unit purchased is compared against the contract price. This allows an organization to identify maverick spend and overspend during the contract (on every refresh) and address issues as they arise. Within a category, they can drill into each item and see total spend and drill into spend by location and/or buyer, allowing them to zero in on maverick spend and spend that is priced off-contract. The pricing accuracy can drill down from a category to an item if need be and track inaccuracies, undercharges, overcharges, and overall error rate (as well as overall loss).

In addition, the particular interface customization and support for MRO, T&E, shipping and small parcel spend categories, often overlooked “tail spend”, is far superior to an average product and lets a buyer not only figure out what is maverick or going to on-contract suppliers (but being billed at off-contract rates), but how the spend breaks down across base charges, fuel charges, surcharges, and so on. This allows you to drill into the cost drivers of categories and products, and attack the real cost drivers in a strategic engagement. The specific capabilities built for shipments in particular are quite good. The shipment analytics breaks costs down into accessorials, zones, and fuel surcharges so that an organization can see precisely how the spend is breaking down, where the bulk of the charges are, and where any overspend are.

SpendHQ was built for the sourcing organization that wants a best of breed spend analysis and visibility tool and support maintaining and interpreting it, with the option to engage the right expert at the right time in the right categories to maximize savings. Its more of a “savings as a service” offering than the majority of other spend analysis players, and the best results come from augmenting it with ISG’s sourcing expertise that can help identify the right category to source to maximize savings at any given time. It’s a vendor that should definitely be kept on your radar.

For a deeper dive into SpendHQ, keep an eye out for the upcoming in-depth Spend Matters Pro review [membership required] by the doctor and the prophet that will appear later this summer.