Daily Archives: July 27, 2023

It Doesn’t Matter Where You Start, You End with BoB in Analytics!

In a recent article, we asked in the battle of Suite vs. BoB (Best-of-Breed), which do you choose, and ended up with the answer of neither, but potentially both, because, as indicated in our article we asked in our post on Where’s the Procurement Management Platform, you need a true platform (that enables the creation of a true source-to-pay plus ecosystem for the various workflows and processes that need to be managed).

As a result, we indicated you could start where you wanted, provided:

  • you could conceivably manage it,
  • the vendor offers, and publicly publishes, a complete Open API, and
  • the vendor offers the necessary quick-start services.

(And for even more details on each of these requirements, stay tuned for our upcoming article on how it doesn’t matter where you start, you end with BoB in SXM).

But where do you end up? For some Procurement Practitioners, it depends on:

  • the module,
  • the organization’s biggest need for workflow/process management, and
  • the organization’s biggest savings/cost avoidance/value creation opportunities.

(And again, we’ll have even more details in our upcoming article on how you end with BoB in SXM for more details.)

But for Analytics, like SXM, you will end at BoB for analytics as no suite equals the best in class (BiC) (spend) analytics solutions (even if they are built in BiC technologies for generic analytics like Qlik or Tableau) as the true BoB spend analysis solutions (which are fewer and further between than you would expect) are leagues beyond them.

Moreover, for Analytics, you should start with BiC, even if the suite has a pre-packaged solution that’s pretty good, enough to get going, more than your fledgeling analysts are likely to be able to handle in the first year, and appears to be offering the module cheap as an add on to everything else they are selling you. Why?

Lots and lots of reasons. Here are five to get you started:

  • Top X Opportunities: Suites will only show you your top 10 categories, top 10 suppliers, top unmanaged tail categories, etc. No guarantee that these primitive, canned, analysis will be YOUR biggest opportunities. BoB will come with hundreds of built-in analytics, considerably more customization capability, and the power to find opportunities that pre-built suites and dashboards will never give you.
  • Better Classification: Suites will do a decent classification, usually through their black box AI (trained on billions and trillions), but even if they get to 95%, it won’t be great, it won’t be manageable, and it won’t be customizable to your organization’s need. BoB, when it uses AI, will use it to create rules, that can be corrected and overridden, that you can customize to your specific taxonometric needs for optimized Procurement (and no standard industry classification is worth its weight in protactinium), usually starting with an out-of-the-box taxonomy customized to your industry using the vendor’s experience and community knowledge.
  • Better Analytics: many of these tools have a lot more capability in terms of report construction, dimension derivation, metric support, integrated data science, etc. etc. etc.
  • Better UX: while UX is completely subjective, and as per a (previous/upcoming) rant, is not something an analyst should be scoring and advising you on (as the best UX is the one that works best for you), in general, the probability is very high that you will find these BoB tools more customizeable in workflow and configuration, more logical in workflow, and much easier to use (if this wasn’t the case, no one would buy these tools and the vendors would have closed their [virtual] doors a long time ago)
  • Beyond Analytics: most BoB solutions will have integrated opportunity selection and project/savings tracking, performance/throughput/project metric support, and/or risk-based analytics. The value of analytics is continually overlooked because the “Savings” is identified in the sourcing event, captured in the contract, and realized in Procurement, and no one wants to acknowledge the opportunity would not even have been identified without analytics.

And, finally, why not get used to using a best-in-class tool from the get-go so you don’t have to relearn a new tool when you max out the capabilities of the suite solution and are ready for the next level? Especially when, as you get better and better at analytics and dive deeper and deeper into categories, you can improve the taxonometric mappings, track all the opportunities you identify (and your progress), do what-if analysis when the mood strikes, and get productive in a tool that will do [much, much] more for you in the long run?

So, while you might select a suite SIM module as a foundation for your supplier data store when you need to start centralizing supplier data somewhere for your sourcing projects and procurement buys (which is where your organization has determined it needs to start its S2P journey), when you’re ready for analytics, just go straight to BoB. (And if the C-Suite wants to see reports in the fancy suite, buy the basic reporting package and let them use the basic dashboards. And if the suite supports custom dashboards, then pump the appropriate analytics back in as reporting data. Get good with best-in-class analytics from the go with the best solution you can.)