Can staff outsourcing save a business up to 60% on operational costs?

In a survey published in the New York Times, American workers admitted that only about 35% of their day was productive work time. The rest is lost to distractions – instant messages, chatting, the internet, and primarily meetings.

The wage bill is the largest overhead of most companies, and therefore if your employees are not delivering on their quotas or Key Performance Indicators, you are losing money. This is unless you improve on your service delivery and market competitiveness by increasing that 35% productive work time to as close to 100% as possible. It can be accomplished though staff outsourcing, which achieves: lower costs; more skilled staff; more focused management; and improved customer service, resulting in greater retention of customers.

For instance, we take over staff as diverse as drivers, hospitality workers, even farm workers, and through tight management of staff over multiple sites, we cut levels of absenteeism, sick leave, unproductivity, and poor work ethic. This enable clients to focus on their core business. Our main function is staffing, and we achieve productivity by improving employees’ working conditions, resulting in happier staff.

Outsourcing allows a business to skip certain personnel costs such as health insurance and leave pay – without the employees losing those benefits. We take over that burden, leaving the client with a predictable cost each month. We manage our 6,000+ staff among multiple clients to ensure all our employees are busy all the time which considerably reduces downtime for our clients.

Hiring good people can be the biggest worry for many businesses, as there are few businesses for whom it is a core skill. Outsourcing frees companies from the hassle of in-house hiring, and instead of dealing with multiple potential and permanent employees, you only need to focus on one point of contact. Further, the hassle and stress of appointing people is done on your behalf allowing you to invest that time elsewhere.

Good customer service is the foundation of any company, but over-stretched executives wasting time hiring and firing, rarely give it sufficient attention. Outsourcing to someone who handles the repetitive and redundant tasks such as staffing, administrative work, BEE practices and security, saves a company time and energy to focus on more important functions that can exponentially increase a firm’s productivity and efficiency. It opens the door to expansion and business ideas.

Each of these is an actual cost saving. The proof is in the number of companies that are currently outsourcing.

The ballpark figure of 60% saving varies from company to company, depending on their own efficiency. This is achieved more through improved productivity than cutting costs. The primary benefit of outsourcing your staff is to improve your corporate focus and to offer customers a more competitive solution.

Arnoux Maré is the MD of Innovative Staffing Solutions.

What is the driving success with EPM?

Consistent, profitable growth – these are the words which define one of the biggest challenges facing the enterprise today.

They form the mantra of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and underscore the inordinate pressure on the enterprise as it seeks to thrive in mercurial markets and shifting political landscapes. The organisation is in the tricky position of having to navigate these minefields while continually improving efficiencies and enabling innovation.

The way in which the CFO tackles these challenges has a fundamental impact on the viability and longevity of the enterprise. If the organisation doesn’t adjust fast enough or adapt quickly enough it can lose significant market share – the demise of many well-known organisations tell this tale all too well. Companies such as Blockbuster, Kodak and Motorola have all failed to move with the changing economic and social tides.

That said, there are steps the CFO can take to steer the enterprise towards success and sustainability.

The first of these is to throw out the silos. Instead there needs to be alignment of the entire value chain which is then accurately measured against strategic objectives. The supply chain, production, customers, workforce and capital expenditure should be aligned with one another and with organisational strategy.  

This philosophy needs to be represented throughout the business – from the top down, overcoming the chasm between executive decision and employee implementation. The executive disconnect must be repaired, remuneration schemes adjusted and middle management visibility made a priority. By automatically ceding operational finance plans from strategic financial models, the CFO can create the perfect bridge of alignment between top down and bottom up planning.

The second step is to drive the business forward by focusing on the road ahead. Time spent analysing historic variances without looking to time spent on relevant forecasting is like driving a car using the rear-view mirror. Always backwards, never forwards. Strategic modelling, budgeting and forecasting are fundamental to success. Your business is only looking forward when it is laying down the operational and financial roadmap with a clear vision for success.

Finally, the enterprise must find the right balance between detail and speed of process. Economic, social and political volatility make it difficult to plan and forecast accurately. In addition, the rate of change in these environments make it essential that the CFO redirect organisational plans faster, and more often. Add to this the expectations of stakeholders for swifter results reporting and accurate forecasts, and it is easy to see why the financial executive is under pressure.

This is where technology can play a pivotal role. Technology implemented correctly will ensure an effective balance between planning, speed and agility. Today, the CFO has access to EPM solutions designed to help them achieve their strategic objectives. It allows them to move away from traditionally complex and convoluted systems towards more integrated and intuitive solutions which deliver richer reporting functionality and financial management.

According to research conducted by CFO Publishing LLC, more than 70% of CFOs feel that, by being able to automate their financial processes, they would make finance more important in the organisation by becoming more involved with operations and providing more time to deliver higher value work.

It is essential that the CFO embrace what the right technology can do for their business. And the emphasis here is on the word ‘right’ – an EPM solution which is correctly matched to the business will deliver the productivity, capability and agility the enterprise needs.

Allan Saffy is the Director of EPM Solutions at Decision Inc.

Is there light at the end of the PoPI tunnel?

The Information Regulator has been working hard on draft Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act regulations that will soon be tabled in parliament.

The PoPI Act stipulates how companies may collect, handle, store and discard information, with heavy penalties for those that fail to comply.

PoPI can only commence once the Information Regulator is operational and once the commencement date of the Act is announced, organisations will have 12 months to comply with the Act.

The PoPI commencement date could be before the end of the year. Although the newly appointed team cannot commit to a definite date, they certainly seem to be hard at work conceptualising and thinking through the type of organisation they want to establish.

The Information Regulator has indicated that it would be undertaking a benchmarking exercise to look at other data protection laws in other countries. The team also stressed that they wanted to be transparent and accessible and welcomed engagement with industry sectors and other stakeholders.

Furthermore, the Deputy Minister of Justice Honourable John Jeffries warned that with the POPIA commencement date looming, both public and private bodies should prepare to comply and that there was no reason to delay compliance efforts.

The newly appointed team is tasked with ensuring that personal information is protected and that the free flow of information is promoted. There is already a perception that this team is the PoPI Regulator, but they are not. Their mission is to ensure that both the constitutionally guaranteed right of access to information and the right to privacy are equally protected and enjoyed.

The team has taken a strategic decision to use the expertise they have to their disposal to do the groundwork required to establish the Regulator and to use consultants where this is absolutely necessary. This will give them the opportunity to learn every aspect of POPIA, which by all accounts, is a complex piece of legislation.

Since taking office, the team established the governance structure of the Regulator. Section 49 of PoPI Act mandates the Regulator to establish one or more Committees for the proper performance of its functions. These Committees may consist of members of the Regulator or other members which the Regulator may appoint.

They have established a number of committees and took into consideration the experience and expertise of members to designate the chairpersons of each committee. In due course, it may appoint external members to these Committees and it will do so in consultation with the Minister of Finance as envisaged in section 47(7) of PoPI Act.

Most organisations have very little or no idea when it comes to the protection of personal information when disposing of redundant IT assets. By retiring technology assets wisely, businesses can offset the cost of a secure IT asset disposition programme.

Understanding what information to protect is vital. Once you know where this information resides, you can put a plan in place to secure it. Data encryption will help control what data leaves the organisation and also ensure that data is not accessible.

When it comes to data leakage, employees are probably one of the weakest links in any organisation. Confidential information is often mistakenly sent to wrong email recipients and as a result, the company could be legally liable.

If there is a breach, the financial implications can possibly cripple an organisation. If found guilty, companies will face potential civil claims, fines and reputational damage.

The Act enforces companies to introduce strict measures and guidelines that will safeguard the processing, usage and handling of sensitive information. It places a strict onus on businesses when it comes to handling personal information about their clients, staff and customers.

Company executives responsible for IT asset management need to understand the principles of IT Asset Disposal (ITAD) and they need to consider regulatory compliance and the protection of company information at end of IT life cycle. IT disposal has legislative requirements, compliance to PoPI.

Wale Arewa is the CEO at Xperien.

How to make a career comeback at any age

Have you been out of the workforce for a long time and now you’re keen to make a comeback? Do you maybe feel like you’re too old to start a new career or that the odds are stacked against you because you’re a woman?

Whether you had to take an extended break from employment due to giving birth, divorce, and unsuccessful business or whether you’re starting from scratch, many women in South Africa decide to go back to work after facing various circumstances. However, it’s not always as simple as picking up where you left off, especially if your biological clock starts counting against you, and finding a job has proven to be more difficult than anticipated for many.

Most women in South Africa might battle to find employment after taking a break from the workplace for an extended period of time.

With the times and technology changing as much as it does, how you job hunt is crucial to your success. Spamming recruiters and sending your CV to millions of users and the entire cyberspace definitely won’t cut it.

During the G20 summit in Australia, South Africa listed the country’s low employment rate of women as one of its key challenges. It also stated that South African women are more likely to be unemployed, despite obtaining education levels that are equal to or even higher than those of men.

According to new research by Ros Altmann, the Government’s Business Champion for Older Workers, women’s careers are being ‘‘cut off’’ at 45 due to a combination of ageism and gender discrimination.

With so many disheartening factors at play, how does a woman re-enter the job market if she has been out of it for so long? Also, what are some of the key skills women need to refine before they start applying for jobs?

With the above in mind, women who are looking for employment in the current market are urged to shift their approach from the old way of applying, and adjust to modern times. She also suggests that women incorporate the following to assist with their new job seeking approach:  

1. Create a strong online presence:

Get online and update your profiles like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Over 100 000 people use LinkedIn, including CEOs, HR managers etc. Also bear in mind that employers search for candidates online.

2. Don’t just press send

Research has shown that job-seekers need to stop relying on email correspondence only. It has been proven that candidates who make an effort to follow up by phone call after sending their CV receive far more positive feedback, as this shows enthusiasm.

3. Network

As the saying goes – it’s not what you know, but who you know. Consider joining a business networking group so that you can meet and mingle with industry peers and experts.

4. Continuously upgrade your skills

Employers are looking for candidates who keep their job skills current and can remain competitive in the marketplace.

5. Redefine and know what sets you apart

Once you’ve made your skills relevant again, you will need to find a way to demonstrate your uniqueness and competence as a potential employee. Be clear and specific on what sets you apart from the younger or more mature candidates.

6. Go easy on yourself

Starting a job after a long career break can be challenging and even feel overwhelming at times. You will be faced with the usual stresses of getting to know people and learning the ropes, but don’t let that dishearten you. Don’t try to be superwomen, but instead play to your strengths.

Last, but certainly not least – be bold. Remember that you were once great, and that you still are. Confidence goes a long way, and most companies make employment decisions based on first impressions.

Kay Vittee is the CEO of Kelly.

Is Big Data transforming insurance?

The growth of data has changed the way insurers use information. Today, they need to more effectively tap into new data sources to better price their risks and improve customer relationships.

Even though the uptake of Big Data in the insurance industry has been slower than expected, it has certainly captured the attention of many companies that are looking to create competitive advantage in a market that is becoming increasingly fickle. Consumers are no longer brand loyal to an insurer with the wealth of information at their disposal making it easy for them to move between service providers as their needs change.

Fortunately, Big Data has the potential to create more pro-activity in the industry. Being able to leverage a vast amount of data means the insurer can adopt a predictive approach versus the re-active and responsive nature of the past.

Just like customers are arming themselves with better information on the various offerings available in the market, so too are insurers able to create more bespoke solutions tailored to specific user needs. The real-time analysis of Big Data brings with it several business benefits such as more nuanced policies, better estimates in terms of customer analysis, and the like.

Additionally, Big Data makes meeting the ever-changing regulatory and compliance demands of the insurance industry faster and more cost effective.

Algorithms based off Big Data can dynamically monitor and adhere to compliance allowing insurers to reduce their costs and improve their decision-making. It also enables pricing models to be updated in real-time rather than only a few times a year. This brings with it increased accuracy to individual risk pricing ultimately making premiums fairer and more reflective of that risk.

Using data means insurers can therefore more accurately price their risk and assess those risks they are willing to insure. However, this could lead to areas where insurers are unwilling to provide coverage and ultimately leads to the question of who will take responsibility for the uninsurable.

Another issue that bears mentioning is the matter of consent to the sharing of Big Data in the insurance industry. To overcome this, several insurers are offering their customers better base level cover to entice the sharing of their personal data. In this way, consumers can draw direct benefit from providing information to insurers that ultimately leads to the development of better solutions and products across the industry.

However, the opportunities created by Big Data for insurers cannot be ignored.

In today’s environment, individual considerations are becoming less important and a new dynamic is being created in the way that insurers interact with customers. It is no longer good enough to simply dictate to customers the solutions they need to get. Instead, it is understanding customer requirements better through more effective data analysis to offer them something more suited to their requirements.

Kelly Preston is the data analytics manager at SilverBridge.

How outsourcing can benefit your company

The Deloitte Global Outsourcing Survey 2016 found that outsourcing will continue to grow, providing customers with innovative services and solutions that help them cut costs while remaining competitive and on track.

However, not all outsourcing is created equal and should be undertaken with a measure of consideration and a dollop of common sense.

Business process outsourcing (BPO) has evolved into a thriving and enormously successful market, accelerating in growth as it constantly reinvents itself and adapts to the changing paces of digital, country and economy.

Outsourcing allows for the business to achieve specific goals or tasks without having to train people, understand the solution or manage risk and redundancy. You get the advantage of expertise and advice, you can say farewell to the operational elements completely and you get built-in redundancy – a win for any size business.

There is also the immediate cost benefit in that the business does not need to invest in infrastructure or employees to gain access to superlative solutions and technology. That said, outsourcing must be undertaken with clear goals in mind and with the right service provider.

The benefit of BPO

Software upgrades, backup restores and system management – all these issues disappear into the hands of the service provider so the business can focus on delivering its core services, not on managing its internal ones. In addition, BPO mitigates the impact of employee loss due to illness or personal circumstance as the service provider must deliver on its mandate – regardless of the challenge, the organisation is assured of immediate continuity.

Another advantage is in confidentialit. For example, with executive payroll you can outsource the information to another business rather than keep it internal which will ensure the numbers remain private.

Some of the best tasks or services to allocate to the BPO model would be payroll, customer support and helpdesk, web design and virtual assistants. Each of these offerings comes with the best of breed in technology and capability, each one taking a load off the organisation’s proverbial shoulders.

360 degrees of awareness

There is much to commend BPO – it’s seamless, it cuts on costs, it creates room for the company to breathe while giving them access to the latest in technology and solutions, and it can be tailored to budget and business. However, the organisation must ensure that they select a reputable provider who has systems in place to protect critical data and who don’t happen to hold the data of a competitor in their hands.

You don’t want to run the risk of a competitor uncovering your critical data. So, pick a service provider which doesn’t have anyone in the same game, that minimises risk to your business, is aware of its redundancies, has rigorous security and is well audited. You are putting your business in someone else’s hands so make sure it is someone you can trust.

Teryl Schroenn is the Chief Executive Officer at Accsys.

The millennial’s guide to retirement saving

Millennial workers, those who entered adulthood in the early 21st century, are now at a stage where they need to be looking at their retirement seriously in order to maintain their lifestyles in their later years.

With only 6% of South Africans currently being able to retire comfortably, the reality is that with longer predicted life spans and the prospect of weaker investment returns, Millennials will need to save more money over a longer period than their Baby Boomer parents did.

The need to save for retirement is as pertinent as ever, warning Millennials against continuously pushing the matter out. Although we cannot fully imagine the world in 2050, when this generation starts to wane, we can safely predict that there will still be no free lunch. Millennials have a reputation for being reluctant savers, yet they are in far better shape to avoid the many investment pitfalls that tripped up their parents.

The Baby Boomer generation – the first having to secure its own retirement – was poorly informed in comparison to Millennials. Basic financial insights and planning tools were not readily available, certainly not at the touch of a screen like it is today. Millennials have access to a mass of useful resources and retirement products have evolved to better serve their needs.

Unlike their parents, Millennials don’t have to settle for a policy-based retirement annuity (RA) if they are without a workplace retirement fund. Low-cost index funds, for example, only went mainstream around fifteen years ago. These funds deliver superior returns at lower cost than most active managers – some costing less than 1% per annum, with each 1% per annum improvement over a working life improving an individual’s retirement income by some 30%.

One thing that has not changed is the value of time in the market, and that delaying saving for retirement is the most expensive mistake a Millennial can make. For every R10 000 you don’t save at age 25, you have to save R26 500 at age 45 (in today’s money terms, before factoring in for inflation), just to make up for the lost return. And if you don’t start saving until age 45, then instead of saving R10 000 per month from age 25, you have to save R37 000 per month to still retire with the same amount money at age 65.  

One way Millennials can add to their savings is to make a top-up contribution to an RA before the tax year ends on 28 February. This is a simple and effective way to reduce income tax, boost savings, and earn compounding tax-free returns for 30 or 40 years. Recent rule changes mean that RA contributions can now be claimed against all taxable income (not just non-pensionable income), and at the much higher rate of 27.5%, (subject to a total cap of R350 000).

Millennials are reminded that the single biggest regret of present-day pensioners is that they did not save more. As a Millennial, you can avoid those regrets. You have the tools and the insight at your disposal, and you have access to products that serve your needs and promise a much higher return. It’s never been simpler or easier to save effectively for retirement, and topping-up your RA is a great way to take advantage of this.

Steven Nathan is the CEO of 10X Investments.

Is there a shift from expat to local for multinational leadership teams in Africa?

Global multinationals throughout Africa are increasingly filling their top leadership teams with executives from the continent – a move away from the historical trend of appointing mostly expats to key positions.

Research into the leadership landscape in key economic hubs in Africa, shows that local leaders make up the vast majority of executive teams of multinational organisations in Africa. Only 35% of executives in the leadership teams surveyed were expats and, of these, 30% were expats from other African countries.

The findings indicate that, contrary to some perceptions, there is indeed a notable pool of local talent ready and able to take up senior leadership roles, and that companies are increasingly willing to take the step to do so, instead of merely jetting in leaders from head offices around the world.

The soon to be released annual Jack Hammer Executive Report Volume IV, The Africa Report, researched the makeup of the executive teams of 36 multinational companies which successfully navigated expansion and growth in Africa, including General Electric, Siemens, Unilever, Microsoft, Coca Cola and Procter & Gamble.

The research interrogated several key data points among the top leadership in these companies, including qualifications, salaries, roles and leadership pipelines, gender transformation and individual track records.

We can say with great certainty that this research has debunked the notion that multinationals would rather not appoint local leaders to key roles. But companies still fill at least one of the two key leadership positions with an expat, although the gap is closing.

The research shows that 58% of companies had an expat as Chief Financial Officer (or equivalent) and 61% of companies had an expat as CEO (country head or equivalent).

It is not surprising that 61% of CEOs are still expats, given the reality that companies still elect the safe, ‘tried and tested’ approach when making their most senior appointments.

Yet the 39% of companies that have made a local appointment to the most senior position shows that businesses are increasingly recognising the benefit of selecting a suitably qualified executive who understands the local context to head their operations in Africa.

As an aside, it was also very interesting to note that in South Africa, even with its perceived well-developed talent pool, the number of expats were roughly comparable to the spread throughout other African countries surveyed.

Research further shows that the local executives who occupied the top positions had carefully navigated their careers right from the start, and held advanced qualifications in strong technical or financial fields, as well as having built a solid track record either at another multinational or abroad.

But too many companies still make leadership decisions based on inaccurate information and even on outright myths – then must manage the fallout from costly mistakes.

Expanding into Africa and growing a sustainable business is no longer an unknown, obscure exercise – although some companies still approach it as such. Knee-jerk stop-gaps for key appointments are no longer appropriate or necessary, and it is time for business to stop, think and figure out a coherent strategy for building their leadership teams, particularly given the well-developed and growing pool of suitably qualified and experienced local leaders.

Debbie Goodman-Bhyat is the CEO of Jack Hammer.

2017-03-06-11-55-39

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How much baggage are you carrying?

Whenever I travel by air and I’ll be away from home for just one night, I travel as light as I can – one appropriately sized carry-on bag and that’s it.

It’s such a pleasure arriving at one’s destination and being able to walk past the baggage carousels where your fellow travellers have to stand and wait to collect their checked in luggage. One is usually able to get to the car hire outlet ahead of the crowd and get out of the airport and on one’s way with the minimum of fuss.  

As an addicted people watcher, I am fascinated by the baggage other passengers carry on to planes, particularly those travelers who simply have more carry-on baggage than they can handle (despite the well-communicated baggage restrictions of the airline).   

Airlines generally provide for passengers to carry one bag of about seven kilograms onto the flight, as well as a handbag, laptop or briefcase. Invariably, there are passengers with all of that, and more – bottles of wine or other gifts, and a bunch of other extras, resulting in the person holding up everybody behind them as they struggle to negotiate steps and aisles, and then, wait for it, fill up the limited overhead space with all their extras, leaving the other passengers booked in their row to have to wander around until they’ve found spare space in the overhead compartments somewhere else. Of course, these passengers then have to wait for everybody else to disembark so they can proceed 10 rows back to collect their carry-on baggage where they were forced to stow it.

Baggage is a necessary part of long distance travel. When you’re travelling to a destination far removed from where you are – and you’re going to stay for a period of time – you’re going to need to take some luggage, otherwise known as baggage, with you. Of course, if you’re carrying too much baggage while in transit, your mobility will be severely restricted and the simplest undertaking in terms of moving from one place to another becomes a major undertaking, not to mention the inconvenience you cause your fellow passengers.

The trick is to carry only the baggage necessary for your trip and no more. That helps you to remain mobile and independent, not requiring the help of airline staff of other travellers, to get to where you want to.

What kind of baggage do you carry on to a flight when you travel? Are you a light traveller or a traveller that carries too much baggage?

More to the point, as a leader, what kind of emotional baggage are you carrying in your life?

Leaders don’t have the luxury of being able to carry too much baggage because they have to be focused on their people. They can’t afford to be weighed down by their own baggage because they will then be unable to help anyone else.

Have you ever noticed how little baggage tour guides carry? They carry the bare minimum – so that they are able to focus on their tour group. Imagine a heavily weighed down tour guide trying to shepherd a bunch of tourists through an unfamiliar airport. It would be an absolute circus.

The same applies to business leaders. When you carry too much baggage in the business world, you are continually under a lot more pressure simply because your baggage is weighing you down.

Stop and have a look at the baggage you’re carrying at the moment. Is it necessary? Is it baggage you’ve become so used to carrying that you no longer notice it and can’t remember why you’re still carrying it – but you are.

In my age management programme for senior executives, I deal mainly with leaders from 50 years and up. Many of them are carrying a tremendous amount of baggage, and they’re all united by one common fact: none of them are happy and fulfilled. If carrying baggage were to make you happy, I’d say, “Carry all the baggage you can!” But it won’t. So drop the baggage!

Take a good look at how much baggage you’re carrying and make a conscious effort to drop all of the unnecessary baggage you’re carrying. That will set you free to be the leader you were meant to be.

Alan Hosking is the publisher of HR Future magazine, www.hrfuture.net, @HRFuturemag, and assists executives to prevent, reverse and delay ageing, and achieve self-mastery.

How to leverage quality data to optimise spending and procurement

For any enterprise, the ability to accurately analyse their spending can be enormously beneficial. Not only can spend analysis assist with identifying potential areas for reducing cost, it can also help to improve operational performance, as well as assisting with compliance objectives.

However, many organisations remain unable to perform effective spend analysis due to a lack of sufficient, accurate and timely insight into corporate spending.

Access to carefully consolidated data is essential in helping enterprises to understand their spending patterns. This in turn is critical for optimising spend and leveraging maximum value from budgets to boost the bottom line and enhance performance.

Spend analysis can be defined as the process of aggregating, classifying, and leveraging spend data for the purpose of reducing costs, improving operational performance, and ensuring compliance. With this definition in mind, spend analysis should include: the identification; automated collection; cleansing; grouping; categorisation; and analysis of all spend data for the goods and services purchased for the organisation.

Utilising and analysing spend data can help enterprises to understand what was bought, when and where, how many suppliers were used, how much was spent with each, how much was paid for the items, and more. With this information at their fingertips, organisations can identify and focus on items that have a disproportionally high spend. Utilising root cause analysis may then identify a more cost effective solution, or allow a discount to be negotiated with a supplier. Spend analysis can be highly beneficial to assist procurement organisations with leveraging buying power, reducing costs, better managing and overseeing suppliers, and developing an informed procurement strategy.

While the concept of spend analysis seems straightforward enough in theory and the benefits are clear, in practice they may prove difficult to achieve, as a result of a lack of appropriate data. A number of factors may affect this, including poor quality materials, services and supplier data, with the result that the total spend on a particular item, or supplier, may be impossible to identify. Some other challenges surrounding data for spend analysis purposes include disparate data sources, inconsistencies with vendor or supplier naming conventions, inaccurate or incomplete procurement data, limited analytics capabilities, and the use of manual spreadsheets for the classification and analysis of data. Without adequate and accurate data, organisations are typically unable to realise economies of scale or gain a comprehensive view of business spending.

Data quality and data governance are the keys to unlocking the potential of spend analysis, since it is dependent on the accuracy and consistency of materials and services data captured during the procurement process. For example, when the same item is captured more than once, with varying descriptions or units of measure, the spend analysis will typically recognise these as two separate items and does not reflect an accurate total spend. Minimum product standards need to be agreed upon and enforced through a combination of education and data quality rules and validations. This creates the accurate “single view of the product” that is necessary for meaningful spend analysis.

Gary Allemann is the Managing Director at Master Data Management.

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