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Create business advantage with on-demand procurement intelligence

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by Beroe Inc.
3 February 2017

According to Deloitte’s most recent Global CPO Survey[1], 74 percent of top procurement leaders consider cost reduction to be their top priority as they look to sustain business growth in a slowing market.  In this data driven age, procurement intelligence not only sustains cost optimization opportunities but also enables procurement organizations to play a strategic role. Yet only 32 percent* of category managers currently maintain comprehensive category intelligence documents.

The danger of getting caught up in an information whirlpool

Today, data is not only collected and analyzed at rapid frequency but also is constantly referenced for predictive analysis. While it’s essential for procurement teams to use real-time flow of insights to shape and inform the entire decision-making process, they may often encounter multiple challenges, including:

  • Identifying how, where and when to source high-quality data for procurement category intelligence.
  • Using available data to predict and understand the effects of global trends and political turmoil. For example, the speed at which the Brexit vote took place caught the entire business community by surprise. Such a situation could have been avoided by preparing a reliable scenario analysis.
  • Developing in-house procurement knowledge, which often involves reading through large volumes of expensive industry journals and relevant online information. As such it’s tough to build a full-fledged, in-house market intelligence team from scratch.

Procurement intelligence – why ‘sensing the direction of the wind’ is important

Understanding the best-case and worst-case scenarios with actionable market intelligence can help strategic procurement specialists predict, analyze and manage risk with a reasonable degree of certainty. In the Brexit case, market intelligence reports could have helped evaluate the micro and macro implications on sourcing, import and export of goods, real estate, staffing and labor, currency, commodities and more.

Setting up a reliable market intelligence program requires expertise in multiple fields, and often involves intensive primary and secondary research. While this can no doubt be analyzed in-house, there may be greater value in partnering with niche ‘finger on the pulse’ procurement intelligence companies who specialize in procurement category intelligence across diverse industries as it would save time, effort and cost.

Partnering with the right procurement intelligence company

While generic category intelligence is widely available in the alleyways of the internet, it’s not always easy to locate relevant, reliable and specific intelligence that would fit the buyer’s sourcing context. This is where the services of a third-party procurement intelligence company might be of value – especially if this company regularly gathers data and context from a wide variety of sources such as suppliers, industry experts, journals, and also buyers. As a procurement leader looking for the right partner to support your organization, consider the following capabilities:

  • Depth of expertise – Does the procurement intelligence provider have a peer network of sourcing managers, category heads, suppliers, industry experts and other relevant professionals? Also consider the range of industries and verticals covered.
  • Access to intelligence – Look for a partner who offers real-time, on-demand access to reports and category data via a self-service platform, allowing you to easily engage with their services over the cloud.  Dealing with an intelligence agency who can offer an on-demand, readily available service can cut down turnaround time by almost 80%
  • Range of services – Is the procurement intelligence provider a generic research  firm, or are they a niche procurement intelligence player? Can they offer customized procurement and supply market intelligence that are aligned with specific business needs?
  • Market credibility and current client base – Does the procurement intelligence company have a sustained market presence? How have they helped their existing clients consume intelligence?
  • Client involvement – It is essential for a two-way flow of information to exist between the intelligence service provider and the buyer. Identify if there are opportunities for you as a buyer to contribute to the peer network. As a buyer, will you get access to polls and online peer group discussions which are good indicators of market benchmarks?
  • Depth of geographical coverage – How deep is the intelligence provider’s knowledge of the local and global regulatory landscape, and how up-do-date are their compliance insights?
  • A library of thought leadership – Does the intelligence provider have a library of informative thought leadership such as Whitepapers, Articles, and Blogs etc?

The right procurement intelligence partner will provide buyers with up-to minute, tailored insights about various market-related and spend-related areas. These verified and expert insights will help sourcing managers to  make the right ‘buy or no buy’ decisions – and this would ensure  the procurement organization to stay ahead of competitive forces and manage core processes more effectively. Are you ready to create business advantage with the help of procurement intelligence?

[1] The Deloitte Global CPO Survey 2016. Procurement: at a digital tipping point?. * CEB


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