We all know that data drives the enterprise. It’s instrumental in helping teams single out new opportunities and make better decisions, faster. In the enterprise-wide drive to harness the power of data, it’s up to sourcing professionals to ensure that they keep up with the pack. Sourcing departments that prioritize high-quality data see a huge business impact on the enterprise with far-reaching benefits that go beyond the obvious (and not insignificant!) cost-saving advantages.
Sourcing is rife with data-rich opportunities. Indeed, a single sourcing event can turn into a big data scenario by the time you factor in the number of bid elements that can be collected from each supplier, multiplied by the number of suppliers invited to submit their bids. To draw meaningful conclusions from the sourced data, you need to A) know that your data is top-grade and B) have access to the right tool to analyze the data. If you have these prerequisites in place, collecting and analyzing becomes a pretty painless effort.
So, how do you know if your sourcing data makes the grade? Start by running through this simple, four-point quality check:
1. Do more time and resources go into collecting and compiling data than analyzing it?
This can quickly morph into a problem of massive proportions. If you spend more time managing data than analyzing what it actually means, then you’re doing all the work without any of the payoff. As your department grows, you can very quickly get lost in a black hole of data across many channels.
2. Is collaboration with stakeholders disjointed and difficult? If your stakeholders are often left in the dark, something is wrong. When sourcing data is siloed and inaccessible, getting buy-in from the right people turns into a monumental task. It also makes it difficult for sourcing to get the feedback it needs and to manage expectations effectively.
3. Is data scattered all over the place? Disparate email chains and spreadsheets aren’t going to cut it here – they’re no match for large quantities of data. Disorganization aside, sharing and managing data via multiple email exchanges can quickly turn into a compliance nightmare. Version control also becomes an issue; without even realizing it, colleagues can find themselves using multiple versions of a document.
4. Are documents impossible to locate and analyze?
Sometimes, running a sourcing event can feel like Groundhog Day. You know you ran the same one just a few months ago, but you can’t seem to trace the original document. Perhaps the person who originally ran the event left the company, or maybe it just got lost in the data dump. This leads to wasted time and effort and makes it difficult to identify historical trends and evaluate suppliers effectively.
When it comes to sourcing data, you want quality and quantity. Only when it strikes this balance can data help you hit your goals, not hinder them. That’s where technology comes in. The right tool can organize data, increase collaboration and unveil trends with the few clicks of a button. From there, sourcing teams have all the information they need to maximize savings and improve business outcomes – without having to dig through a landfill’s worth of data.
High-quality sourcing data should be easy to access and analyze. And a cloud-based strategic e-sourcing solution makes it even easier.
Jake Parks is a co-founder and VP of engineering at Scout RFP. He was the inventor of Rocksmith, a music video game that was acquired by Ubisoft. He was also the founding engineer at Veribuy, a company in the consumer financial services industry. Jake is a technology enthusiast who loves building out companies from the ground up.