From XU Magazine, 
Issue 28

All About The Data

A wise man I used to work for once said, “it’s all about the data”

A wise man I used to work for once said, “it’s all about the data”, and if he is reading this I hope he won’t be sending me a bill for using his catchphrase!
This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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Joking aside, that is something that has really stuck with me, because it really is. Even when I recently upgraded my mobile phone to a new contract, I was bombarded by questions around data usage, what I use my phone for to ensure I have enough data, what happens if I use too much data, it seems mobiles these days are less about actually calling people and more to ensure you can stream the latest episode of Love Island!  

But it’s a fact that we live in a data driven society, with an incredible 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being created every day, and 90% of the world’s data being created in the last two years alone. A staggering figure, which is expected to double every two years. 

And when I think back over the last 18 months of lockdown during the pandemic, it really HAS been all about the data. At every government briefing sitting through countless presentations #nextslideplease showing trends of cases, hospitalisations, and vaccinations, and other modelling, because in our world today, data is probably the thing that matters most.  

But why does it matter, why is it all about the data?  

When I think back to some of the projects I have been involved with in the past, systems customers have implemented have not just been to manage a process more efficiently, it has been to capture data. One example of something that was quite mind blowing at the time, was a utilities company who were using drone technology to capture pictures of various pieces of equipment. This would then allow technicians to analyse and determine whether any maintenance or repair work was required which could be scheduled within their asset maintenance application. Very clever stuff.  

And if we think also to a passion of mine, Formula 1, data is everything! From analysing driver performance, engine performance, tyre longevity, every aspect of data gives each team the opportunity to create speed, and edge to improve, and ultimately win the race. If you love F1 as much as I do I can highly recommend Drive to Survive on Netflix, it provides a great insight into just how much goes on behind the scenes! 

And that in essence is what data does. It can tell an F1 team when a driver needs to put. It can predict the onset of a natural disaster, and track climate change impact, or the status of your health. When you harness data effectively, it drives us towards making better decisions, and thus better outcomes. 

But managing data effectively doesn’t come without its challenges. Many organisations today face the upward hill battle to consolidate data across disparate systems and translate it into something meaningful for the consumer. Data often sits in silo’s, and whilst one dashboard may work for sales, it may have no bearing on what someone in operations needs to see. In short, it can be a bit like herding cats!  

But get it right, and it can provide insight into inefficiencies, trends, and habits, and ultimately, what we might do next. It creates the opportunity for informed action, and shines a light on what’s possible, but only if harnessed in a meaningful way. 

At Compleat Software, it’s been our mission over the last 18 months to jump onboard the data train and leverage the wealth of insights we can provide to customers around spend going through their Compleat P2P platform, through our Advanced Spend Analytics platform. No herding cats for them!   

From overall spend, by category, supplier and nominal, we can easily leverage information to allow our customers to analyse spend across their entire organisation, for any number of sites or staff. Add to that, we can even go down to line level, which is where things start to get interesting! 

So let’s put that into context. I’m a multi-site organisation, across 50 locations, and each are purchasing 10 packs of pens a month. 30 are these at £10.99 and the other 20 are buying them at £4.99. The 30 sites buying the more expensive option are costing this business an additional £180 per month, which is £2,160 per year.  And that is just for one item in one category……. I’d be asking myself what else could be going on?   

If you factor in that could be across countless deliveries, how is that impacting my carbon footprint? Well, we’ve even thought of that too, providing a dashboard to track number of deliveries per supplier, to identify where these can be consolidated and what impact that will have on CO2 emissions.  

What’s the impact this can all have? Well, one of our care home customers identified two of their homes with a similar number of beds had significantly different expenditures. This led them to find one home was spending almost double on consumable items using non-preferred supplier deals, leading to a cost saving of approximately £10,000 per year. Money that can be re-invested into looking after their residents. 

Another customer in education saved over £17,000 per year within a month of using Advanced Spend Analytics, simply by viewing the number of suppliers their sites were using for purchases of paper. They then found the supplier providing the cheapest unit price and used the Compleat P2P punch out capability to ensure their end users only had access to the cheapest provider.   

Coming out of Covid will undoubtedly mean for many businesses that costs are kept under even tighter management to aid the recovery process. Ultimately that may mean a change in mindset and understanding that data is the key to competitive advantage and ultimately survival. Our Advanced Spend Analytics tool is having real impact for our customers, not just in understanding the breakdown of spend, but then aligning that to their own strategies to drive continued cost savings. And that’s all down harnessing what it’s all about…..the data.

Why leave it there?

To find out more about our Advanced Spend Analytic Tool

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