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How Data Drives Supplier Experience, Digitization and Transformation

How Data Drives Supplier Experience, Digitization and Transformation

Delivering Supplier Experience Management (SXM) through Best-of-Breed

In the first of our series of webinars on Delivering Supplier Experience Management (SXM) through Best-of-Breed, panelists from Sievo, HICX, and BP discussed Best-of-Breed technologies and how data-led procurement solutions create value. In this second part, Charlotte de Brabandt, Global Procurement Expert, Author, Digital Enthusiast, and moderator of this session is joined by Adriano Garibotto, Sales and Marketing Officer at Creactives, data improvement, and governance experts, and Costas Xyloyiannis, CEO of HICX, to discuss how data drives supplier experience, digitization, and transformation. 

This webinar covers: 

New ways of getting clean data 

The awareness about the importance of clean data has been growing within the Procurement industry for the past couple of years. The reason for this is that, in the past, companies mostly focused on legacy software. According to Adriano, nowadays, “platforms require more sophisticated fuel, and the more sophisticated fuel is the quality of the data.”   

The complexity of organizations, their data, and the way they work has also grown, and, with it, the need for specialized systems which are able to focus on specific areas. As a result, Best-of-Breed solutions are on the rise as they are more adaptable. Costas adds that, by using Best-of-Breed solutions, organizations will get better data and better data will provide all stakeholders with better experiences.  

“I think Best-of-Breed is actually playing a key role in the duration of good data sets, which the industry needs to operate with,” he adds.  

Businesses have today, at their disposal, more data than ever before. However, most of it is unstructured. It can be compared to an uncut diamond, which is worthless until polished. All data is the same, until it is structured. Doing this structuring manually, for the incredible quantity of data, is not sustainable, efficient, or effective and is one of the reasons why artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining traction.  

“If you really want to have an understanding about what is going on in your procurement, in your stock management, in your processes, you need to know exactly what you are buying. To do so in large corporations, artificial intelligence is the only option,” Adriano explains.  

Overcoming hesitancy with Best-of-Breed solutions 

Although the trend is moving towards adopting Best-of-Breed solutions, in reality, the pioneer companies are those in industries with mature procurement and supply chain functions, such as consumer-facing industries. Companies in which Procurement is siloed generally tend to both adopt and stick to end-to-end suite practices. As suites have been the answer for many years, Costas doesn’t blame them for being hesitant of best-of-breed solutions.  

Adriano advises not to fear the new technology, as it was not created to make matters more complicated, but rather to further support, to be tailored to specific needs, and to drive value. Another benefit of using best-of-breed solutions is that it drives standardization and interoperability over time. Costas warns against buying random solutions in the hope that it will eventually yield results; instead, organizations must have a strategy in place and a clear purpose for each solution, he says.  

Adriano continues: “[A Best-of-Breed] approach can be tailored as much to your needs as possible, without the fear that you are complicating things. You are not complicating things at all because you are really getting the value you are looking for.”  

How good data benefits supplier experience 

The use of different technologies has multiple benefits, as Adriano and Costas describe: 

  • Better categorization: AI supports categorization of suppliers in the portal to be done by the suppliers themselves, which allows them to be visible for the right services. This allows for greater automation and a frictionless experience for all stakeholders. 
  • Greater value: This is achieved by everyone ‘speaking the same language’. As in languages, there are different words and different ways of saying the same thing. “Artificial intelligence, in this specific case, makes it possible to harmonize,” Adriano adds.  
  • Sourcing optimization: Best-of-Breed is a popular solution for contract management 
  • Payment networks: Large corporations will probably be using different payment networks across countries and continents. Best-of-Breed allows the choice of the one which has the best presence in the relevant region, and for use of the one that the supplier is already connected to.  

However, these benefits can only be achieved with a good data foundation. Ideally, master data should be centrally governed and further distributed where necessary, while allowing it to remain consistent. ‘Where transactions are created’ is less important, as long as they are attached to accurate and clean master data.  

“Our view here, for successful Best-of-Breed, is to have a shared foundation for master data, which is what you report against. However, you can have a federated approach for Best-of-Breed systems involved in the transaction. This will allow simple integration of reporting in terms of connecting the dots, even if they happen in separate solutions,” Costas concludes.  

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