Where will procurement analytics talent come from? It could come from you!

By Dennis Bouley

April 26, 2018 at 10:58 AM

According to a Hackett Group 2018 Key Issues study, nearly 80% of executives polled said that improving functional analytical, modeling and reporting capabilities for decision support was of high or critical importance. The procurement leaders surveyed expect significantly increased use of predictive and prescriptive analytics tools across key functional processes within the next 12 to 24 months.

While executives view improving analytics, modeling and reporting as critical, they are less confident in their ability to execute these capabilities. In fact, the 2018 Key Issues study flagged this as one of four critical development areas – along with supporting enterprise customer centricity, supporting enterprise digital transformation and aligning function skills and talent with changing business needs.

Unfortunately, in many cases, procurement professionals seem to have little understanding of their companies’ data. Yet analysis of data is emerging as a competitive advantage for most companies. However, as organizations and their suppliers become more and more digitized, data analysts, or procurement employees with data analysis skills are in higher demand.

Procurement professionals who wish to increase their value within organizations can begin to take on analyst responsibilities and, at the same time, improve the efficiency of their operations. Analytical skills refer to the ability to gather, view and analyze information. A good analyst also has the ability to view or challenge a set of data from different perspectives. This ability would allow a procurement professional to address problems by making decisions in the most appropriate way.

10 steps to a more analytical future

Below is a list of general steps that can be taken in order to begin establishing yourself as a procurement professional with an interest in sharpening data analysis skills:

  1. Identify areas where your procurement operations need efficiency improvements.
  2. Access records of procurement-related management policies and processes.
  3. Begin to initiate and maintain processes of gathering automated data.
  4. Develop some easy to understand reporting processes.
  5. Begin monitoring and auditing the quality of some of the critical supplier (for example) data.
  6. Identify, evaluate and implement services and tools from external sources to support validation of data and cleansing.
  7. Work with both internal stakeholders and suppliers to adequately understand data content.
  8. Create dashboards, graphs and visualizations of the data you are monitoring and analyzing.
  9. Once you start to gain some experience, use business analytics reporting tools to prepare reports
  10. Design, conduct and analyze survey data on a regular basis.

Tomorrow’s digital and analytic procurement workforce will perform dramatically different roles in business functions. As digitalization decreases the need for manual and task-oriented activities, procurement organizations will need to create new roles and acquire new skills involving the ability to analyze data.

Tags: procurement big data procurement data analysis procurement data analytics
Category: News Article

Dennis Bouley


Dennis Bouley is Editorial Director of MyPurchasingCenter.com and special advisor to MediaSolve Group, a strategic B2B marketing services firm focused on helping companies and institutions leverage the web and social media to achieve business goals. He spent 18 years at Schneider Electric as Managing Editor of Global Publications, and was responsible for cross-division management of the corporation’s white paper and customer success story processes. Prior to that, he spent 10 years working for IBM managing both small and large accounts. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island and holds a Certificat Annuel from the Sorbonne in Paris, France. 

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