Three Kinds of Data Every Procurement Professional Needs to Succeed


February 22, 2016 at 7:11 AM

This content is sponsored by SMART by GEP.

It should come as no surprise to procurement professionals that they should have the data they need to do their jobs at their fingertips. Relevant data is on their desktops, in books, and on the minds of key people on their teams. But what happens when the data is lost or colleagues leave the company?  

Procurement needs discipline—a process—to capture that knowledge, keep it updated and eventually disseminate it. 

At stake in this competitive environment is nothing less than an efficient procurement operation proficient at supplier management resulting in savings for the company. 

The right procurement software can help. 

For procurement, relevant data falls into three groups:

The first group is data procurement gathers through spend analysis, which provides a snapshot of purchase history. A good start, but procurement requires more. It needs to know which internal business units and departments are purchasing goods and services and the suppliers they use. 

Procurement needs external information—on the company’s competition, commodity and category markets, supply base, and economy. Rounding out this group is information on the maturity of categories managed which can help determine whether to involve subject matter experts in a new sourcing strategy, i.e., marketing.  

A second group contains data procurement shares with others in the company involved in the procure-to-pay process, including information in supplier contracts that can be used to create content for a catalog. Having this information helps ensure internal users who buy from the catalog are complying with procurement policy, i.e., purchasing items from preferred suppliers at negotiated prices. 

Procurement also needs data on the contracts themselves such as which are up for renewal and whether the team should craft a new sourcing strategy for the goods and services when the time comes. What’s more, procurement needs to be able to present this information in a way that colleagues in accounts payable, receiving, supply management and finance can also use it.    

Finally, and perhaps most critical for procurement, is information gathered from taking a macro view of the company. The image of “not seeing the forest for the trees” may help explain: Stepping back and taking a look at the forest, or in procurement’s case, the company, may provide information that can help gain an advantage over competition. 

For instance, many companies in industries flush with cash pay little attention to procurement—until there’s a downturn—while others with management teams that understand procurement value and have strategic sourcing teams are not caught unaware; warning signs may help ward off disaster. Procurement will only have this information if it is looking at the company from the top.

Is this all the data procurement ever needs to be successful? Of course not. 

Implementing spend management tools helps ensure that procurement has the technology and data it needs to do its job successfully. For example, SMART by GEP’s Category Workbench provides procurement with critical insight into relevant procurement data within the system as well as from third parties for category management. 

Project management and a savings tracking tool allow users to set up schedules to regularly view information and qualify it, helping with contract management: Procurement can run sourcing events without having to consult with subject matter experts unless it sees signs on a macro level that point to a need to rethink the sourcing strategy. No less than this has risks, sometimes resulting in business failure or closed company doors. 

Learn more about procurement software designed to let you succeed at


Tags: Procurement Technology Spend management procure to pay sourcing spend analysis procurement software
Category: Blog Post


SMART by GEP is a complete, unified source-to-pay software platform, native to cloud, touch and mobile technologies with comprehensive sourcing and procurement functionality, including spend analysis, sourcing, savings tracking, contract management, supplier management, procure-to-pay and more.

Offered as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), SMART by GEP leverages cloud economics to deliver a solution that easily handles the heaviest processing requirements of GEP’s Fortune 500 and Global 2000 clients, while eliminating burdensome infrastructure and support costs.

SMART by GEP is easy to set up, deploy and use, with no extensive training required. All GEP products are platform-agnostic (they work with SAP, Oracle or any other major ERP or F&A system)

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