Even though Michael Lamoureux (Sourcing Innovation) and I love to quibble (and as some folks know, escalate our rhetoric from time to time) I have to lavish unrestricted praise on a new book he just co-authored:
Spend Visibility: An Implementation Guide. Authored by Michael and Lexington Analytics’ Bernard Gunther, the book, available for free via the previous link, provides the most comprehensive look at basic and advanced spend analysis applications and cubes I’ve seen anywhere. Yes, it’s biased toward the application of certain types of tools that enable the simple creation of multiple cubes with highly diverse datasets. But in more advanced spend analysis scenarios, this certainly goes with the territory. And the book steers completely clear of mentioning specific technologies or vendors.
We’ll be featuring a full review of the book starting next week, hopefully calling attention to Bernie and Michaels’ outstanding effort. But in the meantime, we’ll leave you with the intro from the authors:
“Almost any attempt by an organization to analyze spending patterns is likely to be fruitful, especially if there hasn’t been a serious prior attempt. It is easy to find thousands of breathless testimonials about a particular product or method — independent of the quality of the product or method — because almost any product or method will find savings if a spend visibility initiative has never been launched before. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”
“This simple fact has confused end-user organizations and analysts for many years. In fact, it has convinced most spend visibility vendors (and most analysts) that spend visibility is a fundamentally simple process of mapping Accounts Payable spend, and then drilling for dollars. This is why many spend analysis products have remained largely unchanged for years; there is no perceived need to do anything ‘more’…The key question is what to do next; in other words, how to implement a true strategic spend visibility initiative that will return value and keep returning value over time.”
“Advanced organizations understand that strategic spend visibility is much more than building a simple AP cube…We hope that this Guide will help to promulgate some of the key ideas around strategic spend visibility, and ideally point organizations toward strategies that can result in sustainable savings through a continuous succession of intelligent spend control initiatives.”
While our full review is forthcoming, we’ll say that after our first complete read of the book, the content is as good as any source I’ve seen in showing not only what’s possible (in a technology-agnostic manner), but how best to get started as well, taking the mystery out of spend analysis and the black box that far too many still associate with it. This book gets to the science of spend analysis vs. treating it as an art. Great work Bernie and Michael. The industry thanks you. You can download Spend Visibility: An Implementation Guidefor free via this link.