Why is ‘big data’ a big deal?

It is common knowledge that the world has become more digitally complex over the recent years. The advanced nature of digitalisation has increased interconnectivity between people and businesses alike. Defined networks now make up the infrastructure of our technical, social and working environments. As technology grows more and more powerful, its partnership with mathematics has opened the door for ‘big data’.

Big data has been defined as “extremely large data sets that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions.” Big data can become a popular and seductive concept for procurement leaders, providing them with beneficial analysis and the answers to many burning questions. Queries around to how to reduce costs, increase competitiveness and heighten profits can all be answered with the help of big data. However, leaders are still apprehensive that a computer can present such answers to crucial decisions. Therefore, in order to get the most out of big data, the users need to be educated and confident about how complex and accurate this data can be.

The ability to apply tailored tools and options allows us to create a much more complex purchasing environment and therefore aiding better outcomes. The collaboration with globalisation and technology also provides businesses with information on specialists markets and cultural differences, aiding supply chain relations. This complex marketplace analysis does not only outline purchasing behaviours but also anticipates the future strategic challenges and potential new opportunities.

In order to successfully evaluate business scenarios, it is recommended that you should focus on planning on how to execute your new procurement strategy. Having the ability to effectively comprehend and focus on complexity has provided procurement with the opportunity to enable cost-effective growth for many businesses. This successful understanding has had outstanding results for many procurement departments, making them able to quickly move into expanding markets, reduce cultural barriers and allowing for a greater overall competitive advantage.

Gaining data surrounding global market intelligence also allows leaders to identify potential procurement hot-spots and enables better decision-making to be carried out. This in-depth thinking can dramatically affect procurement, putting it at the top of its game. The results should show a positive and genuine ROI. In contemporary procurement departments, having the ability to read and analyse these complex data sets is a highly sort after skill. Partner this with the ability to visualise and outline the road ahead will be the biggest advantage for successful future procurement.

Times Are Changing: The Future of Supply Chains

“For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. Those who only look to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy

In order to develop a tactical procurement team that will add value to your business, you need to learn to adapt. Procurement has been done in the same way by contingent workforce leaders for years. However, the world of sourcing and contingent workforce management is transforming. Traditional sources dominate in contingent workforce management. While staffing suppliers, agencies and personal networks source most contingent talent today. But that is likely to change quickly.

During the 2000s, a few factors combined to cause additional changes in purchasing. Corporate social responsibility became critical due in part to the Internet, easier access to data, strategic sourcing and partnership working. Collaboration between procurement teams, colleagues and suppliers became more frequent. Professionals began to think deeper than cost and how to add value onto overall enterprise. Not to mention the rapid increase of outsourcing and global sourcing requires much greater levels of service contracting management.

It’s evident technology has affected procurement considerably. There has been progression from a focus on physical supply to much broader questions around value. We see, links between procurements effects inside and outside organisations, which developed from understanding both are important for procurement success. Although the world we work in has become much more complex and unpredictable, the internet provides more than enough assistance, to help us make sense of it.

The key to preparing for changes is anticipation, preparation, and the appropriate adjustments. Procurement is changing, so be prepared with these four ways to get ready.

  1. Share your knowledge: The most transformative objective to achieve will be making every member of the team better at procurement. Team performance will have a direct impact on your organisation’s bottom line. When you build a “procurement mentality” in your staff, you can increase compliance, reduce risk and create more cost savings.
  2. Be strategic: Procurement must move away from the presiding focus on unit cost reduction that is still the primary focus in many organisations. You need to play a wider and more fundamental role in the organisation.
  3. Expand spend visibility: Spend visibility is an important part to all changes in procurement. If you want to control supply effectively, you need to manage spend. Spend is what you pay and supply is what you get. To manage spend you have to see it.
  4. Be prepared to use technology: The speed of technological development is only going to get faster going into the future.. Procurement professionals need to be familiar with technology and know how to use it to manage supply chains and get great business results.

“The Times They Are a-Changin” – Bob Dylan

Cloud is slowly gaining popularity within the financial sector, but many companies have been slow to adopt it…

Cloud is slowly gaining popularity within the financial sector, but many companies have been slow to adopt it and put in place a proper strategy for cloud. Unsurprisingly, the main concerns are over the security of cloud systems.

A survey recently conducted by Cloud Security Alliance revealed that 61 per cent of respondents had a cloud strategy in the formative stages in their company. 47 per cent of those said they had plans to use a combination of in-house IT, public and private cloud. 18 per cent planned to use private clouds. None of those surveyed had plans to primarily use public cloud.

The survey also revealed a link between use of electronic transaction channels and cloud policy. The more an organisations customer base used electronic transaction channels, the less strict the cloud policy in place.

“The results of this report are insightful into understanding how the financial services industry is progressing in terms of cloud adoption and how cloud providers can best serve their interests and needs,” said Jim Reavis, chief executive of the Cloud Security Alliance. “We hope that cloud providers and financial institutions can use this as guidance to help accelerate the adoption of secure cloud services in the financial industry.”

Financial service firms are keen to see more transparency and more control of auditing from their cloud providers, this was desired even more than improved data encryption. The top reason for those moving to the cloud, according to the survey, was flexible infrastructure capacity. This was closely followed by the need for reduced time for provisioning. The top services and uses of cloud amongst those surveyed was CRM, application development and email.

When looking at compliance requirements when moving to the cloud, top of the list was data protection at 75 per cent, corporate governance at 75 per cent and PCI-DSS at 54 per cent.

“The responses overall showed a very active market for cloud services in the financial services sector,” said Chenxi Wang, vice president, cloud security and strategy at CipherCloud, which sponsored the report. “Cloud has made solid in-roads in this industry with many firms looking to harnessing the power of cloud. There’s plenty of room for growth, particularly for providers who can fill the void for the auditing and data protection controls that are at the top of respondents’ cloud wish list.”

The survey also looked at how finance, insurance, security and government decision makers take action within their organisations. From standardising cloud services, to identifying which policies will have most impact, to understanding how best to educate users.

Over 100 professionals were surveyed, with organisations varying in size and from locations across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions.

While financial organisations have been slower to adopt cloud services, it’s clear that they are catching up and starting to reap the rewards of these new services. If you would like to know more about how cloud can benefit your organisation, financial or otherwise, give us a call or email and we will be happy to discuss the best tailored solutions for your business.

The Procurement Group

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