Data intelligence through data integration.

Leveraging data intelligence through data integration on a cloud platform

Four advantages of a cloud platform with a single source of truth.

In a recent webinar, Andrew Bartels of Forrester and Julien Nadaud, Determine’s Chief Product Officer, explored in detail the issues, challenges, benefits and hype surrounding Artificial Intelligence (AI).  Whether you’re talking about machine learning, natural language processing, robotic process automation, expert system decision management or any other aspect, the goal is the same: harvesting data intelligence.[/inlinetweet] The only way to gain true data intelligence is through seamless data integration.

As organizations move into digitizing processes, it often happens a function or department at a time. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you’re managing or administrating a particular department – a limited scope point solution can seem like an affordable entry-level option. After all, what does it matter to the procurement folks what solution legal is using, and vice versa? In truth, it matters completely. Because regardless of what aspect of source-to-pay you’re focused on, if your data isn’t integrated across the enterprise you’re only getting a fraction of the critical information you need to have real insights. You can’t manage what you can’t see, and if you can’t see all the data, how can you leverage and monetize it? You can’t.

That is, unless you have a single source of master data and metadata seamlessly integrated across a cloud platform. Here are four benefits of that.

1. Alignment

According to Ardent Partners, departments that have their goals aligned with the broader organization bring more value, more impact and more influence[/inlinetweet]. While they were specifically referring to procurement, the same holds true for contract managers, finance, accounts payable, etc. Cloud platform solutions that are built on a single code stack (that is, built from the start to be integrated, not cobbled together later on – and beware, not all cloud platforms are created equal) prevent silos from happening because they all tap a common source of data. It doesn’t matter where or how the data enters the ecosystem, it feeds each solution, module or app. That means a procurement user making a catalog requisition from a supplier is seeing the same data – in real time – as the legal department who created the contract and the accounts team who will eventually approve payment. The advantages are obvious – spend compliance, budget adherence, speed, efficiency, etc. Conversely, a siloed organization misses out on the situational awareness that data integration provides, slowing down everything from sourcing to contract creation, cashflow, revenue generation, sales cycles and competitive opportunities. You need that data intelligence to be able to think and act as one entity.

2. Risk management

Generally speaking, risk occurs because you don’t see it. Lapses in supplier validations, contract expiry and/or renewals, maverick spend, etc., are common occurrences, but completely unnecessary. Our favorite example is the Park City Mountain Resort lease fiasco, and the still-unfolding Carillion saga is also mind-boggling in terms of scope. But it’s the everyday risks that most companies need to manage – a supplier insurance certificate expires, a purchase volume discount is missed. By linking data, as well as workflows through business process management, users and stakeholders have real picture right in front of them to either prevent mistakes altogether or correct course quickly. For instance, contract management on the Determine Cloud Platform lets you set alerts for specific parameters so there is no risk of missing milestones and becoming the next Park City business school case study. Depending on your industry and the regulatory scrutiny it receives, the need for complete data intelligence through data integration goes beyond the need to protect just your bottom line from risk, but the long-term well-being of your organization.

3. Process improvement

As with goal alignment above, and the aforementioned artificial intelligence, process improvement happens partly because integration removes the data viscosity that causes the diverting of resources to unproductive tasks. Think manual invoice processing, receipt generation, contract authoring, etc. By leveraging the efficiency inherent in smart solutions and automation to achieve what we call Process Under Management, teams are free’d up to focus on maximizing the strategic potential in the data to make better decisions. Data analytics is rapidly transforming how enterprises operate, organize themselves, approach talent management and create value. All of which necessitate data de-siloing, which even in mid-market companies can be found in countless sources, from third-party suppliers across departments and geographies all the way to sales and customer data. Having all that information integrated enables an organization to use it’s optimized processes – and AI – to identify and realize unseen opportunities.

4. Relationship building

In PayStream Advisors’ 2017 Supplier Management Report, procurement organizations were asked what factors lead to dysfunctional supplier relationships. Top of the list? Lack of accurate information, and/or the lack of access to it. If you don’t really know who your third parties are, it’s tough to foster the kinds of relationships that lead to shared success. Same goes for customers, professional services and, just as important, internal people. Cloud platform integration of data, people and processes is designed to build a collaborative culture because, as mentioned above, it helps better align individual department objectives with broader organizational goals. Focusing on third parties, having a complete data view can lead to not only a stronger relationship, but allow you to see where and how to extract greatest value. Whether that means price considerations, ease and speed of delivery, product development or refinement, customer acquisition, seeing deeper into that relationship data intelligence enables you to stop managing the relationships and start extracting the possibilities they represent.

In other words, a single source of data truth will lead to more “moments of truth.”

If you’d like to have your own moment of truth, schedule a personalized demonstration of the Determine Cloud Platform. And be sure to register for our webinar with Ardent Partners, CPO Rising 2018: The Age of Intelligence.

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