Rosslyn Data Technologies has been revolutionary for businesses in securing commercial value from data using its self-service analytics platform. I joined the team at Rosslyn in mid-2009, and it wasn’t long before realization set in that 99% of procurement professionals were new to analytics, since most still relied on Excel and traditional BI tools for rudimentary spend analysis.
Constraints such as small budgets brought about a tiny group of procurement leaders who sought out innovation to bridge these constraints – determined to secure visibility of costs, compliance and risks associated with suppliers. These individuals were very much the pioneers of analytics – the early adopters who sought out new ways to quickly centralize, organize, improve and analyze data – in the cloud.
It was an exciting time, helping procurement navigate uncharted waters in creating greater business value from cutting-edge technologies.
Fast forward to 2017 and much has changed in this realm (whilst other elements, such as speed of adoption in certain departments, remain stubbornly the same). Here, I look at just where we are today (as well as discussing what may be the ‘where next?’ for data analytics).
When looking at the adoption of analytics in companies, there remains one department that has yet to realize its full potential. Not surprisingly, it’s here that all sorts of services and software vendors are positioning themselves to be on the receiving end of big budgets, as business leaders invest in modernizing the skills and capabilities of their HR teams.
In the past six months, I have had many conversations with HR executives, listening to the challenges they are grappling with in order to better know their employees. The meetings and calls have also given pause for thought and often lead to an inescapable feeling of déjà vu. I have been here before – only a long time ago.
I see many similarities between where procurement was approximately 8-10 years ago – just setting off on the analytics journey – and where HR is today.
I believe HR teams can learn a lot from procurement so the former avoids the pitfalls of the latter. In doing so, the adoption of analytics by HR teams will accelerate, enabling business executives to fully and successfully prepare for some of the biggest people challenges companies are facing such as how to respond to workforce automation.
Here are my observations of where procurement was then, and where HR is today, in the adoption of analytics. Of course, there were and always will be leaders that outperform, outspend and out manoeuvre peers – but I think my list of similarities are common for the vast major of companies.
So, what can HR professionals learn from procurement colleagues? In short, a lot. Here are a handful of points to consider when looking at selecting and using analytics: