It is no secret that poor supplier data is the single largest barrier facing successful eProcurement transformation. Organizations in all industries, regardless of size, are susceptible to massive budget overruns or outright project failure without a well-thought-out data acquisition strategy.
Just last year the City of New York ran $54 million over their eProcurement transformation budget. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. More and more organizations are flocking toward software to solve fundamental data issues. However, software is only as good as the data housed within it and all eProcurement software acquires data the same way.
Better Supplier Data is Needed
Are supplier portals, one-time enrichment exercises and internal data mining scalable solutions to the ever-growing issue (dare I say opportunity)? Supplier data, in some capacity, is involved in EVERY transaction an organization makes. We base entire supply chain-related business decisions on the analytics our software provides, yet this software is running off point-in-time snapshots of data that go stale in a matter of hours. Frankly, I find it irresponsible that we are basing decisions of this magnitude on inaccurate information.
Need further validation? According to the 2018 Data Quality and Governance Study run by the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative at NC State University, “Only 15% of respondents believe their existing systems are capable of producing clean data that can be trusted” and “75% of businesses say that poor quality data has made it challenging to achieve their digital transformation plans.”
When will we learn that software can only function to its full capacity when running on trusted and validated data? You have probably heard the phrase “garbage-in, garbage-out,” but who has thought about the resolution to the garbage-in problem? The phase itself insinuates that clean data must go in first to achieve reliable results.
A Call to Action
In order to restore trust in enterprise data – or to establish trust for the first time – organizations must have a well-thought-out data acquisition strategy. But what does it mean to have trustworthy supplier data? Supplier data is always moving, creating the need for proactive monitoring of this information. If an organization can capture ever-changing information, then they will need a way to instantly analyze the information and leverage predictive capabilities to make the data actionable. Opportunities can be lost in seconds and risk elements can cripple healthy supply chains overnight.
Most professionals in our space recognize these truths, as the same study referenced above states that “92% of businesses believe that high-quality data is the fuel for digital transformation.” The only logical solution to the problem is to have an autonomous data enrichment engine that can power technology investments. Autonomous data enrichment captures ever-changing supplier information allowing technology to take advantage of reliable data at that specific point in time.
As an industry we need to recognize that we are in a massive bubble – and it will burst – if we don’t go back to the drawing board and rethink our data strategies. If we do, and we must, then we may be able to finally deliver on the promise of digital transformation and all that will mean to the success of our enterprises.