Recognizing the Value of Business Spend Management

Mickey North Rizza
Mickey North Rizza

Mickey North Rizza is program vice president for IDC’s Enterprise Applications and Digital Commerce research practice. She leads a team of analysts responsible for IDC’s coverage of the next generation of enterprise applications including ERP, financial applications, procurement, supply chain automation project and portfolio management, enterprise asset management, services resource planning (SRP) and related project-based solutions software and the digital commerce business network.

Read time: 11 mins
Procurement professional looking out of her building.

Digital transformation is significantly altering our world, moving the physical aspects of doing many things to the digital pipe. For example, banks were traditionally open only during certain business hours, so any banking was dependent upon going to a branch office, waiting in line, and interacting with a teller. Now we do a lot of our banking with an app on our smartphones – wherever and whenever – with convenience and capabilities above and beyond both the branch office and drive-up ATM. And it’s not just banking. We now also shop online for everything from groceries to technology to professional services. Our entire way of activities in our daily lives is being transformed with digital pipe.

Are you digitally determined, or digitally distraught?
To reap the benefits of today’s technology innovations, more and more organizations are embarking on the digital transformation journey. IDC's research shows that 46% of organizations worldwide are making the strategic, organizational, technological, and financial decisions that will set them up to digitally transform their organization over the next several years. We refer to these organizations as "digitally determined."

On the other hand, 53% of companies are “digitally distraught,” trying to move to next-generation digital capabilities but experiencing roadblocks, setbacks, and frustration. They may deploy a few new apps here or there to solve discrete problems, but then they discover that integrating these apps together usually doesn’t work well. The chart below looks at the five stages of digital transformation and their culmination into digitally determined and digitally distraught.

The digitally determined recognize the value of integrated platforms
IDC research shows that digitally determined companies reach higher levels of digital maturity and enjoy the benefits of reduced costs, better visibility, smarter decision making and improved agility. One key aspect of the digitally determined is they recognize and realize the benefits of advanced digital platforms into their IT strategy decisions, utilizing them to run tightly coupled digital business applications that span several traditional technology systems.

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Let’s talk Business Spend Management
Business Spend Management (BSM) is a unified set of solutions supporting business processes that encompass the core transactions for spending money: procurement, expense management, invoicing, and payments. BSM is further enhanced by related processes, such as strategic sourcing, contract management, contingent workforce, supplier management, and spend analysis—all enriched by cross-company community intelligence.

Prior to the introduction of integrated business spend management (BSM) platforms, like Coupa, organizations used discrete technology automation systems for travel and expense, procurement, and contingent labor – each usually siloed with its own data set, business process, rules, and in some cases, customized workflows. Each of these systems is an island that serves a narrow purpose within the business.

The problem with this type of environment is that integrating systems together and innovating system capabilities are daunting tasks that stymie most organizations – blocking the path to implementing integrated, automated, and intelligent new workflows. Meanwhile, the digitally determined are disrupting their industries by utilizing new digital platforms that give them the integrated digital plumbing, applications, and tools that allow them to transform functional workflows completely.

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MultiChoice: Digitally determined to be fit for the future
MultiChoice, a large entertainment media company operating in 50 countries in Africa, is one such digitally determined organization that’s changing its business for the future. 

Yash Singh, Group Head of Sourcing and Procurement at MultiChoice, recognized that his team was struggling with inefficient manual procurement workflows. His team of sourcing agents, category managers, and buyers were frustrated with administrative duties and longed to implement strategic sourcing best practices. With data coming in from more than 15 systems, they were feeling the pain of the digitally distraught. It was nearly impossible to keep up with demand, and the drudgery of manually creating reports for insights was taking up way too much time. Yash wanted the group to be more strategic, but the team needed to change its day-to-day activities. Yash began the change by sharing the mantra, “fit for the future” – along with the vision of transitioning to high-performance procurement system that’s fully integrated and supported by advanced analytics.

A digital platform for integrated Business Spend Management
Yash has embraced the digitally determined philosophy, emphasizing to his team the value of Coupa’s digital platform for integrated Business Spend Management. Coupa’s platform enabled MultiChoice to deploy the capabilities it needed very quickly without the time and expense of extensive customization and integration.

This, in turn, enabled Yash's team to move beyond the mundane to adding business value by empowering employees with visibility, information, and insights into procurement and spend – helping employees make better, more informed, more timely decisions. The benefits reaped include cost reductions, more-informed supplier negotiations, improved procurement performance, and a drastic reduction in the time spent on administration, allowing for a shift to more time spent on strategic spend management.

At Coupa’s recent Inspire conference in Las Vegas, Yash shared how he's taken a broad approach to implementing Coupa at MultiChoice, rolling out as much of Coupa’s BSM suite as possible – in part to avoid IT and administrative headaches in finance and procurement, but also to strategically drive innovation.

Outsourcing BSM technology innovation
Yash believes that Coupa is delivering industry-leading innovation in each release of Coupa’s BSM suite/platform. Because of this, he’s decided that his best strategy for delivering innovation in his procurement and other BSM processes is to let Coupa take care of the technology aspects of applying AI, machine learning, and other innovations. This allows Yash and his team to focus on higher-value work and process innovation.

By broadly deploying the Coupa platform, MultiChoice essentially outsourced the technical work of procurement and innovation to Coupa. This gives MultiChoice cutting-edge technology without having to spend extensive time and money on technology research and development, deployment, and integration. On top of all that, the Coupa community is providing Yash and his team with valuable insights and benchmarks that they use to compare their operational efficiency to that of other companies.

A spend management platform for the digitally determined
Being digitally determined is bringing innovation to scale for MultiChoice. While the digital procurement journey is just beginning for Yash and his team, the opportunities are endless, and Yash is becoming a leader in the BSM community. Digital determination led Yash to recognize the value of Coupa’s integrated BSM platform, and today this is helping Yash and his team to scale quickly with the business as it grows – unifying data sets, improving visibility, reducing risk issues, and allowing the business to make smart trade-off decisions when necessary. Clearly, MultiChoice procurement is on the right track, digitally determined to be fit for the future with a high-performance procurement operation, enabled by Coupa’s digital BSM technology platform.