Reflecting on the overall significance of the survey findings, Elliff suggests that respondents' answers highlight the degree to which software is a necessary, but not sufficient, component of any initiative to better leverage spend data. "Spend analysis solutions provide a lot of value; they have the ability to analyze a great deal of data faster and more comprehensively than individuals can," Elliff says. "But, ultimately, people have to understand the data, they have to know what to do with the information, and how to turn it into strategies and tactics that actually will have a direct impact."
For his part, Lentz says he does not find it surprising that a majority of companies are not yet doing spend analysis on a consistent basis. "We are in a nascent phase here," he says. "Category managers have a decent sense of what they're spending, and they're running their own spreadsheets or tools. But at a macro level, across multiple divisions, across an enterprise, corporations are very early here."
That said, Lentz argues that companies that embrace spend analysis now could gain a leg up on their laggard competitors. "The leaders are really looking to do this on an enterprise-wide level," he says, concluding, "There's a cost to inaction, and the savings that you're not getting today are gone forever."
More information on the survey can be found at the Capital Consulting & Management Inc. Web site, at www.ccmiservices.com.