A new channel partnership may bring to IT procurement a level of detail and analysis once associated more with financial services risk analytics for large multinationals.
Accountancy software provider COA Solutions has teamed up with four-year-old London developer Rosslyn Analytics to offer its software as a service (SaaS) offering for spend analytics.
Charles Clark, chief executive officer at Rosslyn Analytics, said the offering gives smaller customers the chance to make better purchasing and budgetary decisions by accurately scrutinising, categorising, and assessing a whole range of factors.
“They did not have total visibility,” he said. “And the procurement guys, who were using the money, did not have the detail. So we went about setting up Rosslyn, and [our platform] RA.Pid is completely cloud-based and focused exclusively on spend analytics.”
RA.Pid is powered by Rosslyn’s SaaS platform rapidintel.com and is already making in-roads with large customers overseas, especially in the US. Companies such as Novartis, Clifford Chance, Serco, and Capita use it.
The partnership with COA gives Rosslyn access to customers it could not otherwise attract, and Rosslyn hopes to sign more partners.
“It extracts data from your system, accessing any platform anywhere in the world,” Clark said. “Using standard ERP or reporting mechanisms. So it is highly agile. And we have unlimited-user licences.”
RA.Pid can aggregate spend data from internal and external sources such as accounts-payable, procurement, travel expenses, and procurement cards into a single online view.
“It can be carbon-footprint data, it can be spot prices from the market,” Clark said.
While financial services was used to aggregating and analysing a diversity of data to fine-tune its forecasts, IT procurement was not – although organisations could obviously benefit from being able to add more factors into the mix and make more accurate decisions about procurement.
Clark said that enterprise-wide spend can be aggregated in minutes, and data from all ERP systems in hours. Rosslyn is claiming 100 per cent Return on Investment (RoI) in eight weeks and shaving of 15 per cent off costs on average.
Because it is delivered as a pay-as-you-go service, inspired by that of Salesforce.com, there are no software, hardware, or additional consultancy costs.
“And you can upload your data for free onto the platform to try it,” Clark said.
Mark Lane, product strategy and mergers or acquisitions director at COA Solutions, said spend analytics apps have been around for a decade but were expensive due to being part of larger procurement offerings.
“The thing about Rosslyn’s solution is that it hits a number of sweet spots in the market. Generally, the business software market isn’t the most buoyant, but customers do really want something that builds on the finance systems that they have already got, and to get through the recession with minimal spend and fast RoI,” Lane said.
Outside multinationals with billion-pound turnovers, few organisations were interested in spend analytics. You could of course build your own, he noted, but again that would be expensive and tough to get right.
“Also, business intelligence (BI) is higher up the agenda for most CIOs at the moment. They need to get hold of quality information,” Lane said. “And the other thing is that there is a lot of interest in the moment in SaaS.”
RA.Pid can ‘learn’ to categorise data quite accurately. For example, RA.Pid can understand that something called ‘IBM’ is the same as ‘International Business Machines’, ‘i.b.m’, or ‘Big Blue’. This makes the final figures much more reliable and accurate, he said.
Delivering spend analytics as a service is new. Because it is internet-based, it is cost-effective and should now appeal to much smaller customers. There a few other SaaS-spend analytics providers such as Emptoris and Zycus but these are USA-based, Lane added.
COA does not yet have any customers for RA.Pid it can talk about. However, Rosslyn has already deployed the service at large BPO and professional support service provider Capita.
“Rosslyn Analytics’ ability to deliver RoI in weeks, not months, is down to its proven extraction tool, RA.Pid Extract, which has given us the ability to continuously identify cost savings,” Capita said in a statement.
Capita previously captured data manually using one-dimensional Excel documents, meaning inter- and intra-departmental collaboration was restricted. With RA.Pid, it got group-wide spend visibility in six weeks, recovering £1 million of overpayments to suppliers in the first year.
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