IBM’s Analytics as a Service Lead Conor Quarry has predicted that analytics will play an integral role throughout supply chain, procurement and business activity.
In an interview, he told the online supply chain professionals’ outlet EBN: “Being able to understand data and efficiently decide what to do and being able to build a plan using available structured and unstructured data will be the future of how businesses operate.
He went on to say that he belies data is currently developing at an exponential rate, which means that organisations are beginning to realise that they have access to natural resources of data which they can then extract. He surmised that analytics represents the “bridge between data and action and being able to appeal to the human element of the data”.
Quarry, who is just 26 years old, began at IBM as a strategic sourcing analyst, and rapidly discovered that there were significant inefficiencies in the category management methods employed by the company, specifically in Request for Proposal (RFP) evaluations.
He developed an analysis tool known as “What If” that simplified the evaluation process without compromising its integrity. Category managers could rapidly work out negotiation approaches with the tool by using a few key data inputs. As a result, IBM’s RFP review period was slashed from weeks to days and the company achieved a cost reduction of 40%.
This kind of analysis, Quarry explained, allows procurement professionals to plan and assess outcomes while mitigating risks. The resulting action plan tends to impress decision makers who want assurances that the options selected are soundly rooted in data-driven evidence.
It will never be possible, Quarry conceded, to mitigate all of the risks. However, by presenting decision makers with options showing anticipated outcomes accompanied with percentages to help weigh them up against each other, they get proposals for optimal courses of action supported by evidence (as opposed to intuitions and blind hopes).
As Quarry notes, procurement is all about cost reduction and efficiency gains but mitigating risk is often overlooked. New generation analytics is already overcoming that omission.
Steve has over 28 years of success as CPO, MD and Procurement BPO leader in a range of industries. Steve is COO at Odesma, responsible for Odesma’s delivery capability & infrastructure.