No, he doesn't provide an answer to this age-old riddle, but he does identify a practical application for it. He suggests Procurement professionals would do well to apply its logic to their spend analysis practices. They should ask themselves, "If you a perform a spend analysis and it isn't being used properly, does it even matter?" Unlike its inspiration, this question most definitely has an answer - no.
Data is increasingly essential to Procurement's workload. Organizations realize this. They're collecting it, they're analyzing it, but far too few are putting it to good use. "Too often," Seipel remarks, "analysts get too caught up in data." Obsessively collecting, categorizing, and cleansing, they put in a whole lot of work to realize very little actual benefit.
Seipel reminds listeners that - by itself - data is utterly useless. It's up to diligent Procurement professionals to turn the raw information provided by data points into the actionable wisdom of cost reduction strategies. He says, "You can have the best spend analysis in the world, but it won't matter one bit if upper management approaches you for proactive wisdom and all you can do is hand them a stack of facts and figures."
He concludes by offering Procurement two missions:
- Understand the value of data and where that value ends.
- Move beyond telling a story and start taking action.
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