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New Tech = New Value

When spend analysts can automatically inherit changes from a central cube without losing their custom work, all kinds of applications become possible.

We have written elsewhere about Spendata's unique inheritance capability, and how it leapfrogs the idea of a centralized one-size-fits-all spend data warehouse. Different stakeholders in the organization have deeply different analysis needs, so the ability to create domain-specific spend analyses for their own purposes is critical.

Inheritance provides the best of both worlds: the ability to maintain a central workspace of transactions and common mappings, together with the ability for stakeholders to add to or modify that workspace as needed for divergent purposes. Any change to the central cube, such as new transactions or new mappings, is automatically inherited by all stakeholders' cubes, without disturbing their custom changes.

Now add to this Spendata's API automation capability, and scripts can be set up easily to update the central cube on whatever basis is needed:

  • Daily, with new PO data
  • Monthly, with new AP transactions
  • Irregularly, with new mappings, dimensions, or other "tweaks" to the central cube
  • All of the above

When the central cube is updated, whether automatically or manually, users of custom cubes are notified of the update and can accept it at any time at their discretion. Alternatively, they can make a copy of their existing cube and apply the update to the copy (creating new cubes for both temporary and permanent analyses is something Spendata users do all the time, because it is so quick and easy).

These technologies are creating high value at multiple companies. We have seen custom cubes for:

  • IT VAR analysis
  • Travel
  • Facilities
  • PCard/travel
  • M&A
  • … and many other business-specific cubes such as call center operations.

All of these cubes are updated automatically whenever the central cube changes. Each custom cube contains not only data from the central cube, but also custom feeds from other systems, such as vendors, other AP systems, travel systems, commodity-specific vendor management systems, and so on.

Compare and contrast this model to the traditional struggles of organizations to analyze their spending data — islands of automation, spreadsheet jockeys painfully extracting transactions and modifying rigid models, centralized teams agonizing over the conflicting needs of stakeholders — and the whole mess deteriorating over time into apathy and exhaustion.

Inheritance makes life easy for central maintainers, gives stakeholders the ability to create permanent, domain-specific analyses customized to their needs, and creates high-value outcomes across the organization.

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