The Dependency Cycle
The basic segmentation performed by all spend analysis systems is the grouping of like vendors together ("Familying") and the assignment of spending to Commodity ("Mapping"). This is a continuous process as new data is added. If that process is opaque to you, a dependence on the spend analysis vendor is created that is both expensive and difficult to sever.
Typically the spend analysis vendor takes your raw data in-house and adds Vendor Parent and Commodity columns to it, using proprietary tools and methods. Then the vendor “publishes” the enhanced dataset to an OLAP analysis tool (often a generic third-party BI product like Tableau or Qlik). You then get to drill around your data using those new columns.
If they did it wrong, or you have changes you’d like to make, you tell the vendor what you want changed, they do the change offline, and then they publish the new dataset. Lather, rinse, repeat. It can be a tedious and irritating process.
The methodology used by the spend analysis vendor to produce these new columns varies, but it is always a combination of automatic mapping methods and manual augmentations and corrections. Usually these methods are hidden from you — only the vendor can perform them. When they are not hidden, they’re often too confusing to be mastered.
The end result is the same — a permanent, expensive dependence on the vendor to map new transactions or to correct errors in the old mappings, and therefore a dependence on the vendor for every "refresh" of the data evermore.
Spendata can free you from this cycle by reverse-engineering the mapping rules and preserving your existing IP. It provides easy-to-use automatic and manual mapping tools that you can use to chart an independent course forward.