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Innovators Forum Abstract – 2018 (Business Analysis)
TITLE: Business Analysis – Your Pathway to Excellence
The Innovators Forum continues to explore important topics that move the higher education procurement profession toward increasing levels of strategic impact. To operate strategically, we need a plan and the plan should be directed toward goals that matter to customers and stakeholders. The goals should be meaningful and directed toward 'moving the needle' to make a difference. When we know what those goals are, then we need to align, direct and supervise scarce procurement resources toward their achievement. It is hard to underestimate the importance of using data analysis as effectively as possible to accomplish this mission.
Most procurement leaders acknowledge the importance of data analysis and many have taken significant steps over the past few years to improve their capability. However, as an industry we are still in the infancy stage of executing with leading practices. Data analysis should not be thought of as just an activity carried out by one or two specially trained individuals, but as a competency that each team member should be required to demonstrate some level of core skills. If data analysis is to become part of our 'DNA' and the way we operate, then there are a variety of important issues to consider. Do we have a spend analytics capability and if so, what is it used for? Do we operate against a 'scorecard' and if so what metrics and indicators do we monitor? Are those indicators 'key' or 'strategic'? What data should we be providing to our customers and why? What data should we be sharing with our key suppliers and why? How does the executive team view our operation, what is their 'data window' into our operation and how does this impact our 'brand image'? Are we skilled enough in our data analytics to make a collaborative impact on other key functions? For example, can we support the facilities, information technology and research communities with our skill set? Are we skilled enough to analyze the performance of our own operation to remove non-value added activity and focus on activities that drive impact?
This Innovators Forum will focus on identifying the essential elements of data analysis in higher education procurement. We will explore the many important uses of data analysis to support procurement operations from goal setting to spend analytics to negotiation support to operational decision-making and to answer the questions listed above. We will debate the use of data analysis to establish goals and indicators and discuss differences in the terms 'metric' and 'key performance indicator'. We will explore the business case for using exceptional data analysis and visualization techniques. What are the leading data analysis practices and the best organizational design? What data do our key customers and suppliers want from us? Through discussion and facilitation, the group will develop the key program characteristics to utilize data analysis and identify the primary action steps necessary to execute at a high level. We will suggest next steps for procurement groups who are at the beginning stages of using data analysis and steps for more advanced teams to take their activity to the next level. And finally, we will discuss barriers and challenges to improving "data analysis" practices and steps we can take to overcome them.LEARNING OBJECTIVES