February 8th, 2016

Data Quality from the Front Lines

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Supplier Information Management Data Quality

As the “Data Quality” conversation continues to gain more momentum, we are constantly on the lookout for research and other various bits of data that help to quantify the full scope of the problem.  Really… we need to know this!  ”How much is bad data costing our organizations?”  We need to understand the scope of the problem.  Think of Lord Kelvin’s famous words, “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.”  We want to improve quality and we want to reduce costs…  therefore we need to measure the effect of quality on costs.

In the above infographic we have compiled a greatest hits of “The Costs of Data Quality” citing a number of various analysts and reports from the last few years.  Most of this data is focused on the enterprise, but the statistics seem to be very consistent when we filter them through a Lavante colored lens.  We work directly with business leaders throughout the P2P suite and in conversations with clients and prospects we have heard similar estimates about the shortfalls of data quality when it comes to Supplier Information Management.  At Lavante – we also have the benefit of working directly in the supplier data and we can directly see the effect that poor quality data has on our clients.   The downstream impact -in terms of profit loss and wasted time – is chilling.

The most recently sourced statistics listed above (placed in the center of the infographic) focus on a recent Deloitte study which was published in the Wall Street Journal and states that 67% of CPOs point to “Data Quality” as a key barrier for getting the maximum value out of their systems.  This is very interesting, because this research is taking the “Data Quality” discussion right to the P2P ecosystem – This data is seemingly talking about supplier information.  That means two-thirds of CPO’s are suffering from bad supplier data and that is having an adverse effect on their ability to maximize ROI!  Wow…. that number is staggering when you think about it.  Expect to see much more of this conversation in the next year.  In 2016, expect CPO’s (and other procurement and organizational leaders)  to start paying very close attention to how improving their supplier “Data Quality” can ultimately improve their bottom line.

All of this data aligns perfectly with what I have been hearing from market trendspotters in the last several months.  Consistently, analysts and other experts are reporting that business leaders throughout the P2P cycle are universally realizing that the investments they’ve recently made in downstream point solutions and/or in advanced analytics are not reaching their maximum ROI.  The most common reason coming out the various user groups is “poor data quality.”  It is only a matter of time before we see a laser focused attention how poor data quality is preventing Procurement and the entire P2P cycle from ever achieving it optimal levels of value.  The emergence of more “Costs of Data Quality” research in Procurement and P2P will spur a new wave of great ideas to improve supplier data quality and in turn improve the output of our downstream point solutions and processes.  Truly, measuring the costs of bad supplier data will ultimately lead to a search for solutions and the subsequent improvement.  Lord Kelvin was right.

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February 2nd, 2016

Scrubbing Your Supplier Database

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Your Supplier Database contains the data that is the foundation of most of you day-to-day purchasing decisions. 

Regular scrubbing is not only a best practice for you and your team, but it is a necessary process if you hope to optimize your core enterprise functions.

There’s plenty of room for improvements in this field. Without any exaggeration, we can freely claim that almost each and any supplier database comes with duplicates, inaccurate, or incomplete records. Also, it’s also very likely that you’re using a couple of databases, rather than only one on a daily basis. can help you structure and cluster data to come up with a single clean and reliable vendor master database.

Improving the Quality and Accuracy of Your Supplier Database

It comes without saying that any database ages rapidly. It’s an inevitable process. According to some estimates, various changes can affect between 30 and 40% of the available data in your database on a yearly basis. Your business relocates, merges, or changes all the time, including the names and contact persons associated with it. Also, some databases can contain a few hundred million records you have to keep up-to-date. Therefore, improving the quality of your business data and optimization of data management processes present themselves as an absolute must. You’re required to normalize, rationalize, standardize, update, improve, and maintain your data all the time. Needless to say that you also have to remove all duplicate records. Duplicate and inaccurate data should be deleted as soon as you identify and locate them in your system. Updating, organizing, and enhancing your supplier database on an ongoing basis will enable you to get the most out of your business systems. When you’re using a clean and accurate accounts payable master database, you’ll be able to work more efficiently. Also, you can optimize your purchasing processes and ensure substantial cost-savings.

Implementing an ERP or an eProcurement system

The success or failure of an implemented ERP or an eProcurement system depends entirely on the quality of the data you enter and use. Cleaning and maintaining the supplier database enables you to get the best results out of your business system. Which one should you implement, an ERP or an eProcurement system? To answer this question, you need to evaluate your company’s size and result expectations. More information about these systems, you can find in our section about eProcurement.

Consolidation Process

The very first step in identifying possibilities for consolidation of your supplier database is to perform a holistic review of all the data within. You end goal, of course, would be to come up with a clean, complete, reliable, accurate and up-to-date dataset which combines all ‘like-vendors’ and documents the various relationships between them.

Invoices Processed and Paid Twice

Having duplicate vendors leads to the creation of duplicate payments. Particularly in those cases where there exists more than one supplier database. Usually, these multi-database scenarios are maintained by different members of the organization who follow different protocols and can even have separate data formats and taxonomies.

Integration of Supplier Database Files

In a world dominated by ERP systems, the current trend is to deploy additional web-based software products to manage things like Invoicing, Procurement or supplier data collection. Each of these disparate systems comes out-of-the-box with its hosted database and allows both you and the suppliers to make changes. All of this data needs collection, organization and integration back into the Vendor Master in an orderly manner.  Ultimately, all efforts should lead back to one central vendor master database, which contains all relevant information.

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January 28th, 2016

Seven Tips to Avoid the Impact of Bad Supplier Data

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Bad supplier data can be at the root of many finances and accounts payable challenges. And there are many ways vendor data can be processed that cause duplicate vendor files to be set up. Consider the various ways that an enterprise can construct the name of their supplier in their ERP system.  The screenshot below Read More…

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January 26th, 2016

Lavante Delivers a Strong SIM Offering to the Mid-Market

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Great story from the Lavante newsroom today!  We announced the development and deployment of our Mid-Market SIM offering for general availability.  This is no small feat for our team as we have, to this point, invested so heavily into building a powerful enterprise application.  The new product is in production at several mid-market companies now Read More…

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January 14th, 2016

Paystream Further Defines the Supplier Information Management (SIM) Market

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As last year wrapped up we were fortunate to work with PayStream Advisors on research that they were doing to help further explore and define the Supplier Information Management (SIM) market.  The document they have produced, “The Power of Supplier Information Management Technology” explores the complex requirements of managing supplier data.  The paper serves as Read More…

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December 22nd, 2015

Season’s Greetings from Lavante!

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The Lavante Elves have been hard at work constructing world class educational content throughout the entire year.  We thought this holiday season was a good time to look back over the work they’ve done in 2015 and send one last holiday gift to everyone on the “nice” list – and everyone on the “naughty” list Read More…

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December 15th, 2015

Reflecting on 2015 at Lavante

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2015 has been a dynamic year of growth for Lavante!  We have been fortunate to see a lot of progress on many different fronts.  Today we have posted a press release reflecting our successes over the last twelve months as well as a “Year in Review”  document (at right) recounting a month by month walk though Read More…

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December 3rd, 2015

How to Manage Risk in Your Procure to Pay (P2P) Operation through Continuous Controls Monitoring (CCM) and Continuous Transaction Monitoring (CTM)

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In my last blog, we discussed the challenges in managing risk in the supplier management process within the procure to pay (P2P) process. If we dive deeper into the day-to-day P2P transactional operations we find that that is virtually impossible to manually screen each supplier or invoice for fraudulent trends and anomalies, especially in “real Read More…

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December 1st, 2015

FREE WEBINAR on 12/8: “5 Things Every Procure-to-Pay Professional Must Know”

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Basware and Lavante are capping off 2015 with another free webinar in their award-winning Thought Leadership Series.  Please join us on December 8th at 2PM EST/11AM PST to walk through the five things that every professional in the Procure-to-Pay (P2P) space needs to know. In this webinar, industry thought leaders Josh Morrison of Lavante and Read More…

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November 23rd, 2015

Five Best Practices to Ensure Supplier Compliance throughout the Procure to Pay (P2P) Process

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  Even with today’s intense scrutiny to supplier compliance and internal controls due to the impact of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 and other regulatory compliance requirements such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), there are still situations in which contracts are established with phony suppliers, employees posing as suppliers, or entities on Read More…

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