Procurement Must Move From Dashboards to Prescriptive Analytics

We are witnessing a major shift in business intelligence (BI) and analytics in the enterprise. Excel, Tableau and PowerBI have been great at helping us crunch numbers, create reports and dashboards, and visualize data in pretty charts. But let’s be honest with each other. BI requires a lot of cost, overhead, and staffing to do well. You need to know what data to access. It must be cleansed and normalized to make sense. You need to ask the right questions. And when you figure out the answer, you must be able to quickly take action. Most BI and analytics will tell you if you are on the right track, but not what to do next if you are not.

A Gartner Diagram Of Data, Analytics, Human Input, Decision, And Action
(Source: Gartner, May 2015)

Enter Prescriptive Analytics.

The below figure from Gartner describes the evolution of analytics from descriptive (what happened) to predictive (what will happen) to prescriptive (what should I do).

Gartner believes that prescriptive analytics can be applied to strategic, tactical and operational decisions.  Prescriptive analytics can make recommendations to a person who must execute an action (decision support) or to automate a system to carry out an activity (decision automation). The best decisions requiring prescriptive analytics tend to be inconsistently executed by people, have competing objectives, require lots of data, and have many influencing factors. 

Sound familiar procurement and strategic sourcing teams?

Artificial intelligence is now prevalent in the enterprise. Software can automatically clean data, produce prescriptive insights and guide the end user to “the next best action” workflow to capture the opportunity. Barron’s and ZDNet columnist Tiernan Ray recently reports on trends in AI in the enterprise and recently covered Suplari in his Technology Letter in an article called “The Push-Button Corporation: Suplari’s Software Might Be Savvier Than Most of Your Employees.” Tiernan highlights Suplari’s ability to increase productivity and uplevel teams to take on more strategic opportunities.

If you are interested in learning more about Suplari, prescriptive analytics, and the future of strategic sourcing, please contact us at