Three Important Ways Decision Intelligence is Transforming Procurement

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Every year, the Spend Matters 50 Providers to Watch list highlights fast-rising companies in the procurement and supply chain market. We’re honored to be recognized by Spend Matters as one of the solution providers bringing digital innovation to procurement and advancing the state of the industry in 2022.

Procurement teams continue to face internal and external challenges. They often find it difficult to make decisions because of siloed systems and business processes. Planners are monitoring for shifts in demand that happen more rapidly than before. Buyers react to disruptions that are also becoming more frequent. And finance monitors for purchase price variances and impacts on revenue. These teams are in constant firefighting mode due to the sheer number of decisions that must be made daily, forcing them to be reactive rather than proactive.

Dashboards, KPIs, and old methods of monitoring trends aren’t enough to remain competitive. And, as we look to 2023, inflationary pressures and continued concerns about raw materials and energy supplies will further complicate the procurement landscape.

Aera is changing the game. We’re helping companies leverage data science and Decision Intelligence to predict deviations in advance, notify buyers, and even automate important decisions such as changes to supplier mix – helping companies keep their production plans in place and gain a competitive advantage in spite of disruption.

A True Digital Transformation of Procurement

Decision Intelligence is driving a new wave of digital transformation in procurement, significantly reducing the amount of time required to analyze data, collaborate, and execute on decisions.

Aera Decision Cloud™ bridges the gap between purchasing strategy and day-to-day operations so that teams no longer make spot purchasing decisions in isolation. By bringing decision-making logic, rules, and data into an integrated platform where these objectives can work in line with each other, Aera makes it possible to capture the causes of deviations between budgeted and actual spend, the decisions made, and the outcomes of those decisions – in context, and in real time.

And, because Aera analyzes and harmonizes data from virtually any enterprise system or data source – including ERP instances, WMS, TMS, CRM, and third-party data providers – it improves internal collaboration and visibility across the entire organization. With our Decision Intelligence platform, procurement teams can move away from relying on data and decisions managed in spreadsheets, over email, and on phone calls.

Accurate, Data-Driven Decisions at the Moment of Maximum Impact

Aera’s Cognitive Skills™ for Procurement make our Decision Intelligence platform a fully transactable procurement solution, complete with a supplier portal. With Aera, companies gain the ability to:

  • Respond more quickly to external and internal benchmarks and data, such as changes in pricing, tariffs, or exchange rates that impact performance – for example, Aera’s Spend Optimization Skill monitors the markets for increasing costs against contract pricing agreements and recommends preemptive extensions to secure lower costs
  • Analyze and optimize payment terms to maximize value, highlighting potential early payment discounts and opportunities to renegotiate – for example, when one supplier has multiple contracts with different terms, or when one supplier’s terms differ from those of other vendors in the same category
  • Automate day-to-day procurement operations, including purchase requisition conversion, RFQ deployment, and pull-in/push-out requests – freeing up buyers to focus on exception management
  • Automatically identify deviations between the actual purchase price of an item and its standard or baseline price, along with a root cause analysis and recommendations on how to rectify the difference
  • Perform four-way matching across purchase orders, invoices, receipts, and inspections to confirm that payment terms are met before a supplier invoice is processed
  • Recommend the best supplier mix based on performance scorecards that can be configured to include a wide range of metrics or categories – including quality, delivery, price, responsiveness, financial health, payment terms, and compliance
  • Receive real-time insights on supply chain resilience and the potential impact of at-risk suppliers, along with recommended alternatives to mitigate these supply risks

Aera customers are benefiting from increased decision-making bandwidth and the efficiency their teams gain from automating decisions. Aera analyzes and harmonizes data from multiple enterprise systems, then writes back to those source systems when a decision is made. The time previously spent manually gathering data or updating those systems, as well as collaborating on responses, is now time saved.

Be Ready for the Next Challenge

The COVID-19 pandemic, and all the challenges that followed it, highlighted limitations in companies’ procurement processes. And we’re still living in challenging times: companies will continue to face challenges around energy, supply availability, pricing and inflationary pressures, and sustainability, all of which can impact procurement decisions.

The good news is that Decision Intelligence gives companies the ability to learn and adapt – and, for procurement teams in particular, Decision Intelligence helps them react to external forces and stay competitive.

We’re not just providing a solution to today’s disruptions and challenges – we’re focused on helping businesses improve decision making for the future. Digitizing and standardizing procurement processes today reduces the impact of future volatility. And decision automation helps procurement teams focus on the high-value and strategic decisions that will keep their companies competitive even in a challenging world.

We’re glad to be recognized by Spend Matters for the work we’re doing, but there’s still much more to come. Decision Intelligence will continue to revolutionize decision making for procurement professionals and other teams at the world’s most dynamic companies. It’s an honor to be a part of building that more efficient and sustainable future.

Aera is helping companies become more responsive in the face of disruption – watch Jennifer’s recent Future Now webinar presentation, “Bridging Procurement and Supply Chain with Decision Intelligence,” to learn more.

About the Author:

As a Solution Engineering and Customer Engagement Principal at Aera Technology, Jennifer Chaplain implements Aera’s core technologies and designs Decision Intelligence workflows for global companies. Among many accomplishments, she led the implementation of the first-ever operational procurement solution on a Decision Intelligence platform. Jennifer is a passionate evangelist for data science and machine learning to enable predictive, self-healing supply chains. Follow Jennifer on LinkedIn.

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