Effective procurement management is important for organizational growth. As of 2022, 63% of companies use cloud-based ERP solutions to execute this process.  

But these systems have a major drawback. They often include extraneous data, including irrelevant departmental budgets, inventory details, non-essential customer interactions, miscellaneous employee records, and comprehensive sales figures. These make it challenging for companies to make effective and precise data-backed supply chain decisions.
With the ubiquity of SaaS, as highlighted in the State of SaaS Buying 2023 report, nearly 40% spend over a million dollars annually on SaaS. This proliferation of SaaS applications, combined with opaque pricing models and time-consuming procurement processes, underscores the need for strategic procurement practices

This blog post explores the best practices for procurement market intelligence, providing insights to help companies streamline their procurement strategies, optimize SaaS spending, and enhance overall performance.

What is procurement intelligence?

Procurement intelligence is collecting and understanding data to make better buying decisions. It helps companies find new suppliers, identify product innovations, and forecast market changes. 

Also known as procurement market intelligence, it analyzes market trends and costs to support the company's specific goals. In a highly competitive market, this process is essential to manage the supply chain effectively. Generally, procurement teams, finance managers, or someone in a similar position are responsible for this task. 

There are three key parts of procurement market intelligence:

  • Market research (collecting and analyzing data)
  • Competitive intelligence (understanding competitors and market changes) 
  • Supply market analytics (specific data about where the company buys its supplies)

Benefits of procurement intelligence 

Procurement market intelligence offers several key benefits, including:

1. Cost savings

Procurement team’s purchase decisions can help an organization downsize costs. The more insights and real-time updates they receive regarding the market condition, the more effective decisions they can make.

Benchmarking different options, reviewing competitive offers from different vendors, finding alternate sales channels, or securing better deals can help procurement teams buy better and spend less. 

2. Market insights

Market intelligence procurement software helps businesses forage through the market to find vendors delivering software at lower prices. Subsequently, the company can compare its current spending to the latest market changes to keep improving its supply process at a lower cost with no overspending.  

In this scenario, using procurement software to analyze spending in real time can save money, reduce problems in getting supplies, and support the company's growth and success in the long run.

3. Supplier performance

Evaluating vendors’ performance, service delivery, and assistance, along with their financial health, helps make better choices when selecting a suitable partner.

This method, while demanding in its need for extensive data points to guide decisions, also effectively aids in securing better deals, establishing optimal contract terms, and ensuring that these contracts remain relevant amid market fluctuations.

4. Efficiency gains

By studying market trends and industry standards, companies can find ways to make their processes smoother, eliminate unnecessary steps, and cut down on overspending. 

5. Demand forecasting and inventory management

Companies should be able to predict what customers need and when and prepare for market changes. Procurement intelligence software guides them in making smart purchases aligned with the imminent surge or drop in demand. 

By using insights the tool generates, organizations optimize their operational procurement, ensuring they have the most in-demand offerings available and bypass shortages that could dampen the growth trajectory. 

6. Better vendor management

Companies also monitor vendors' performance through procurement market intelligence. They can keep an eye on things like speed of delivery and the quality and dependability of their products. 

This understanding allows companies to communicate effectively with vendors and deliver specific inputs. Alternatively, organizations can switch vendors and choose more affordable and reliable options.

7. Real-time data

Real-time data in procurement helps companies in:

  • Spotting market trends quickly, enabling a faster response to changes like price adjustments or product shortages. 
  • Identifying potential issues, such as supplier delays, before they become problematic, allowing for proactive measures.

This fresh and current data aids in efficient planning, enabling companies to align their procurement strategies for more impact. With up-to-the-minute insights, businesses can make more cost-effective purchases.

8. Competitive advantage

Companies can stand out and make better buying choices in a highly-contested business landscape by focusing more on their competitors and market trends. This helps them adapt swiftly to the market. 

Best practices for effective procurement intelligence 

Implementing procurement market intelligence in an organization requires a systematic and strategic method. Here are some best practices to follow:

1. Data collection

This involves gathering relevant and comprehensive data from various sources. This data forms the foundation for making informed procurement decisions. It includes:

  • Supplier information
  • Market trends
  • Prices
  • Internal procurement performance

Effective data collection ensures decision-makers have a complete view of the procurement landscape. For example, PwC's 2022 Digital Procurement Survey reveals that high-performing procurement teams are 77% more likely to have high-caliber digital procurement solutions. This emphasizes the value of robust data collection tools.

2. Data analysis

Once data is collected, it needs to be analyzed to extract meaningful insights. This involves using statistical tools and techniques to identify patterns, trends, and anomalies.

Data analysis helps companies assess the following:  

  • Market dynamics
  • Evaluate supplier performance
  • Identify areas for cost savings
  • Efficiency improvements

According to a Gartner study, 83% of cross-functional leaders plan to leverage existing technology for enhanced decision-making, an 11% increase compared to global decision-makers considering entire business processes. Consequently, there's a growing emphasis on investing in advanced analytics to support these decision-making efforts.

3. Supplier relationship management

This focuses on developing and maintaining strong relationships with suppliers. Effective supplier relationship management aims to go beyond transactional interactions to building partnerships that add value to both parties. It can lead to better pricing, higher quality products and services, and more innovative solutions.

4. Automation and technology

According to our research, 30% of organizations take 1-2 months to complete the SaaS procurement process. Streamlining the process through automation can save time and money, leading to better customer satisfaction.

Automating tasks such as payment reconciliation, accounts payable, and invoicing frees up time for strategic initiatives, minimizes errors, and improves employee satisfaction.

This approach ensures more accurate financial management, timely payments, and better budget oversight. All this contributes to the efficient operation and growth of the business.

5. Performance metrics

Establishing KPIs for procurement activities allows organizations to fine-tune their procurement processes. It exhibits how well the procurement department is performing when it comes to efficiency, cost control, supplier relationships, and adherence to regulations. 

Monitoring these KPIs ensures that procurement activities align with the organization's strategic goals. It also enables quick identification of areas that need improvement and helps make data-driven decisions.

6. Compliance and ethics

Compliance with legal and ethical standards is the hallmark of responsible procurement. It ensures that the organization operates within the boundaries of the law and maintains the highest ethical standards in its dealings. Ensuring strict compliance upholds the organization's reputation and mitigates legal and reputational risks.

Procurement managers must adhere to relevant regulations, such as anti-corruption laws, and prioritize ethical sourcing practices. Transparency in transactions and supplier relationships is important.

7. Talent and skill development

Owing to the rigorous nature of procurement, investing in the training and development of professionals ensures they have the expertise to navigate this complex process. 

8. Cost optimization

Cost optimization in procurement is about achieving the maximum ROI. It's not just about cutting costs but also about maintaining quality and healthy supplier relationships. 

Some time-tested cost optimization measures include:

  • Negotiating better terms with suppliers
  • Leveraging economies of scale through bulk purchasing
  • Exploring alternative suppliers
  • Conducting spend analysis to identify cost-saving opportunities

9. Continuous improvement

A mindset for continuous improvement means constantly looking for ways to enhance procurement processes. Regularly reviewing and refining procurement processes and being open to adopting new technologies and methodologies are a must.

How does Spendflo help businesses with procurement market intelligence?

Spendflo is a leading SaaS buying and optimization platform that provides cutting-edge procurement market intelligence solutions. It is designed to help businesses, especially SaaS brands, streamline and enhance the efficiency of the SaaS purchasing process. 

Spendflo helps you to:

  • Utilize advanced technology, including AI, to process large data volumes and extract valuable insights. Our AI automation assistant, Flo AI, streamlines procurement workflows, achieving up to 30% savings and delivering a 3x ROI by analyzing spending data and generating over $50M in savings.
  • Identify and manage supply chain risks, like geopolitical issues and market changes. For instance, in the SaaS sector, we provide risk reports for disruptions such as data breaches or shifts in customer demand.
  • Customize intelligence reports to your specific business needs, covering emerging trends and competition in your industry. We collaborate closely with you to offer tailored solutions.
  • Provide real-time dashboards tracking crucial metrics like customer acquisition, churn rates, and revenue growth, enabling rapid decision-making for competitiveness.

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Guru Nicketan
Content Strategist
Karthikeyan Manivannan
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