Companies have conducted advanced purchasing analyses for nearly two decades. During this time, the market adapted to a vast range of technological solutions. To summarise, the new expectations in the area of purchasing analysis have been stimulated by changes in IT, data management, new tools and technology. Such database solutions as in-memory computing, Big Data as well as servers, mobile and different final/end users’ solutions are examples of uncomplicated, legible and user-friendly forms of presenting the expected statements. This generated a large number of end users who apply generally and easily available tools for spending analyses.
Users’ expectations become oriented towards more complex sets of data. Fortunately, today, IT solutions are not any longer the source of limitations. In principle, the offered solutions (at least theoretically) have the ability to deal with any volume of data or types of statements. The major setback in the area of purchasing analyses is not the lack of knowledge or software constraints, but a problem of defining what the companies wish to obtain, i.e. what are the objectives of these analyses. It can be imagined that the expectations towards analyses will be subject to three different scenarios:
- The first scenario is to focus on the objective of a maximum cost reduction and, consequently, this objective will determine both the tools and the procedures to be applied, such as: on-line markets analysis vs. purchasing volumes, the analysis of framework contracts performance, the analysis of the generated savings etc.
- The second scenario is based on releasing employees from everyday operational activities. This kind of analysis is to help employees in performing their recurrent tasks.
- The third scenario is ,simply, to entrust the tools to the most experienced users and rely on their knowledge, experience and skills in terms of designing and application of the analyses.
The fundamental issue is to select the suitable scenario. It could also be possible that one organisation or organisational unit would develop an entirely new set-up, combining any of the options mentioned above. The first two scenarios are oriented towards operational activities and cost reduction, in the first case – directly, an in the second – indirectly. The last scenario could be dynamically modified by key users to meet different objectives, depending on current needs.
At the moment, new solutions are, definitely, oriented towards the third option and its derivatives. IT tools are designed to enable business analytical reports to be generated by employees who directly benefit from their results. What used to be within the competences of IT departments – designing, reporting software, cubes of analytical data for OLAP type tools, etc. – has now been transferred directly to the recipients. This has been possible as a result of considerable simplification of the mechanisms for analytical data processing.