Unlocking strategic business value from your data

Unlocking strategic business value from your data

Who is in charge of making the best use of your data? Before rules like GDPR came into effect the answer was, often, no one. Even today, without an effective data framework and a collaborative approach to sharing data, it may be rotting in siloes: unused and unusable. That has to change.

In a recent report, Gartner makes the statement that data and analytics leaders must expand business value while managing cost and risk (in fact, that’s the title of their report). Why is this relevant to distributors, buying groups, and manufacturers, and how can it help them take full control of their rebates & B2B deals? Read on, to find out.

The role data plays in rebate management

Do you know the status of your deals right now? If someone asked you to pull together a report in 15 minutes to use in an emergency board meeting, could you do it? Sadly, too many companies would have to say no.

However, with the right rebate management software in place, this is actually possible. People using these tools are no longer dependent on extracting data from spreadsheets or files on someone’s desktop. Suddenly, data visibility becomes possible: Giving you access to the rebate data you need, without having to rely on updates from members of your team. As a result, less time is wasted, you can drive better decision-making on deals, identify risks, and improve collaboration. That’s why data visibility is critical for better rebate management.

Having to provide a report in 15 minutes may be a bit extreme, however, Gartner says that increasing demands are being placed on those who work with data (historically: the finance, commercial, and sales teams in distributors’ and manufacturers’ organizations) to provide innovative and transparent information across the business. The pressure is on.

What challenges/risks come with data management?

The current challenges of managing rebates and complex B2B deals include, but are not limited to:

  • A lack of visibility and not enough access to accurate rebate data,
  • A flawed understanding of the rebate deal and failure to predict rebate earnings and payments accurately, potentially leading to significant financial reporting issues, and
  • Disputes and poor partner relationships.

These present and historical issues are nothing, however, compared to what Gartner predicts will be important for those who own and deeply understand their data in the future. Without complete visibility, this may even lead to a future lack of income by not being able to monetize your data. “Data monetization is moving from aspiration to realization at a greater rate than ever for commercial businesses,” says Gartner. In fact, they predict, “By 2026, over 50% of commercial organizations will have established initial efforts for formal data monetization”. If this isn’t on your horizon yet, perhaps it should be. Unlocking the business value in your data isn’t just a short-term win, it should be a long-term goal.

Why is data accuracy so crucial in rebate management?

Fundamentally, any ability to track, measure, analyze and report on data requires it to be consistent, coherent, and usable. This is a gargantuan task in a world without formal tools like rebate management software. In fact, it’s damn near impossible. But having one system where suppliers and manufacturers share information changes everything.

Suddenly, having real-time visibility into the performance of your deals becomes a no-brainer. Consolidating all your deal information across multiple departments and locations equips you to make informed business decisions by accessing the latest data, so you can inform all relevant stakeholders while ensuring a full audit trail.

But that’s just the beginning. Gartner predicts that by 2026, augmented financial operations (FinOps) will have improved cloud cost optimization and reduced budget planning efforts by up to 40%. This may seem like a pipe dream for organizations still relying on spreadsheets, but it’s not. The tools exist to make this possible. They simply need to be unlocked, with the help of cross-functional (and even cross-organizational) supplier-distributor collaboration.

McKinsey predicts, “By 2025, smart workflows and seamless interactions among humans and machines will likely be as standard as the corporate balance sheet, and most employees will use data to optimize nearly every aspect of their work”. They think this is possible. And we agree. What do you think?

How to provide transparent information across the business – collaboration

Gartner predicts, “By 2025, chief data officers (CDOs) who establish value-stream-based collaboration will significantly outperform their peers in driving cross-functional collaboration and value creation.” This statement may seem outlandish to retailers and manufacturers at first glance, but we’re no strangers to the value chain.

We’ve lived through times when organizations have not been “structured for function optimization” (as Gartner puts it). The result has always been siloed approaches and a lack of consistency. The other way of approaching efficiency is by focusing on collaboration. The Gartner report says, “business value creation is cross-functional by nature and requires collaborative delivery practices across business functions for success.” We agree. Having the right attitude to collaboration, focused on mutual benefit and customer satisfaction, brings advantages to all concerned.

But Gartner points out, “These challenges are not overcome by merely identifying collaborators and offering assistance based on technological factors like who uses what tool. Instead, they need to be addressed by working with those collaborators, participating in meeting stakeholder objectives, co-creating value flows, and practicing shared decision making”.

We’d add that it’s really important to determine your objectives and goals, centralize the data, report on what your data is telling you (in real-time), and then use rebate management software to gain strategic insights and communicate them to the wider team. That’s how you extract strategic insights from your rebate data.  

Having the right digital tools can unlock more strategic business value

Fortunately, the right rebate management software can solve many of these challenges. It’s true: Digital acceleration requires a new, structured approach. Sadly, it’s not enough to mandate tools – they have to be used. As Gartner describes in this report, business functions must also be aligned with “common (value-driven) goals, enabled by innovative uses of data and insights as part of all work activities”.

That’s why we’re proud to have teamed up with IDEA (the Industry Data Exchange Association) – the data syndication provider whose innovative solutions make the supply chain faster, easier, and more efficient –  to make sure that everyone has access to the information they need, through the innovative use of data.

The good news is that with constantly updated product data available from IDEA Connector, organizations can create, track, and execute rebate agreements instantly and with no data migration. And that means manufacturers, resellers, suppliers, and distributors can unlock more business value: For the benefit of their companies and, ultimately, their customers.

After all, isn’t that the point of good data, really? To use the power of collaboration (in this case, data sharing) to make intelligent decisions that drive business value. We think it is.

If you’re not already using a tool to derive insights from all deal management scenarios, maybe it’s time to get some help? Find out more: Schedule a demo with Enable.

Elizabeth Lavelle

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