“If you have to be naked, you had better be buff. We are entering an extraordinary age of transparency, where businesses must for the first time make themselves clearly visible to shareholders, customers, employees, partners, and society.” – The Naked Corporation, Don Tapscott and David Ticoll
Start With Why
Why does the world need Sievo? That’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about since I joined the team a year ago. It also happens to be something many other people have been thinking about ever since the company was founded 14 years ago.
There are 117 of us Sievonians now, so you’re likely to get 117 different answers to the question “why?”. I won’t summarize all the valid opinions, instead I’ll share mine. It’s about being naked.
Procurement Own the Oil Fields
Let’s start with the big opportunity.
Data is the new oil, I’m sure you’ve heard it too. If you work in procurement, that usually means your data is exactly like oil – it’s hidden, dirty and hard to extract.
Over the past year, I’ve learned many large sourcing organizations rely on networks of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and other types of databases to store information about their purchases and vendors. The more data, the more difficult to get the big picture, and that’s where procurement analytics vendors like Sievo step in. We turn that dirty data into dollars, both in your consolidated spend reports and in your balance sheets.
I’ve also observed that really clever procurement leaders no longer look for spend visibility, in fact, they know they own the oil fields. Procurement data could be the largest untapped opportunity for businesses since, well… oil!
We all know keeping costs below revenues is the real key to profitability.
Since joining Sievo, I’ve found out that in many large companies procurement is responsible for managing up to 70% of all costs. A sales director hoping to increase revenues by 30% will have an equal impact as a Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) reducing costs by 8%. Only one of the two can prove their impact on the bottom line right down to the line item level with the right data.
What about the Nakedness?
Let’s get back to why you’re really reading this article. Nakedness.
Out of all the little anecdotes I’ve heard over the past year, one stood in my mind. Our customer relations director told me about the time they celebrated the 10th anniversary of working with a customer.
The whole Sievo team and a large group from the customer’s side celebrated by visiting a lodge deep in the Finnish countryside for one big night of bathing in the sauna.
Sievo was founded in Finland, and our culture of work has been impacted by our surroundings. While we don’t all like to go to the sauna, we are generally an open and non-hierarchical workplace and that’s the way we like to work with our customers.
I should clarify to our international readers that nakedness in the sauna is purely platonic. In this sense, nakedness is more about leaving your work clothes and titles at the door. On a base level, everyone is equal when they enter a sauna and everyone sweats out the experience together.
You don’t have to enjoy going to a sauna to thrive in most business organizations, but with a certain amount of transparency, equality and willingness to collaborate, you’re likely to get better results.
Transparency is the Key to Better Business
Let’s get back to the original question, “why Sievo?”
I’ve been able to interview some really exceptional procurement leaders over the past year, the kind of people embracing data and digital transformation in their organizations.
Some of the most inspiring people I’ve talked to have been Sievo customers.
If you ask some of our customers why Sievo exists, you may end up with a single word like “transparency.”
To get an idea, just listen to these three quick interviews:
It’s inspiring to hear this from customers because to me, transparency is electrifying.
Transparency is a great reason for being for any company.
Transparency in business is a huge mission.
Transparency in Data as a Competitive Advantage
Let’s sum it up now.
At Sievo, we’ve been providing transparency on procurement spend data for a very long time. It’s only more recently it’s become a major source of competitive advantage.
With virtually unlimited access to internal and external cost data, procurement now own the oil fields.
Data in itself is not valuable, it’s the insights you derive from analysis that brings the value to business. Through openly collaborating with finance and other stakeholders, procurement makes corporate strategy more data-driven and impact on the bottom line transparent. The more transparent you are with your data, the better insights you make together.
The rules of business are changing fast and old ways of working are being disrupted. I believe the winners in the new game are the ones who are more transparent within their organization, their key partners and suppliers.
The procurement leaders of tomorrow are those who will embrace a radical level of transparency in data.
The better businesses of the future are the naked businesses.
Featured photo credit: Lauri Väin cropped and used under CC license.