How are digital solutions and AI transforming spend management?


In the era of digital and artificial intelligence (AI), new approaches are emerging to transform how businesses approach cost reduction. In this article, we will explore innovative strategies that leverage technology to optimize spend management and reduce costs. 

What are examples of digital spend management solutions?

There are many digital solutions on the market that can help businesses manage their expenses. Among the most common examples are: 

  • Enterprise Expense Management (EEM) solutions: These solutions allow businesses to manage all of their expenses, including business expenses, travel and entertainment, goods and services expenses, etc. 
  • Source-to-Pay (S2P) solutions: These solutions help businesses manage their procurement processes, from selecting suppliers to paying invoices. 
  • Financial Management (FM) solutions: These solutions allow businesses to manage their overall finances, including their expenses, revenue, and investments. 

How do these solutions help reduce costs?

Digital solutions offer many benefits for spend management, including: 

  • Automation of manual processes: Digital solutions can automate manual and repetitive tasks such as data entry, invoice validation, and bank reconciliation. This allows employees to focus on higher-value tasks and free up time for strategic projects. 
  • Improved visibility into spending: Digital solutions allow businesses to centralize their spending data and view it in a clear and concise manner. This allows businesses to better understand their spending and identify opportunities for reduction. 
  • Facilitation of collaboration: Digital solutions facilitate collaboration between different departments and functions within the business. This allows businesses to make more informed spending decisions. 

S2P solutions also contribute to cost reduction in several other ways

  • Workflow optimization: S2P solutions streamline workflows by allowing businesses to define more efficient approval and validation processes. This eliminates unnecessary delays and ensures that purchases comply with internal policies, reducing the risk of non-compliance related to maverick buying or excessive spending. 
  • Contract negotiation: S2P solutions can integrate contract management tools, making it easier to negotiate and track with suppliers. By having better visibility into contract terms, businesses can identify savings opportunities, negotiate more favorable terms, and avoid unforeseen costs. 
  • Supplier management: By centralizing supplier information, S2P solutions allow businesses to better manage their relationships with suppliers. More effective supplier management can lead to more strategic partnerships, favorable price negotiations, and reduced costs associated with delivery delays or quality issues. 
  • Data analysis: S2P solutions often offer analysis and reporting capabilities that allow businesses to monitor and analyze their spending. By identifying trends, bottlenecks, and optimization opportunities, businesses can make more informed decisions to reduce costs. 
  • Error and fraud reduction: By automating processes and strengthening controls, S2P solutions help reduce invoice processing errors and prevent fraud. This can avoid additional costs associated with correcting errors and managing the consequences of fraud. 

How does AI contribute to “decoupling” the cost reduction levers of spend management solutions?

  • Predictive analytics: AI can use predictive analytics models to anticipate spending trends and forecasts and identify cost optimization opportunities. 
  • Supplier panel optimization: AI algorithms can evaluate suppliers’ past performance, analyze market data, and identify the most suitable suppliers based on the specific needs of the business. This promotes more strategic supplier relationship management, with partnerships focused on quality, reliability, and profitability. 
  • Negotiation automation: AI can be used to automate certain phases of the negotiation process, by analyzing contract terms, assessing market conditions, and recommending optimal negotiation positions. This allows for more favorable agreements while saving time and resources. 
  • Anomaly and fraud detection: AI technologies can detect anomalies in financial data and spending patterns, helping to quickly identify potential fraud. Fraud prevention saves resources that would otherwise be lost due to fraudulent transactions. 
  • Compliance process automation: AI can be used to automate the monitoring and enforcement of internal compliance policies. This ensures that all transactions comply with established rules, reducing the risk of financial penalties related to non-compliance. 
  • Personalized purchasing recommendations: By analyzing past purchasing behavior and taking into account user preferences, AI can personalize purchasing recommendations. This maximizes the value of purchases based on the specific needs of each user, saving them valuable time while identifying savings opportunities. 
  • Continuous improvement through machine learning: S2P solutions powered by machine learning can continuously improve by analyzing the results of their own recommendations. They adapt to market changes, changes in purchasing behavior and new cost optimization opportunities. 

As you can understand, spend management solutions coupled with artificial intelligence can generate significant savings.

Spend management is no longer simply a financial necessity, but also a strategic opportunity for businesses that want to remain competitive in an uncertain and inflationary environment. 

Through our Business Innovation Lab at Corcentric, we develop innovative AI-based solutions that strengthen and accelerate the capabilities of our Procurement and Finance solutions to meet the current business needs of our customers.