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How data analytics can save APAC businesses millions

06 Aug 2020

Given the economic impact of COVID-19, businesses across the APAC region need to identify and plug financial leakage quickly to prevent further losses. Could data analytics and leveraging data monetisation be the answer to help strengthen business decision-making to weather the storm?

It is more vital than ever in the current climate to be able to analyse data quickly, to plug leaks and eliminate human error, to keep more businesses in the region operational.

With Australian businesses suffering on average around a 20% loss at this challenging time, identifying financial waste through data analytics and automation could make the difference between staying in business, and folding.

No one can afford to throw away money at this time, but alarmingly many businesses still use manual spreadsheets to record, analyse and report data, leading to significant human error in what amounts to billions of lines of data. This adds up to millions in wasted money each year.

This, in turn, also has a ripple effect beyond the obvious, to suppliers and secondary industries, all of which are already under threat.

How Profectus is getting it right

To date, Profectus receives and analyses over 10 million data items every day, managing over 1 million products, and it has recovered more than $120 million in transaction errors for its clients, and has automated over 10,000 claims a day into its clients’ finance systems.

Statistics show that by accurately capturing and cleaning data, businesses can reduce total spend by 1% - 5% with data-driven spend analysis. In fact, around 17% of supplier contracts contain incorrectly or under-collected terms income or cost price overcharges, according to Profectus.

Similarly, a technology-led recovery service improves recoveries by up to 36% over traditional recovery auditors, identifying between 3.5 and 4.5 errors in every 10,000 transactions.

A good data analytics platform can help analyse terabytes of data more accurately to identify and rectify costly errors, faster. This in turn frees up management attention to focus on more ‘human’ aspects of business operation, such protection or mitigation.

Profectus reviews hundreds of thousands of invoices on behalf of its customers, along with any agreement data. It recently recognised it needed to be able to crunch the data for its clients faster, while boosting the productivity, efficiency, and accuracy of processing these vast volumes of data at scale. 

Profectus’ chief technology officer, Mark Webster, says many of its clients still use excel spreadsheets to record data, leading to significant human error in what can amount to billions of lines of data.

“Following COVID-19, some operations will simply not be able to return to normal, so any gain in data efficiency now can only improve future operation,” he says. “Given the economic impacts we're all suffering, now more than ever businesses need to understand any financial leakage they might have and be able to identify it quickly and get on top of it straight away to minimise risk and protect revenue.”

Profectus now uses data analytics and business intelligence platform Sisense, as a single source of truth for client data.

“We wanted to have algorithms, ‘visualisation stations’, that actually tease out the differences in the data in a much more automated way, so that we’re not just throwing more and more human capital at it, but actually leveraging smarter technology,” Webster says.
 
“For example, we ran a representative data set we had in our data warehouse through a different solution, but we killed the process at 20 minutes because that was already unacceptable both from a customer experience and cost perspective."

“With Sisense, we ran the same data set, and it processed the query within 20 seconds - we were stunned. This sort of data efficiency gain is a big deal for us, because it helps us to achieve the scale we need to serve our customers and grow as an organisation," Webster continues.

Critical role of data analytics and data monetisation in a downturn

According to Sisense's regional vice president of APAC Eyal Mekler, in times of recession, it’s critical for data-smart organisations across Australia to drive better efficiencies and minimise waste, and better use of data is key to this to help unlock the value of data at a deeper level and drive actionable insights at scale, to save money.

“Profectus is a great example of how an organisation that is purpose-built to support other businesses streamline their spending and leverage data more efficiently, which is really helping businesses in the current situation,” he says. “Sisense is excited to play a role in helping Profectus along that journey, to help unlock the value of data at a deeper level and drive actionable insights at scale.”

Sisense VP & GM for Cloud Data Teams, Scott Castle, says having the right approach to data analytics and data monetisation can make or break businesses during times of recession, and beyond.

“In smart, forward-thinking businesses, data is the catalyst which achieves cost efficiencies and streamline workflows – and more importantly, allows them to delve deeper into customer behaviours to unlock new insights, and to drive innovation,” he says.

“There is no limit to the transformative impact of data when it is leveraged well.”