The growing realization for SaaS buyers is that if they overlook the details of their SaaS contracts, chances are they’ll pay for it later. Forrester analyzed the thousands of inquiries we receive every quarter to understand the hot button topics in the SaaS space for the first half of 2011. When it comes to on-demand services, we found that people paid more attention to the following three factors in the first half of 2011 than ever before:

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Cloud-based technology did not take long to invade the comforts of procurement, sourcing and complex category management. My research over the past year has reinforced the powerful notion of the cloud as a viable option for procurement, purchasing and financial professionals in overall spend management. Cloud e-procurement and expense management solution provider, Coupa, invited me […]

My new Expense Management for a New Decade study published last week, and one of the major themes of the report focused on the fresh and modern approaches companies are taking in regards to expense management.

The time, cost and efficiency benefits of cloud expense management solutions were discussed in the new research study, however, what the Expense Management for a New Decade report did not detail were the various sparks in expense management capabilities that help companies achieve those top-tier performance benefits.

Users of cloud-based expense management systems are 51% more likely than those companies who are not currently utilizing cloud expense management systems to have visibility into aggregate expense spending by category across the entire enterprise. This capability translates into full knowledge of just how much spending is occurring on specific airlines, hotels, restaurants and car rental firms. This intelligence can be funneled into the procurement / sourcing team, who can leverage the information to improve their negotiations with major suppliers.

The visibility enhancements don’t end there, however. Companies currently leveraging cloud expense management solutions are also 41% more likely than non-users to hold real-time visibility into expense spending against current travel budgets. This aspect, which I discussed several times last year, is crucial in knowing exactly how current travel plans stack up against the corporate budget. If the CFO finds his or her team is over their allotted travel budget for the quarter, the appropriate steps can then be taken to scale back travel in future quarters or alter existing plans.

With expense management becoming truly strategic over the past several years, it is important for companies to not only at their reductions in time and cost in regards to processing expenses, but also holding the proper visibility into expenses spending, which can bolster financial forecasting and help both the CFO and CPO accurately plan for the future. Cloud-based expense management solutions have proven to not only deliver performance benefits to the modern organization, but also visibility enhancements, as well.

Read the Expense Management for a New Decade study, which includes discussions not only on cloud-based expense management solutions, but also other technologies that have helped companies usher in a new decade of expense management.

Thanks,

Christopher

I like sourcing and vendor management professionals for all of the reasons they drive others crazy. Business and IT executives like to complain that SVM teams care only about getting the lowest cost (this complaint usually comes after said sourcing team tells the business user his vendor of choice isn’t the best option). Vendor sales people are taught to avoid SVM professionals whenever possible because they keep asking questions like “Why is your product worth this much money?” and “Show me how you bring value to my company.”

The SVM executives I deal with are a tough group (and don’t think I get off easy: Forrester is a vendor to these executives too, so I’m not immune to the same challenges as other vendors). They’re a practical group, and not inclined to be swayed by idealized visions of innovation, for example. They accept nothing at face value, they question everything in painstaking detail, and they resolve conflict instead of working around it.

So why is this pragmatic, sometimes cynical, group talking about emerging technologies, new services models and other innovations? Because in their pragmatism they know that they need to move their organizations forward to take advantage of opportunities presented by new technologies and services. And they know if they don’t, the business will do it without them – opening their firms to increased costs and higher vendor-related risks.

While I’m not claiming SVMs have abandoned their focus on reducing cost, the need to take advantage of new opportunities is critical. As a result, there are three key areas where Forrester sees SVM investing:

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