New analysis tool advances Procurement Initiative

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Supply Management Services (SMS) recently provided several campus units with access to a new spend analysis tool called Spend Viz. The system is expected to be a primary enabler in the Reimagining Cornell effort by advancing the Procurement Initiative, which seeks to generate savings of $40 million by 2014.

Spend Viz was developed by the SMS staff and an outside contractor from December 2008 to April 2009. SMS has been using the software since July 2009 to create reports and data exports to identify opportunities for savings, and began offering access to units in September 2009.

Spend Viz imports the details of Cornell’s spending from the university’s multiple transaction methods, including payment requisitions, procurement cards, and e-procurement. Previously, there was no way to synthesize data from all payment methods in order to provide a complete view.  This data has been used to create standard reports that support institutional decision making by identifying compliance issues, spend patterns, and local and regional economic impact.  Spend Viz also includes a module for managing contracts, which shows the spending that is occurring through negotiated agreements.

At Cornell, data is imported into the software each month so that purchasing agents will have timely information when developing sourcing plans. Spend reports are provided to senior finance managers so that they can participate collaboratively in the procurement savings initiative.

The School of Industrial and Labor Relations is just one of the units actively using the data. Joe Grasso, associate dean for finance, administration, and corporate relations commented, “We are using the Spend Viz reports on a regular basis to benchmark our progress during the year and to understand our procurement spending in a more detailed and nuanced way.  The reports provide both a broad and a detailed view of our spending, and we can quickly see which vendors and which expenses we can do a better job of controlling.  This is the right tool and the right time.” Grasso continued by saying, “The Cornell procurement office also helped us tailor the reports to fit our needs, specifically by grouping certain vendors into more appropriate categories, and this helped with our analysis.”  

In addition, SMS partnered with Cornell’s Center for Technology Enterprise and Commercialization (CCTEC) to create a licensing and distribution model so that the software can be marketed to other higher education institutions.  Because the software is affordable and flexible, it provides a solution more suitable in higher education than pre-existing software applications. Princeton University has purchased it and will be working collaboratively with Cornell on enhancements. 

To learn more about Spend Viz, contact SMS at (607) 255-3804 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

©2012 Cornell University


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