In this innovative partnership, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts as the two companies focus on taming tail-spend with an on-demand platform with embedded change management.

Businesses have been leaving money on the table for years. For most organisations, (indirect) tail spend flies under the radar because of the large number of lower-value transactions, a fragmented supply base, and a poor user experience. This results in process inefficiencies and lost savings opportunities that can be eight to 13 percent higher than with more competitive sourcing.

Simfoni and Kearney set out to solve this problem, joining forces on solutioning tail spend management. The partnership pairs Kearney’s rich heritage and expertise in procurement transformation and change management with Simfoni’s composable analytics and spend automation technology. The result is a comprehensive global delivery model that significantly improves tail spend management, which until now has been a major problem for large and smaller organisations alike.

“We started our journey over three years ago,” says Stefan Dent, co-founder of Simfoni. “It takes some time to form a bond. You get to know one another working together on client engagements and then you realise that the relationship is really working, so you double down on the commitment.”

Simfoni helps businesses “see spend differently” leveraging data analytics to gain a deep understanding of user needs across everyday ‘tail spend’. Founded in 2015, Simfoni is a leading provider of tail spend, spend analytics, and e-sourcing solutions for large and midsize businesses around the globe. Simfoni’s platform uses machine learning and AI to accelerate and automate tail spend management, saving time and money. Its solution quickly ingests and organises complex data to uncover opportunities to optimise tail to higher value spend. Simfoni emphasises rapid value delivery through on-demand spend automation solutions that are operational in weeks rather than months.

Remko de Bruijn, senior partner at Kearney

The Kearney–Simfoni partnership delivers a unique and powerful proposition, combining Simfoni’s digital tail spend solution with Kearney’s know-how and ability to launch a transformation and unlock the promised value, says Remko de Bruijn, a senior partner at Kearney. “There are many digital procurement solutions around, but frankly, many of them aren’t delivering the promised value, typically because of challenges with user adoption and change,” he says. “Kearney continuously assesses solutions in the market, with one of our other partners, ProcureTech, and together, we concluded that Simfoni is leading in tail spend. This is how we found each other.”

Kearney is a leading global strategy consulting firm founded in 1926, with more than 5,700 people working in more than 40 countries. The company works with more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500 as well as with the most influential governmental and nonprofit organisations. Kearney is a partner-owned firm with a distinctive, collegial culture that transcends organizational and geographic boundaries—and it shows. Regardless of location or rank, the firm’s consultants are down-to-earth and approachable, with a shared passion for doing innovative client work that realises tangible benefits for their clients, in both the short and long term.

“We see Simfoni as a powerful solution to realise savings in indirect tail spend. It’s about not only data and spend automation, but also the customer experience,” De Bruijn says. “This is crucial when dealing with everyday spend as most users are non-procurement professionals.”

Kearney aids businesses in implementing Simfoni’s solution quickly, mitigating risks associated with unmanaged spend and vendors. “The attractive thing about Simfoni is that the solution manages tail spend—optimising both spend and vendors—with the savings funding the digitisation. It’s a tail spend solution that delivers a comprehensive service,” De Bruijn says. “Simfoni will even pay the tail suppliers with Simfoni becoming the ‘One Vendor’ for the tail, which creates additional benefits in accounts payables and working capital.”

Simfoni and Kearney both operate globally, which is important since their customers often operate in multiple regions around the world. “It’s a very interesting and powerful proposition,” De Bruijn says.

Stefan Dent, co-founder of Simfoni

Simfoni designed its tail spend platform from the ground up. The company founders came from the procurement domain, having worked in a variety of procurement leadership roles and at other procurement technology providers. “Let’s face it, existing solutions never solved tail spend, which accounts for around 80 percent of your vendors and transactions and around 20 percent of spend value,” Dent says. “Until now, the only options were BPOs, where you effectively outsource your tail to be managed by humans in a lower-cost country, or you use self-service bidding platforms. These solutions deliver some value, but it’s like putting a plaster on a wound.  You never properly cure the problem.” 

Simfoni’s platform is unique in that it is first and foremost a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution with integrated buying services and digital procurement content components that connect with a client’s existing systems, or Simfoni can operate autonomously. Dent says that’s not even the best part. “The user experience is the most important element because, as Remko pointed out, most tail spend users are not procurement professionals,” he says. “Our users are in R&D, IT, plant operations, or marketing. They want an intuitive, easy-to-use solution to source and buy goods and services to support the everyday needs of their business. This is where traditional eProcurement systems fail.”

Dent says Kearney is an ideal partner being a trusted advisor to many of the world’s largest organisations. Kearney’s expert knowledge of procurement and transformation are a vital part of the offering. “Kearney’s input and expertise is crucial as Kearney helps our clients scope their tail spend program and update their procurement operating model while Simfoni frees up resources, allowing the client to focus on higher-value activities,” he explains. “At the end of the day, technology alone doesn’t solve tail spend. It’s about change. Kearney helps our clients make that digital shift. That’s why our partnership is so powerful because together we provide a comprehensive change and a digital solution as a package. The opportunity for our clients to finally control and optimise tail-spend is huge.”

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