What is our primary use case?
We use it for spend analytics. I'm on the procurement team in my company and it's used for reviewing how each of our departments is spending.
We also use it for payment-term analysis, evaluating how many payment terms our company has with vendors. We try to use that information to standardize the payments that we have and to look for working-capital benefits, in some cases, with vendors that we have shorter pay terms with.
How has it helped my organization?
It has consolidated a couple of different spend avenues that we have. Our accounting team, our finance team, and procurement used to have three different realms in which we would look at the spend information. We would get fairly close, but not as close as we would like. GEP has helped gather the spend from those different arenas and put them into one, singular case so that we can compare apples to apples each month.
It's given us greater visibility to all-spend. It's helped with the classification of spend. We can look at things based on GLs, but it's allowed us to classify spend so that we can look for opportunities to save, as a procurement team.
In terms of that classification, the AI tool definitely has learned from the information we've given it but also from some of the corrections that we've made. It may have auto-applied a classification and then we have gone in and corrected it, given it some feedback. With that, more and more, we are not having to touch the information once it gets processed. It's classifying it from the get-go in the correct category. That helps us because it allows each of our procurement managers in different departments to really see everything that's in their realm, without having to look for mistakes or nuances. It's become fairly knowledgeable.
It has given us visibility, and we'll see historical data, whenever we are creating an RFP. It does give us a better insight as to all the spend in that category. We can formulate future project requests more clearly.
What is most valuable?
We operate with three different systems that input data. The fact that GEP consolidates all that information into one place is a big deal for us. It streamlines that data for us.
There are also some AI tools that GEP uses in helping us find opportunities. That has been beneficial as well.
What needs improvement?
We didn't like their dashboard initially, but they responded to that very well. They've given us some customizable dashboards and have also made it so that the dashboards can be exported into PDF and other formats, so that we can share them with the rest of the company, people who are not necessarily users on GEP. That was a weakness at the beginning, but one that they have responded to adequately and we're really pleased with the result.
For how long have I used the solution?
I've been using SMART for about two years. The organization has been using it for two-and-a-half years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
We have not had any significant crashes. We've had minor bugs, but their customer service has been really strong and they've responded, each time, very quickly and given us fair timelines as to when they expect to have it up. They are usually right on time with those timelines for fixing bugs. We have not had any significant stability issues, just small ones with tweaking. It's mainly when there have been upgrades. They've come out with a new version and they have had a couple of bugs. They responded quickly to those.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We have some plans to increase its usage in the future. We met with them recently just to discuss what additional resources and tools they offer. We're not subscribed to every bell and whistle they have. We're strongly considering what it would be like to increase the number of tools and more fully use the services that they offer.
How are customer service and technical support?
I deal with both first-tier tech support and our account manager. We filter a lot of our requests and information through him and he's been great.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We did not have a previous solution.
How was the initial setup?
I was not part of the integration of it into our system. I came onboard about six months after they had done that.
It's fairly easy to use. There was a short time period for onboarding SMART, where GEP gave plenty of instructional training. And they've provided some good responses to questions, as I have continued to learn. But I and my team find it could be fairly quickly adopted.
To fully understand what the product offers took a month's time, but that was because there were a number of different tools and tricks within the software. There were multiple things that we had to learn.
There has been fairly good adoption of the solution in our organization. I'm one of the main, super-users. In a lot of cases, my colleagues have relied upon me to find the information for them because I am in it daily. They feel comfortable using the tool as well, but not to the degree that I do. They've been good users of the tool, but because this is my specific role, they've simply relied upon me for that usage.
There are two other teammates of mine who help in maintaining the tool. They are also procurement managers.
What was our ROI?
We have seen a return on investment, both in the direct materials and indirect material realms. Whenever we get a line-item price variance, we've seen some ROI in terms of being able to capture when pricing has changed and wasn't what was contracted. We've also seen it in terms of the payment-terms analysis. There's a monetary value to that.
It has definitely saved time. Before, we were bringing financial information from three different systems and that was laborious. GEP does it for us now.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The costs are all built-in.
What other advice do I have?
We have found it to be a beneficial program with a lot of different resources that we still have yet to explore. I don't think we've tapped out yet on what it offers.
Through using GEP, we've been able to gain respect. The other departments in our company have come to rely upon us even more. We have become a more trusted department within the company, among our peers, because we can speak to their spend at greater depth.
It is not currently connected with our ERP system, but that's something that we have discussed with GEP as a possibility in the future.