By Special Contributor Tom Finn - Lead Analyst and Editor - Spend Matters

LevaData is not for everyone. After all, early adopters are not born, they’re made. So, if you haven’t yet heard about the Sunnyvale, California-based procurement-tech-leader, you’re not only in good company, but you’ve probably got nothing to worry about (the procurement solution market is brimming with well-appointed solutions, so the idea that LevaData might have skipped your attention is understandable).

However, if you happen to be a Supply Chain Management (SCM) and/or Procurement professional in the business of managing strategic, direct spend for a mid-to-large organization, you do, in fact, need to know this company. Regardless of where you are on the SCM maturity curve, LevaData is “must see” procurement TV. The company has taken the gloves off the latest technologies (e.g. Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Predictive Analytics) and brought them to life in a platform that is revolutionizing direct procurement practices.

LevaData has developed a platform that applies artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytic tools to both market intelligence and enterprise-sized procurement data sets. Aptly named, the company calls its approach Cognitive Sourcing™. Its AI advisor, called “Leva,” is on a constant, real-time search for savings opportunities and supply chain risks, as it integrates all of the aforementioned capabilities with an objective to find ways to maximize buy-side leverage. In short, LevaData actually delivers on the promise of intelligent, “agent-based” sourcing. It not only tells buyers what to negotiate, but when.

For example, Leva creates visibility into outsourced BOMs and "costed rollups" from manufacturing partners. It enables a "trust but verify" approach for key parts and commodities for partial or full outsourcing. That means insights into full transformation and lifecycle cost changes are always available and relevant, whether a result of the actions of the buy- or sell-side. The system makes recommendations for improvements. It continuously sifts through millions of data points for that purpose.

Leva connects to the known indices and other emerging market data sources that impact, if not sometimes govern, a company’s critical raw material supply arrangements. It then algorithmically combines and transforms these data so they can be logically compared to existing/current supply arrangements. Leva not only recommends market actions, as warranted, but the system actually self-configures to take them. For example, if a sourcing exercise is authorized, it automatically creates and executes the event, reports the results and makes appropriate updates to the other interdependent systems. In other words, it changes strategic sourcing from an episodic event to an ever-vigilant, operationally integrated, continuous improvement process. A mouthful I know, but c’mon, is data-driven procurement automation meant to be an ideal or a reality? Is it really that tough to understand?

Referencing a company survey of procurement professionals overseeing more than $450 billion in direct spend, Rajesh Kalidindi, LevaData’s CEO, made the following comment: “People know that digital disruption in the supply chain is already underway. Given this, we were greatly surprised to learn how many procurement managers are still using outmoded management tools,” Kalidindi said. “Access to transformative, actionable information is deeply fragmented. But the window of opportunity for competitive advantage will only be available to early adopters.”

LevaData represents the art of what’s possible. However, there is nothing abstract or unserviceable about its approach. To the contrary, LevaData is a highly practical solution. It turns market intelligence into business strategies by smartly incorporating technologies that have been designed to synthesize the right data, learn from them, recommend courses of action and take them. It does so automatically because it can’t be done effectively otherwise.

Investigators will quickly recognize Levadata as several steps ahead of the current solution market. It has several success stories under its belt, indicating that there are more early adopters than most of us realize. With good reasons, the company’s diverse set of clients maintain a low profile, as they know they’re operating on a different learning curve.

For companies where direct spend effectiveness is serious business —and you know who you are— you are invited to attend a SpendMatters hosted Webinar on April 19, 2018 that will reveal how LevaData helped Fitbit, one of the market’s leading wearable fitness product brands, identify and save an impressive $30 million.

About Tom Finn, Special Contributor. Tom is a serial entrepreneur and reluctant expert in the myriad applications of optimization to strategic sourcing and supply chain management –especially in healthcare, where the first collaborative sourcing projects ever attempted were successfully executed under his direction. He has been the first business executive hired by technology innovators from MIT, the University of Cambridge and CMU, so getting high-brow intellectuals and early commercial adopters on the same page is a battle-tested communication skill that Tom has had ample opportunity to hone over a 30-year career. Tom earned his undergraduate degree at Allegheny College and went on to the University of Taipei to continue his study of Mandarin. He has a knack for connecting dots that others don’t see and a readily obvious ability to communicate the possibilities. In his spare time, Tom is the principal editor of Healthcare Matters.