A Fun Spend Analysis Playbook for This Weekend: Defensive and Offensive Strategies

Terms that we use every day can often be a model to apply to professional strategies. As we look to the Super Bowl this weekend, ideas of offensive and defensive strategies are swirling in my head. Strategies and tactics from the world of sports can provide inspiration and valuable insights to apply to the business world.

Analyzing spend data for procurement in a defensive and offensive approach can also be helpful for understanding the tactics needed to address spend and procurement analytics.

As described in the Harvard Business Review article What’s Your Data Strategy?, the idea of defensive and offensive data strategy is delineated by business objectives. The article notes the following:

  • A data defense is about minimizing downside risk. Data defense includes ensuring compliance with regulations (such as rules governing data privacy and the integrity of financial reports), using analytics to detect and limit fraud, and building systems to prevent theft.
  • A data offense focuses on supporting business objectives such as increasing revenue, profitability, and customer satisfaction. It typically includes activities that generate customer insights (data analysis and modeling, for example) or integrate disparate customer and market data to support managerial decision-making through, for instance, interactive dashboards.


Using this model based on spend analysis insights and activities, different data tactics can be separated in a similar model to help us understand who needs to be involved and what kind of data or actions is needed based on a defensive or offensive strategy.

Interestingly, just like an interception that leads to a touchdown, sometimes objectives can be both defensive and offensive.

Here is a model to consider:

Playbook initiated from Spend Data

Spend Analysis Playbook

This model, based on spend analysis insights and activities, can help you identify different data tactics to determine who needs to be involved and what kind of data or actions are needed depending on whether you want to take a defensive strategy or an offensive one.

The chart provides a means to understand how defensive and offensive views may require different ways to look at the data. While the goal is to maximize value for the organization, a different tactic will produce different preferred outcomes and will require different data points that you need to optimize or currently don’t collect in your spend analysis tool.

As we pick our sides, what thoughts do you have at generating a playbook? Have you done something similar?

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