As CIOs get down to deciding which projects are most important and most urgent, a common question arises: \u201cHow do we avoid speculative or unproven technologies?\u201d\nToday, budgets are in flux. Operations are in limbo. Some of yesterday\u2019s long-planned investments are now out of the question, and there\u2019s a greater need to curtail spending and risk. Yet CIOs still find the speculation question difficult to answer because to resolve it, they\u2019d have to know what their organization spends money on, across its many siloed business units and departments\u2014and many still don\u2019t.\nThe financial story of how an organization purchases technology and services often requires a detective to piece together. The same goes for its risk profile. The primary components are fragmented across dozens of core systems and workflows, as well as thousands of suppliers.\nTo understand what\u2019s happening and accomplish all of that in a world determined to move to the cloud, there\u2019s Business Spend Management (BSM). With it, you not only illuminate and manage your own company\u2019s spend, but you get a rare peek into\nthe spending patterns of your peers. This gives CIOs the data they need to steer the\nbusiness\u2014and a sense of what\u2019s speculative and what\u2019s not.\nBSM is a comprehensive approach and software category for managing all the ways employees spend money\u2014through procurement, invoicing, expenses, and payments\u2014as well as the related processes to initiate, control, and optimize this spend.\nBSM is necessary because that data is spread across many systems. Practically nothing about how companies spend is architected for efficiency, and as IT organizations the world over are asked to cut budget and wonder where it will come from, it pays to have a data-driven answer.\nWith BSM, your organization can:\n\nSee what it\u2019s spending across silos\nCut bloated budgets and free up capital\nReduce partner and third-party risk\nBenchmark itself against peers by leveraging AI\n\nHow BSM came to be\nThe challenge with fragmented data has always been that businesses must balance flexibility with complexity. If you buy best-of-breed everything you wind up with many systems, countless connectors, and fragmented data. But if you buy one big system, such as a monolithic ERP, you gain simplicity but sacrifice the flexibility of best-in-breed vendors that each do one thing very well.\nThe ideal state for most companies exists somewhere in between. After the last three decades of technological advance, that\u2019s where most businesses have ended up.\nERP: 1990s\nERP was the first example of integrating related business processes. ERPs were seen as a big step forward but considered non-urgent until Y2K drove sudden mass adoption.\nCRM: 2000s\nCRM emerged to systematize front-office work and address ERP gaps. Companies like Siebel Systems first turned an ecosystem of contact databases into a full-blown source of customer record. CRMs then integrated with ERPs for financial reporting.\nHCM: 2010s\nFollowing in the pattern of CRM, HCM emerged to consolidate human resources point solutions for a single source of employee record. It too plugged into the ERP, and it became clear that a proper flexibility-complexity balance was for each business unit to have its own source of data truth.\nBSM: 2020s\nBSM has emerged to fill the final gap that no other system can\u2014a source of supplier primary record. In the same pattern, it provides a new, critical source, this time, of financial truth. Like ERPs and Y2K, BSM has exploded in importance during the pandemic, which has exposed disconnected and manual processes. To curtail spend, control third-party risk, and increase liquidity, companies must understand and digitize this data.\nHowever, unlike its predecessors, BSM also does something unique: It can quickly produce a verifiable return on investment. As the locus of financial control for the business, it quickly roots out financial inefficiencies.\nTapping into the power of Community Intelligence\nAnd the best part? Community Intelligence powered by AI. For over a decade, Coupa has been safely gathering anonymized and normalized data on how businesses spend. With nearly $2 trillion of spend on the platform, Coupa has the ability to benchmark your spend against similar organizations. Or, seek out suppliers based on trusted and verified ratings.\nThis is just the beginning of the depth of insights you can glean from Community Intelligence.\nThe combination of BSM and Community Intelligence is enough to help medium-to-large organizations reduce waste and detect hidden budget they can either save or repurpose. In today\u2019s environment, savings like that are welcome and needed.\nBusiness Spend Management leader Coupa gives companies the visibility, control, and insights they need to better manage their spend, and in so doing, facilitates IT and business unit partnership. For further information about Coupa\u2019s platform, go to https:\/\/www.coupa.com.\nClick here to read this ongoing series of interviews about how the role of the CIO is evolving as digital transformation initiatives mature.