When it comes to spend intelligence, the old axiom of you can’t manage what you can’t measure should be; you can’t manage what you can’t access (on a timely basis)

Posted on February 24, 2011

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Note: The following is an excerpt from today’s post on the Rosslyn Analytics Blog.  Use the following LINK to access the article in its entirety.

If you can measure that of which you speak and can express it by a number, you know something of your subject; but if you cannot measure it, your knowledge is meager and unsatisfactory.”

William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin

The you can’t manage what you can’t measure axiom has almost indisputably become the starting point – call to action mantra, used by those in the industry to trumpet the importance of spend intelligence solutions.

Over the years of course, the quote’s origins have been attributed to everyone from Hewlett-Packard co-founder Bill Hewitt to business management guru Tom Peters. While it is a sound admonishment, in researching the phrase I discovered two very important facts.

To start, William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin or Lord Kelvin’s authorship of the saying is recognized in the history books for his more eloquent reference to only being able to manage that which you can measure. A mathematical physicist and engineer in the 1800s Lord Kelvin is likely better known for his realizing that there was a lower limit to temperature – absolute zero, leading to the establishment of the Kelvin temperature scale which was named in his honor.

Lord Kelvin

However, it is his work on addressing the challenges of a narrow bandwidth associated with the construction of the transatlantic telegraph cable that caught my attention in that it ultimately reflects the true importance of spend intelligence today within the context of Rosslyn’s breakthrough technology.

Remember to use this LINK to access the above article in it’s entirety.

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