5 Tail Spend Management Trends to Consider

tail spend management

Tail spend refers to ad hoc spending and uncategorized supplier purchases that are low in volume, frequency or value. Today, many businesses are reimagining their strategies for tail spend management.

Recent global events have highlighted the value of the procurement space. They’ve also shown how important it is to improve continuity, increase efficiency, and streamline operations across all industries.

Below we’ll discuss some of the top trends in tail spend management, plus provide tips on how to prepare for the future.

1. Upsurge in B2B Marketplaces

A growing number of marketplaces are replicating their success with B2C and translating it to B2B, as with Amazon Business and Uber for Business.

Technological innovations are changing the way business is done, and all kinds of companies are seeking to gain market share by investing in B2B technology. These marketplaces streamline operations to cut down on clutter and use big data to let decision-makers focus on core functions.

When analyzing procured B2B services, you should look at several factors. These include the value-add, potential duplication of systems, return on investment, and whether or not the cost is competitive in today’s market.

2. Increasing Use of e-Marketplaces for Services

E-marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr are growing in popularity because they offer ease of access to a large pool of talent and convenient hourly billing. When hiring contractors in other parts of the world, businesses can tap into cheaper labor markets and save costs on hiring full-time employees, instead employing contractors to do work like graphic design, bookkeeping, digital marketing, research, and many other tasks.

3. Widespread Implementation of Sourcing Help Desks

The explosion of the B2B technology industry has led to an increased need for sourcing help desks, such as Salesforce and Zendesk. Businesses are faced with a growing number of queries from staff, customers, and vendors. Help desks create a single channel for sourcing requests to be submitted, reviewed, and approved. They automate status and tracking, making disjointed communication a thing of the past.

It’s a good idea to review existing infrastructure with your staff to identify sourcing inefficiencies. Then you can try out a tail spend management platform that offers sourcing help desks. The procurement staff—along with anyone who submits a query—will definitely appreciate it.

4. Growing Need for Real-Time Spend Analytics

With the widespread availability of automation, no one should have to wait for expense reimbursements, credit card receipts, or vendor invoices to be processed. Real-time spend analytics make data available immediately, allowing for quicker month-end close and proper coding—not to mention more accurate tracking and forecasting.

These tools allow finance teams to analyze trends and opportunities for cost savings. You can use this data as a launching point to renegotiate contracts, consolidate accounts, ensure staff accountability, and track where your assets are being allocated.

5. Adoption of Advanced, Automated Solutions

What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. To stay competitive, businesses have to look toward the future—and the future is in artificial intelligence and automation. Automated tail spend management solutions have a wide variety of benefits, including:

The software you choose should address your current needs, but it should also be on the cutting edge of innovation. When choosing an automated solution, consider its cost versus value, integration capabilities, implementation timeline, and necessary training sessions. If third-party consultants will be needed for implementation and training, make sure to include this in your cost configuration.

Transform Your Tail Spend Management

It’s incredibly important to stay up to date with industry trends and consider how you can capitalize on them. Right now the biggest tail spend management trend to be aware of is automation, which allows companies to instantly streamline processes involving huge numbers of transactions and suppliers.


What is tail spend management?

Tail spend management refers to low-volume, infrequent, or low-value ad hoc spending and supplier purchases.

How are businesses adapting tail spend management strategies?

Recent global events have emphasized the value of procurement and the need to enhance efficiency and continuity. Businesses are embracing new trends and technologies in tail spend management.

How do B2B marketplaces impact tail spend management?

B2B marketplaces like Amazon Business and Uber for Business streamline operations and use big data to focus on core functions, influencing tail spend management.

How do e-marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr affect tail spend management?

E-marketplaces offer access to diverse talent and convenient hourly billing, enabling cost-saving through hiring contractors instead of full-time employees.

What role do sourcing help desks play in tail spend management?

Sourcing help desks like Salesforce and Zendesk centralize and streamline sourcing requests, improving communication and efficiency in tail spend management.

Why are real-time spend analytics crucial for tail spend management?

Real-time spend analytics provide immediate data access, enabling quicker month-end close, accurate tracking, and identifying cost-saving opportunities.

How do advanced, automated solutions benefit tail spend management?

Automated solutions using AI and automation offer real-time analytics, customizable reports, efficiency, transparency, and seamless integration with existing systems.

What is the key trend in tail spend management?

Automation is the prominent trend, enabling streamlined processes for handling numerous transactions and suppliers. Staying updated with industry trends is essential for successful tail spend management.

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