About the "Time Machine”
This is important! Please read!
Before you use the Time Machine for the first time, we recommend you read this article in its entirety.
About the "Time Machine"
The Annual Report publishing tool (the “Time Machine”) enables authorized users to “freeze” data for a specified period. The periods are delineated by whole fiscal or calendar years (depending on how your organization reports financial data) and can be frozen on a quarter by quarter basis.
This flexibility gives you the ability to confirm that all of the eligible spend is properly captured, including data discovery that will maximize the measured impact of your diversity spend.
Who can publish (freeze) Time Machine reports?
The ability to publish (or freeze) a report is restricted to users with the appropriate permission designated by your system administrator.
- Users with the permission will be able to see the Time Machine Manager icon in the Spend Reporting dashboard.
- Users without this permission will not see the Time Machine Manager icon and will only see the Time Machine Switch to view or not view Time Machine data.
Who can see published (Time Machine) vs live data?
All users with access to the Tier-1 spend dashboard have the ability to view Time Machine vs live data. Switching between the two views is as simple as toggling using the slide button next to the Tier-1 tools.
It is important to understand the distinction between the two views and the explanation is summarized below
Time Machine Data vs Live Data
Time Machine data
Time Machine data is a representation of spend for a past period of time based on the demographics of the suppliers at the time you spent the money. So, for example, if you spent $100 with ABC Corp on March 24, 2021 and ABC Corp was a Woman Owned Business (WBE) with an active WBE certification, the spend would record as follows:
- WBE - $100
- WBE Certified - $100
What happens if ABC Corps Status Changes after March 24, 2021?
Imagine if you will, that ABC Corp was sold to a large publicly traded company on April 1, 2021 and was no longer woman owned or a Certified WBE. When you are in Time Machine mode, the $100 in spend for ABC Corp on March 24, 2021 will still show as WBE and Certified today, notwithstanding the fact that ABC is no longer a WBE or Certified.
That is the key benefit of the Time Machine – it shows you spend based on what the supplier was categorized as, on the day you spent the money with them.
Live data is a representation of spend based on what demographics apply to your suppliers right now. This is usually quite accurate while looking at current data that is streaming into your SupplierGATEWAY platform, but as the fiscal or calendar year ends, many organizations prefer to “freeze” the data for a past period – thus establishing a “report of record” for that period.
If you are familiar with how Annual Reports or Financial reports are generated, you will already be familiar with this concept. The idea is, to agree that the data you are freezing is an accurate representation of what you did during that time period and you publish the report so that the number stays static and does not change.
Important things to know about freezing data
There are some things to know about when to freeze your data and what options you have.
- You can freeze data for any period that has concluded. You cannot freeze data for the future, or fiscal periods that are still underway.
- You do not have to freeze data immediately the period ends – there is a very important reason for this (same reason financial reports are created several days or months after the actual financial period ends).
- It gives you a chance to confirm that you have best available data to determine what your suppliers were on the day you spent money with them.
- You can add data to the supplier record if you discover new information today that was applicable back when you spent the money (e.g., you find out now that ABC was also a Veteran Owned Business in 2021).
- You can unpublish (unfreeze) Time Machine data even after you freeze it – this important if you discover a significant material item that needs to be adjusted after you publish the report. Just like annual reports, this should not be common but you can do it if needed.
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