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SpendLab to final Dutch BI & Data Science Award 2021!

Who will become the Smartest Organization of the Netherlands?

After careful consideration, the jury of the Dutch Business Intelligence & Data Science Award 2021 has selected three organizations eligible for the title of “Smartest Organization of the Netherlands”. The representatives of SpendLab, the National Police and Pon will advance to the finals.

In this article:

  • The Award Ceremony
  • Finalist 1: SpendLab
  • Finalist 2: The National Police
  • Finalist 3: Pon
  • No weak knees
  • Background

The Award Ceremony

The Dutch BI & Data Science Award 2021 will be presented for the 11th time on Thursday, December 9. The three finalists will then compete for the title of ‘Smartest Organization of the Netherlands’.

Finalist 1: SpendLab

SpendLab, a spin-off of the Netherlands Purchasing Center (NIC), is a fast-growing technology company that also makes its core technology available to partners. The company is engaged in cash and profit recovery, performing liquidity scans, risk analyses, fraud detection, process improvements and compliance.

The jury particularly praised the business and earnings model that enables SpendLab clients to easily recover an average of 1 to 3 euros per invoice on a no cure, no pay basis. Central to this is the APRA platform (Accounts Payable Recovery Analyzer), which was developed in-house and which is fed by some 400 algorithms based on supervised learning, among other things.

APRA is further supported by root cause analysis and complemented by Power BI software. The algorithms are capable of detecting irregularities, such as incorrect invoices, double invoicing, unsent credit notes and unspecified VAT in the accounts of customers.

The jury is impressed by how SpendLab has transformed from a local employer for ‘Excel nerds’ to an internationally operating tech company that, despite its growth, keeps a sharp eye on the human dimension (‘employee engagement’).

Finalist 2: De Nationale Politie

The jury is impressed by the care with which the National Police concretely implements the concept of ‘Information Driven Working’. Central to this concept is the Advanced Analytics Platform. All data scientists, data analysts and BI specialists within the police force have easy access to this platform by means of personal (data) authorizations. Within a secure, protected environment they can select their own dataset and immediately start working with machine learning models, pattern recognition and writing algorithms. The National Police thus facilitates ‘Machine Learning-as-a Service’.

Finalist 3: Pon

With foresight, Pon Holdings invested in the establishment of a small but decisive Datalab six years ago. The jury particularly praised the long-term vision and the willingness to invest in human capital through a full trainee program. The ambition to make Pon a data-driven company is not just an empty slogan. Using a maturity model for measuring data drive and a roadmap, the Datalab regularly adjusts priorities.

No weak knees

Jury chairman Menno Lanting is pleased that the three finalists in their quest to become data-driven not only pay attention to technology, but also keep a sharp eye on the human factor and corporate culture. In this way they succeed in pulling themselves up out of the current ‘transformation swamp’. Lanting: “Too often I still see organizations with weak knees when it really counts. Fortunately, SpendLab, the Police and Pon are not affected by this.”

Previous research has also shown that the human side is an important success factor in BI & Data Science.


The Dutch BI & Data Science Award has been presented since 2004. Previous winners include KPN Mobiel (2005), Ahold (2008), Diakonessenhuis (2009), Coolblue (2012), Brandweer Amsterdam-Amstelland (2013), Veiligheidsregio NHN (2015) and fietswinkel.nl (2017).

The Dutch BI & Data Science Award is an initiative of Passionned Group and others. The award is intended for innovative, learning organizations where data is leading and forms a solid basis for daily business decisions. The finalist who manages to convince the jury can call himself the ‘Smartest organization of the Netherlands’ for two years.

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