I'm thrilled this morning to announce that ICG Commerce has become a Lead Sponsor of Spend Matters. ICG Commerce is a BPO provider that has transformed itself in the past decade to become one of the fastest growing and most successful savings-generators in its space. Moreover, they've taken a road-less-traveled approach to building a critical mass of onshore, regional and global capability focused as much on process expertise, market intelligence and deep category knowledge as an offshore or mega-firm scale. This has helped ICG Commerce benefit not only from a material growth in interest in procurement BPO in recent quarters, but from a more educated customer and prospect base that has come to realize that getting the most from procurement outsourcing requires back-burnering the notion that labor-cost savings or going with a large global brand will create the biggest impact.
Simply put, they describe themselves the following way: "ICG Commerce, the procurement outsourcing specialist, is driving a fundamental change in the way today's businesses achieve financial agility and fund growth. ICG Commerce is the only procurement outsourcing specialist with superior market intelligence integrated into an operational approach, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in realized savings." The concept of implemented and bankable results is not just marketing lingo at ICG Commerce. Having spent material time with ICG Commerce in recent quarters -- including an extended tour of the their operations -- I've determined that "realized savings" is as close to a mission statement as it could get for any organization.
While ICG Commerce goes to market independently, they're also partnered with another leading offshore BPO, a provider with whom they work with in broader, multi-tower outsourcing deals to provide extended capabilities in procurement and far beyond. What separates ICG Commerce from their competition? I'd argue that it's the way they drive their "realized savings" philosophy across both initial and multi-year savings programs goals. In a previous post on ICG Commerce, I suggested that they generate savings on behalf of their clients in three areas:
- The first, sourcing and category management, almost goes without saying, and remains a differentiator ... [but] ICG Commerce does not just limit its sourcing and category management approach to upfront negotiation, however. The provider also focuses on, in its words, "driving continuous cost improvements beyond what we initially negotiate in the initial sourcing process." These areas include demand management for areas like MRO and travel policy.
- The second major bucket falls under the core of the source-to-pay process: procurement itself. Here, ICG Commerce helps drive savings through areas such as preferred supplier redirection and behavioral analytics (not to mention transactional savings through greater automation and compliance).
- ICG's third major focus is the accounts payable function, which all experienced finance folks know can provide a major point of leverage around both savings and working-capital management strategies / execution, provided that organizations have enough visibility into actual invoices and liabilities.
Please join me in welcoming ICG Commerce as a new Lead Sponsor of Spend Matters. We look forward to continuing to ramp up our coverage of procurement BPO this year both independently and with Horses for Sources -- looking closely at the nuances of what has made ICG Commerce and others in the market successful at delivering results that go beyond what organizations have achieved internally. We're not sure if there's a secret savings sauce to procurement BPO, but if there is, we'll do our best to unlock the mysteries of the spend recipe.