Next Generation VMS and Services Procurement Platforms: Putting True Analytics/Insight at the Core

This post is based in part on our 2011/2012 research series Procurement Innovation: Answering the Hard Questions. If you'd like to learn more about this and related topics, download our latest free Compass research paper: Getting the Most From Analytics and Benchmarking for free today.

In general, procurement, HR and IT professionals do a dreadful job of leveraging analytics and complete internal/external information sets in everyday decision making in managing services suppliers and contingent spending. Worse, we delude ourselves into thinking that running the occasional report on a monthly or quarterly cycle makes us strategic (hint: it doesn't). Granted, we're always looking for some information to help justify a sourcing or related decision. But our modus operandi for the mundane and routine is more likely to damage our credibility to truly be strategic than to enable a greater degree of respect and trust among stakeholders.

It's Spend Matters' view that there's no replacement for drilling into data and combining unique sets of information together when it comes to impacting front-line decision makers. Placing information -- ideally intelligence -- in context can influence behavior in ways that general policy and programs cannot on their own. Consider the following example. In the context of creating a candidate offer form, a VMS may present information such as recent, similar job titles hired and bill rates based on similar or different geographies. And going a bit further, the platform may also suggest at what rates for similar job types candidates rejected offers based on past data within the organization. But in the not-so-distant future, we'll take analyses like these to the next level by leveraging contextual insight and real-time benchmarking that takes advantage of a range of internal and external datasets.

I believe that we'll even see a combination of VMS capability and corporate policy begin to steer users both overtly and in more subtle ways to particular decisions based on pricing and index related information (e.g., number of candidates, time-to-fill and wage trend information in concert). Some of the enablers of these capabilities are likely to be drillable dashboards that present multiple layers of insight that intersect human capital and procurement (leveraging both our own data and third-party intelligence). Such capabilities will enable us to understand and quantify the full spectrum of savings and cost avoidance rather than just driving rate standardization and basic compliance. They'll also help us develop a company-wide point of view over where specific talent pools and rates are headed and link sourcing strategies that ultimately tie underlying pricing elements to third-party indexes to enable better contracting and relative performance measurement.

Gratuitous plug alert: join me today for a SIG webinar covering this and related topics at 1:00 PM CT. And download: Getting the Most From Analytics and Benchmarking to accelerate your knowledge in the area and to learn how to put intelligence at the core of your services spending analysis and strategy.

Jason Busch

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