Xchanging — A New Procurement BPO Provider Enters the Stage

Even though Xchanging went through a period of transition during some accounting scrutiny in the UK this past year, their recently launched US BPO operation in procurement is gaining steam. Perhaps most important, their launch into this market is no longer theoretical. Xchanging recently won a deal with BAE Systems which will encompass $800 million in annual spend across a range of indirect categories including "Information Technology and Telecommunications, Transportation, Contract Labor, Industrial Supplies & Services, Utilities, some Professional Services and others." At the same time, "Xchanging will also provide procurement management activities related to reporting, supplier and contract management."

Earlier this year, I sat down with Xchanging's Americas procurement MD, Scott Dever, to dig into the Xchanging offering. In Spend Matters' view, what separates out the Xchanging approach in North America -- we can't speak to their UK/Europe offering -- from a range of other BPO providers is not just their gain-share approach (which they'll philosophically argue until you get tired of it), but rather their approach to building intelligence and support over key categories, such as temporary/contingent labor. Rather than just partner with third party service and technology providers, Xchanging went out and hired experts even before signing their first deal in order to build a solution portfolio that looks far more comprehensive than MSP offerings in the contingent market, for example.

I suspect that we'll be hearing a lot more from Xchanging in the near future as they continue to break into the North American procurement BPO market, which is undoubtedly a crowded space. But with a philosophically stolid business model and a focus on supporting strategic indirect categories like contingent labor at a level that goes deeper than many of their BPO (and even MSP) competitors/substitutes, Xchanging is already standing out in some of the deals its been involved with (including its first win). Now it comes down to how they will effectively scale and compete against domestic competitors (e.g., Accenture, IBM, ICG Commerce) and offshore BPO players also focused on the sector (e.g., Infosys, Genpact).

But first things first. With a customer win under their belt, Xchanging will now need to focus on supporting a range of potentially complicated indirect spend categories for a key A&D company, turning from sales model to support and delivery.

Jason Busch

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