At IQNavigator's customer event, a more advanced SOW customer presented their experience in designing and implementing a program, including sharing key lessons learned. These recommendations centered on a handful of areas, beginning with the elements of building the business case for SOW investment. Part of articulating the value of SOW came from the ability of such tools to help establish "processes and controls" to avoid any surprises around unexpected accrued expenditures at year-end (i.e., late supplier invoices).
Moreover, SOW capability led to a consolidating invoice processing environment complete with consistent timing of approved transactions. As important, it led to greater visibility into the contractors the organization was working with in part by providing a detailed reporting capability and a repository of key business contract and term data (e.g., spend and contract end dates).
From the implementation, the organization saw a number of benefits, including:
- Systematic controls around time entry
- Time/date stamps (for auditing and tracking)
- Elimination of billing audits (since compliance is driven by roles, rate cards and invoices, as long as a transaction is approved, then invoice and payment are tied directly into the same transactional workflow)
- Consistent expenditure recognition
- Detailed reporting at the transaction level
- Visibility into all activities from end-to-end
- Close integration of teams across the company in an end-to-end process
Key lessons learned included the importance of segmenting the implementation of SOW capability into different spend categories for enablement (e.g., management consulting, audit, out-tasking, IT consulting). "Keeping it simple" with limited SOW technology customization also contributed to more rapid success, as did soliciting the right program sponsorship and cross-organizational collaboration to help identify key program objectives. In addition, the organization also learned the importance of addressing reporting needs as early as possible in the roll-out phase while also clearly delineating overall roles and responsibilities.