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Spend Matters welcomes this sponsored article from Chuck Baren, Vice President of Professional Services, Americas, at SAP Fieldglass.
The days are gone when an external workforce management and services procurement program’s success was measured simply by the previous year’s cost reductions. The new table stakes are a tightly integrated procurement environment in which spend across categories and platforms can be used in real time to identify and rapidly adjust to market trends — all within the cloud.
A well-run program uses a leading vendor management system (VMS) platform to access data and analytics that help extract ever-increasing value out of their services providers and flexible workforce. This allows an organization to measure success against their program goals and identify opportunities to refine or change those goals to meet the evolving demands of the business.
So, what does this look like in a practical sense? Here are three must-do steps for your services procurement program to get the results you need and the business impact you want.
1. Be Specific
First, create clear goals for your external workforce and services procurement program. Like personal development goals, they should be SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. You’ll need to show real value to the business to obtain buy-in, so be aggressive but realistic. Too often we see goals such as “reduce cost” or “enforce compliance” that aren’t defined enough to declare an undisputed win for the program. Having definitive, measurable goals will earn the credibility often required for your program to take the next big step forward.
2. Be prepared
Next, evaluate the resources needed, both internally and externally, to achieve those goals. If you’re not able to resource the project properly, then expectations should be adjusted accordingly. The most common resource constraints we find are with IT. For example, VMS technology is often tightly integrated with other platforms such as HRIS, ERP and AP. These integrations present real value but are often time consuming to implement. If you haven’t properly scoped your integration requirements, you can run into a situation where your IT team doesn’t have the bandwidth to tackle the project in time with your desired go-live date. It’s essential you plan ahead and properly staff before setting too many specific expectations.
3. Be a Partner
Last, form a true partnership with your VMS provider. Top providers have many years of experience solving business problems and can bring best practices and lessons learned to your organization. On the integration front, seasoned providers have already established natural integrations to other common business solutions that you can incorporate to extract even more value from your program. So be clear on your business needs, but work with your provider to learn how best to achieve them. A true partnership will help ensure your success.
With these three must-do steps in place, you’re in a position to set your program up to be best-in-class, moving beyond simple cost savings to tackle complex initiatives like rationalizing your supplier base, improving worker quality, achieving compliance and more.