Business Process Outsourcing Content

Services Procurement is Broken: Finding Fixes Beyond Contingent Workforce Management, E-procurement [PRO]

If you google the term “services procurement,” you’ll see an article from my colleague Andrew Karpie touching on the topic front and center. He talks about the need to transcend the traditional contingent labor-centric view of what is in fact a much larger scope dealing with the procurement of all services. Aggregate annual spend on complex services by U.S. organizations is on the order of $9 trillion to $10 trillion, while spend on temporary staffing is only on the order of $0.02 trillion. When looked at with a wider-angle lense, the scope of services spend is huge. But ...

This is where I’m going to carry the discussion forward. The problem that I’ll address is, to put it bluntly, the management of services spend is shockingly poor.

There are many reasons for this. The first is organizational.

A spend category like direct materials is fairly straightforward in terms of organizational reporting ultimately into the supply chain organization (and/or business unit). The same can be said for lab supplies managed alongside R&D or data center equipment managed alongside IT. But services are trickier, not only in their inherent complexity and variability, but also because of their organizational governance. For example, if I’m looking to bring in some DevOps contractors to supplant my IT outsourcing provider’s capabilities, do I use an IT category team, a contingent labor Center of Excellence or perhaps an IT Vendor Management Office to have the ITO vendor provision the resources?

Beyond the organizational governance issue, the bigger problem is the fragmented nature of managing (not just procuring) services and the underlying systems to manage them — even just in source-to-pay. Case in point: There is not a single source-to-pay solutions provider in the market that offers deep support for all enterprise spend on a platform with a single code base and a unified data model.

And this is 20 years after e-procurement systems started being developed. Let that sink in.

But before a few of the S2P suite vendors get their knickers in a twist over this statement, keep in mind that what I’m including with the term “deep support” is being able to track services work to the contingent worker level that temporary labor solutions (aka “VMS” solutions) and those solutions supporting independent contractors. These contingent labor procurement platforms for their part are only touching a portion of the spend, and the expansion of many of them into SOW-based spend isn’t necessarily something that firms want to use for all their contract-based spend given that modern S2P suites can do a reasonably good job of setting up SOWs against MSAs, modeling basic rate-based service catalogs, and then matching them to the downstream invoice-to-pay processes. The trick, however, is how to go beyond the basics and handle the real life requirements of complex services categories.

This transformation will require a new way to understand/frame services and a new class of architecture and platforms to meet these needs — while also making some practical moves with existing tools (e.g., using modern CLM platforms as a critical core to modeling the commercial details/attributes of these services). It will also require procurement to align more tightly with IT and to leverage an emerging ecosystem of platform providers and approaches that can help rise above the functional silos that manage services spend in disjointed ways.

Extracting maximum commercial value from services can only be done at an end-to-end process level, and procurement has an opportunity to help optimize the sourcing, consumption, settlement and ongoing management of these increasingly digital and externalized services (and their providers). By more easily extending the capabilities of digitally savvy suppliers into internal value chains with internal stakeholders, but also ultimately out to external customers, procurement can proactively be part of broader enterprise digital transformation activities.

In this SpendMatters PRO analysis, we’ll dive into the challenges of segmenting external business services (e.g., understanding the interplay between digital-dominant and labor-dominant services) and how to look beyond the traditional contingent labor approaches (hint: Segmenting the market based on the presence of a statement-of-work is clearly not sufficient).

Later in this series, we’ll dive deeper into a new commercial framework for services and then map the resulting business requirements to technology requirements and associated vendor/solution types that transcend the source-to-pay market (e.g., enterprise CLM, ITSM, low-code platforms, etc.).

Procurement Technology and Solutions M&A Outlook: 10 Predictions for 2019 (Part 4) [PRO]

Today, I’ll share a critical 10th prediction (arguably the most important of all) of our M&A predictions series. Please allow me to indulge my last prediction in a folksy, CliffsNotes way to get both the seasoned experts on sector deals — of which we can count on just a few fingers — and everyone else on the same page as to what’s really happening.

In the third installment, I shared three additional predictions exploring how the procurement technology landscape is shifting as we enter 2019. The most recent prognostications centered on the rising intersection of procurement technology with payment and financing as a consolidation driver, more sellers engaging in proactive processes and unorthodox groups of strategic buyers emerging from left field on some deals.

These predictions build on the second installment of our M&A predictions for 2019, during which I explored an expanding focus on services procurement (assets), the increasing interest in strategic procurement technologies (SPT) and the scarcity of e-procurement and procure-to-pay targets left in the market.

And in the first installment in the series, I analyzed the deals that have happened already in 2018, as well as our first three of 10 prognostications for next year. First, private equity firms will play an increased role in the sector. Second, valuations will be all over the map. And third, peripheral players will respond to the “Amazon effect."

Happy holidays everyone and happy deal hunting in 2019! Let’s get into the final prediction.

SirionLabs: What Makes It Great (Contract Lifecycle Management SolutionMap Analysis)

Just when you thought the contract lifecycle management (CLM) software market fit within a neatly defined 2x2 graph, along comes a vendor that breaks the mold, offering top functional capabilities while also redefining exactly what a CLM provider is capable of.

Who is this vendor, you ask?

SirionLabs.

Although it is fully capable of competing in the “traditional” CLM sector, SirionLabs is a powerful, specialized CLM solution that organizations have used primarily to manage and optimize the performance of large, complex, often multi-year services contracts. The solution combines core CLM components with added supplier management capabilities, like  performance management, relationship management and risk management. And it works for contracts of all shapes and sizes, delivering Value Leader (upper right quadrant) performances across every CLM SolutionMap buying persona.

As of Q3 2018, Spend Matters SolutionMap consists of functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 vendors within the procurement, finance and legal software markets. To date, Spend Matters’ analysts have evaluated 13 providers in the contract lifecycle management software segment, including SirionLabs. But where does SirionLabs stand out most, and why should this matter to procurement and legal organizations? Let’s dive into the CLM SolutionMap benchmark to find out.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

Infographic: Accomplishing Supply Chain Visibility Through MRO-as-a-Service

A few weeks ago, we published a four-part series focused on how maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) is a significant — yet often overlooked — business function in the supply chain. Authored by Michael Lamoureux, research analyst, and Pierre Mitchell, chief research officer, the series explores how this ignored category is abundant with possibilities for cost savings and overall supply chain improvements, especially when using a managed service provider model that works in the product supply chain in your approach.

Next-Generation Opportunities from Modern MRO Management Platforms: The Value of MRO as a Service (Part 3)

MRO as a service

The benefits of MRO go well beyond the inventory management, spend under management and efficiency savings discussed in our last post. While this is substantial for many organizations, it’s not an exhaustive list of the benefits that an organization can realize in treating the MRO supply chain strategically. By intelligently embedding an MRO-as-a-service provider into the procurement and supply chain operating model, you can build an agile supply organization that flexes and grows with the business.

Unpacking and Applying the Value Streams of this Model: MRO-as-a-Service (Part 2)

MRO as a Service

In part 1 of this series, we described the huge opportunity that procurement organizations and supply chain organizations can bring to their MRO supply chain if they work together to go after a larger prize than just better managing a tool crib, implementing a simple e-procurement system and connecting to a large distributor. We also described how managed service provider models that work in the product supply chain (and in other domains such as cloud computing, contingent labor management and so on) are also just as attractive in the MRO supply chain. In this installment, we’ll dive into some details about the potential value of such a managed service model, whether you do it yourself as a highly sophisticated organization or look to a third party if you are a bit further back in the maturity curve.

Sponsored Article

Are Managed Sourcing Services the Next Big Thing?

Spend Matters welcomes this sponsored post from Brian Miller, vice president of services at Intesource.

While technology will always play a critical role in procurement initiatives, it’s not the be-all, end-all. In some instances, technology can even be an obstacle. Think about the dynamics within major organizations today — if a procurement team wants to transform quickly, or needs to get a timely new sourcing project up and running — the time it takes to vet, purchase, deploy and adopt a major technology platform could ground the project before it even gets started. I’ve heard technology horror stories where initial results take months, and sometimes even years, to come through.

Procurement as a Service: The Time is at Hand

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Philip Ideson, founder of ProcureChange and host of the Art of Procurement podcast.

Today’s procurement outsourcing model — characterized by long-term, multiprocess and largely fixed-cost engagements — will soon become redundant. It will be a repeat of the way in which today’s procurement outsourcing specialists diminished the need of CPOs to parachute in teams of high-priced consultants to provide sourcing and category management services. “As a service” is coming to procurement.

There’s More to the MedAssets Deal for Healthcare Procurement Than You Think

locum tenens

Like a saint cut apart into various relics, spread across the land to bring hope to those praying for more cost efficient and effective healthcare, the assets of MedAssets are getting hacked into strategic pieces. As my colleague Tom Finn reports on our sister site, Healthcare Matters, Pamplona, a private equity firm, is buying part of the assets of MedAssets and planning to combine its “revenue cycle management business with its Precyse business, and to sell the MedAssets spend and clinical resource management business to VHA-UHC Alliance, a network largely composed of not-for-profit hospitals.”

Stages of a Global Sourcing Strategy

Spend Matters welcomes this guest article by Shruti Agrawal, director at Excella Worldwide.

Global product sourcing refers to a procurement strategy through which an enterprise works to identify the most cost-effective location for product manufacturing, even if that location may be in a foreign country. The general sourcing process can be divided into the following 5 stages, as we explain in detail.

GEP: Procurement Services, Software, and BPO Under One Roof [Plus+]

Earlier this spring, Pierre Mitchell and I had the chance to sit down with GEP at their global headquarters in New Jersey. During the discussion, we learned quite a bit about this unique firm’s offerings, market positioning, and strategic direction. Because GEP is attempting to go where few have successfully gone before – combining significant proprietary software assets in an end-to-end procurement suite with both BPO and consulting services – it is worth stepping back to understand a bit about the provider’s offerings, history, and current go-to-market approach. Later we’ll offer our analysis about how GEP stacks up in the broader market compared to other services and software providers.