In Part 1 and Part 2 of this research series, we discussed some of the drivers in how procurement services are increasingly consumed in the market. In this next installment, we will evaluate the market itself and the spectrum of service types/sectors within it. Defining a market is not a one-dimensional activity. Markets are segmented along multiple variables, which we discussed in the previously mentioned research, but there are a few key dimensions worth exploring. We will not look at the traditional dimensions such as spend magnitude, market complexity, business impact, level of market fragmentation, etc. We assume that the practitioner has a fairly good understanding of major segments of management like consulting, outsourcing, contingent labor, etc.
The Complex Categories Category
In Part 1 of this series, we laid out the challenges that practitioners face in getting more value from a complex procurement services market. To address these problems, it’s important that practitioners:
- Evaluate the spectrum of procurement services holistically to see how the sectors and the players are evolving individually and also collectively. SaaS providers are increasingly baking industry/category content into their products while consulting and BPO providers are similarly productizing reusable knowledge into lighter footprint service offerings.
- Have a market map to help evaluate the provider types and emerging trends. Doing so can help you actively participate in shaping the provider market rather than just accepting the current ‘menu choices’ of traditional service offerings.
- Know themselves in terms of not just their current budgets, but also their current capabilities and what is truly important to them as internal service providers. Are you looking for results on-demand, or are you looking to build your own bench capabilities?
- Develop an internal operating model that makes it easier to consume these services and also get a better ROI from them so they deliver value over the long-term and not just the duration of a project. World class procurement organizations do not spend money needlessly on program du jour services that don’t “stick” and get baked into their internal processes.
With all the focus on Software as a Service (SaaS) in the procurement market, many forget the importance of procurement services as a, well, service. These services include not just consulting, but business process outsourcing (BPO), knowledge process outsourcing (KPO), supplier management, quality and auditing services, content/information services, network services, intelligence services, training/certification services, adjacent services (e.g., working capital, asset disposition, transportation, legal, group buying, M&A support). Some of these areas are procurement-specific, but many also are part of a broader services spectrum. Procurement practitioners are getting smarter and more sophisticated in how they buy procurement services; however, they do face numerous challenges that prevent them from unlocking more value from the market and making their lives easier. In this Spend Matters Plus brief, we outline 10 of those challenges.
Perhaps the most obvious internal driver of complexity comes from the range of product or service users, budget holders or other internal stakeholders who have an interest in the category, item or project being considered. Experienced category managers know that managing a single stakeholder can be challenging but inherently a whole lot easier than trying to get multiple stakeholders aligned with a particular category strategy or market approach.
Sourcing complexity can serve as a barrier to pursuing potential high-reward and high-risk procurement initiatives. But complexity does not have to stand in the way of savings, total cost or other improvements. Identifying how to pinpoint complexity is essential. An important place to start here involves fully exploring factors that drive sourcing complexity. In the paper
Before diving into what defines a complex sourcing process or initiative, it is instructive to consider what does not. That helps illustrate the issues and clears up some of the confusion that is often seen around sourcing exercises. While there are several critical factors that may make a sourcing process seem complex, few of them are enough to drive true sourcing complexity as Peter Smith defines it in his paper, What defines complex sourcing – and why does it matter?
In the white paper, What defines complex sourcing – and why does it matter?, my colleague Peter Smith makes a number of convincing arguments about why procurement professionals and consultants should take a hard look at complexity as an overall driver of sourcing and supply management strategy, opportunity and engagement. But to ultimately embrace complexity, we must first understand it.
Earlier this year, my colleague Peter Smith, who serves as managing director of Spend Matters UK/Europe, wrote an outstanding paper we somehow overlooked on this side of the Atlantic. The topic of his analysis: What Defines Complex Sourcing – and Why Does It Matter? Let's dive into the salient ideas.
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We have covered some of the individual sessions on Spend Matters UK/Europe, but for PRO we’ve pulled together the learnings from a number of the key presentations (and some personal experience) to come up with six best practice suggestions for CPOs or marketing services procurement leads to consider. We previously looked at three recommendations around category strategy and suppler management. Today we’ll take a look at three more that focus more on the procurement function and individuals in it, how they align with marketing colleagues, and the skills they need to succeed in this area.
Today we bring you a category case study. The CPO at a large Massachusetts-based discount merchandising retailer (that we will refer to as “J-Mart” in this article) joined the new firm with a mandate to modernize its procurement function in print and marketing amongst other areas.
In the first installment in this series, we talked a lot about the changing e-sourcing landscape based on observations from a deep dive sourcing analysis […]