The Professional Services Category

The Services Procurement Machine is Broken — Here’s Why You Should Trade it in for a New Approach

Channel the original Apple Macintosh ad. Remember the people staring into the screen before our hero destroyed it? They weren’t just nameless faces in some Orwellian dystopia. They were procurement team members tasked with buying services. Category managers led astray by a misguided authoritarian philosophy. Call them part of the services procurement machine, if you will.

Cutting BigLaw Down to Size: New Alternatives for Legal Services Procurement (Part 3)

The dramatically changing legal services industry discussed in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series ultimately provides both challenges and exciting opportunities within legal services procurement. Alternative legal services providers (ALSPs), a main focus of this series, are just one component of these changes and still an emerging one in legal services procurement strategies and practice priorities. Growth in the corporate use of ALSPs, however, is expected.

Catalant: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

Catalant

This PRO Vendor Snapshot focuses on Catalant, an online (cloud-based) work intermediary and evolving enterprise platform that allows organizations to access and engage highly skilled, well-credentialed independent business consultants and small, boutique consulting businesses. These resources can be sourced from Catalant’s own “digital marketplace” of independent talent and small consulting providers, which has been growing both in terms of number of providers and number of enterprise customers since 2013.

Since that time, Catalant has been extending its enterprise platform to, at this stage of platform development, allow organizations to establish private networks of their own self-sourced consulting resources (including alumni and retirees). It also enables organizations to create and manage teams of internal (employee) workers and blended internal-external (consultant) workers over a full project lifecycle, as well as archive, share and access project content and artifacts.

Part 1 of our analysis provided a company and solution overview. In Part 1, we also identified basic fit criteria for firms considering Catalant. In Part 2 of this series, we present our view and analysis of Catalant’s product strengths and weaknesses to help procurement organizations decide if they should shortlist the solution provider. We also offer a high-level evaluation of the user interface. Part 3, the final part of this series, will provide a business SWOT analysis, user selection guide, an overview of competitors and additional evaluation and selection considerations.

Cutting BigLaw Down to Size: New Alternatives for Legal Services Procurement (Part 2)

forced labor

While it has been said that the wheels of justice turn slowly but exceedingly fine, the process may be accelerating in the procurement of legal services. In Part 1 of this series, we discussed how monolithic, traditional BigLaw firms are being challenged to radically adapt by disruptive economic forces, the ascendance of legal procurement in enterprises and, last but not least, by the growth in a broad range of alternative legal services providers. But more important, as we noted in Part 1, BigLaw’s nightmare is also a shared opportunity for legal services procurement and for emerging alternative legal services providers. According to some industry observers, we are witnessing an ongoing paradigm shift from BigLaw to what is being dubbed NewLaw. In Part 2 of this series, we provide an introduction to the increasingly important, complex and rapidly evolving NewLaw world of non-traditional/alternative legal services providers (ALSPs).

Cutting BigLaw Down to Size: New Alternatives for Legal Services Procurement (Part 1)

A number of unwelcome trends over the past decade have put large law firms on the chopping block. Among these has been the increasing involvement of procurement in managing legal services, along with the emergence of a range attractive alternatives to traditional full-service firms. While this has been a nightmare for the firms that constitute “BigLaw,” it is a shared opportunity for legal services procurement and for emerging alternative legal services providers. In Part 1 of this two-part series, we focus on BigLaw’s challenges, changing corporate buying behaviors and the rise of procurement in legal services sourcing and spend management.

Why Do Law Firms Exclude Procurement Professionals From the Budgeting Process?

forced labor

Procurement professionals are getting left out of the budgeting process at law firms in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., according to HBR Consulting’s third annual Law Firm Procurement Survey. Only 12% of the surveyed procurement professionals report that they are heavily involved in the budgeting process, whereas 65% say they have minimal involvement. Although responses were similar across geographical regions, they tended to differ according to firm size.

Procurement Expertise Platform Palambridge to Use Direct Sourcing Exchange MBO Connect

Palambridge, which describes itself as a virtual platform of procurement experts and intelligence, has announced that it will be using MBO Partners’ MBO Connect solution. MBO, a leading U.S. provider of compliance and engagement services for independent professionals and enterprises, launched the MBO Connect independent professional engagement platform in October 2015, and has since expanded MBO Connect as a direct sourcing exchange that enables the effective management and coordination of preferred talent networks. Palambridge, launched earlier this year, is now pioneering the procurement expertise and information service platform market.

‘Ask Spend Matters’ Lightning Round: Marketing Spend, Public Procurement and Finding a Contractor

As we work behind the scenes to turn Ask Spend Matters into a more regular feature, we thought we’d chip away at a few of the reader questions we’ve been sitting on. As managing editor Taras Berezowsky promised last month those who have submitted a question but not heard back, we haven’t forgotten about you! Today’s lightning round edition, if you will, tackles three specific questions on the value versus price debate in marketing spend, where federal agencies find their suppliers and how to find a young person to prepare those boring databases.

How to Attack Marketing Spend (Part 5) [Plus+]

One of the most important elements of tackling marketing spend is executive buy-in, which requires aligning the vision of the CMO, CPO and CFO. In fact, don't do anything until you force this to happen. Above all, ensure that your CPO is well briefed, and don’t let this person destroy your credibility by going into meetings with the CMO with the usual procurement speak. Take the time to get your CPO genuinely interested in the topic as a means of furthering his own interests and even career. For example, in a CPG or retail company, all executives can further their interests by knowing more about marketing. In general, some might call this attaining “stakeholder buy-in,” since there may be stakeholders who are critical decision makers but are not C-level. You get the idea.

How to Attack Marketing Spend (Part 4) [Plus+]

marketing

Today we continue our exploration of best practices and strategies for attacking marketing spend with the importance of training; a return to the potential benefits of decoupling creative from production; and the necessity of cultural sensitivity to bridge the gap between marketing and procurement teams. Missed the previous installments of this series? Check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 before reading on!

How to Attack Marketing Spend (Part 3) [Plus+]

Torchlite

Our first takeaway: focus on media value. Media is often the largest spend in the marketing budget, and the real challenge is to not look at how to reduce the price point of media buys, but how to develop methodologies to measure the value of media specific to the strategic requirements of the brand and business. As we’ll soon explore in more detail, technology and analytics beyond generic spend analysis is key to understanding media value.

Repairing the Relationship Between Procurement and Marketing (ICYMI)

For the past two weeks, Spend Matters has been taking a closer look at the marketing category. As most of the supply management world knows, the relationship between procurement and the marketing function can hardly be described as rosy. While we’d like to say there’s hope on the horizon, the obstacles to advancing procurement’s strategic value are still, well, standing in the way.