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Procurement Services

Reinvigorate Your Services Procurement and Contingent Workforce Program: A 10-Step How-To Guide [PRO]

- July 30, 2014 4:05 PM

To say that services procurement is becoming a top procurement initiative would be an understatement in most organizations. In fact for some companies, services procurement is procurement if you consider either the absolute dollars spent on it or the strategic value to the business. Some companies (e.g., Accenture) have even helped refine their core business model in certain markets based on their ability to look at the management of non-permanent labor from a buy/sell, almost trading-company-like perspective.

Here at Spend Matters, we often get mired in the weeds of services procurement – how does one VMS differentiate from another, what do specialized category solutions look like, what is inherently incorrect about the way typical MSP ecosystems look at the broader opportunity, and so forth. But in this Spend Matters PRO research brief, Jason Busch, founder and managing director of Spend Matters, takes things up at least one level, introducing 10 overall strategies that companies can take to reinvigorate their services procurement and contingent workforce programs. Today, we consider the first five strategies.

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9 Tips for VMS Selection in a Post-SAP/Fieldglass World [Plus +]

- June 20, 2014 2:00 PM

In the past few weeks, the Spend Matters analyst team has had the chance to meet or talk with management and/or customers from all of the major vendor management system (VMS) providers. In nearly all of the discussions, questions on the future of SAP/Fieldglass have come up and how the combination of the two providers may begin to impact selection decisions. At Fieldglass, it’s business as usual based on what we’ve learned. That’s a good thing for customers today. But no doubt, marketing, pricing and roadmap decisions will eventually factor into what current and future Fieldglass customers will expect. This Spend Matters Plus Research brief offers a “Quick Recommendations Selection Checklist” for customers either considering a VMS tool for the first time, or contemplating a switch to Fieldglass and SAP.

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CRM for Procurement: Lessons from the Sell-Side [PRO]

- May 29, 2014 10:47 AM

This topic has been brewing for a while. Back in 2006, I presented a simple version of this topic at an Ariba Live event. It was well received (and was how I got introduced to a long-time client who is now a CPO at “Top 25 Supply Chain” CPG firm) and is still relevant today. Procurement can be a full contact sport, but in the world of the Global Business Services (GBS) model for enterprise service delivery, it is also a services business. As such, procurement organizations need to adapt best practices from the CRM world to manage their diverse stakeholders. In this first part of a multi-part series, I will explore over a dozen CRM segments and begin to lay out how companies are applying CRM principles and practices to the “business of procurement.” Note, CRM for “supply” and suppliers is not the buy-side of “SRM” or supplier management – it’s a much bigger, hairier, and more encompassing beast. It’s also not just about tools and technology.

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ZeroChaos: Threatening the MSP Status Quo (Part 1) [PRO]

- May 14, 2014 2:22 AM

We’re in the process of starting our research and due diligence efforts looking at ZeroChaos, a provider that’s well known yet probably a bit misunderstood by many, given its outsider approach and status in the managed services provider (MSP) and vendor management system (VMS) sector. While we’ll report back on ZeroChaos in more detail in the coming months, we could not wait to share some more details about ZeroChaos’ views and approaches to services procurement – nearly all of which are owed to its roots as an outsider relative to other MSPs that came out of the supply side of the staffing industry. By the numbers, ZeroChaos represents a material portion of today’s overall MSP market with over 100,000 workers managed and 8,000 suppliers in its current network – serving over 300 customers in total. ZeroChaos has a global footprint today, with over 35 percent of its business coming from outside North America – nearly all if it from the EMEA area (Asia, inclusive of India, is a growing market as well). The big transition point for ZeroChaos came in 2010, when it went from being held by its founder to receiving an equity investment by outside PE firm Snow Phipps. In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, Jason Busch, Managing Director of Spend Matters, looks at what ZeroChaos brings to the MSP and VMS sector.

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Professional Services in Strategic Sourcing, Solution Selection and Deployment (Part 2) [Plus +]

- May 6, 2014 2:24 AM

Where do professional services add value in the sourcing process? This is a good question – and probably one that you are more or less forced to address as you build an end-to-end business case prior to acquiring a strategic sourcing solution. There are many areas where services can add considerable value to any solution – before and during the implementation, through early stages where core leadership is required, and in broader and deeper deployments both domestically and globally. In Part 1 of this two-part series on Spend Matters Plus, analyst Thomas Kase covered what you should know and do before and during the implementation. Today's Part 2 covers post-implementation and provides main takeaways.

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Professional Services in Strategic Sourcing, Solution Selection, and Deployment (Part 1) [Plus +]

- May 5, 2014 2:47 AM

Where do professional services add value in the sourcing process? This is a good question – and probably one that you are more or less forced to address as you build an end-to-end business case prior to acquiring a strategic sourcing solution. There are many areas where services can add considerable value to any solution – before and during the implementation, through early stages where core leadership is required, and in broader and deeper deployments both domestically and globally. Services are critical to sourcing success – either you handle them yourself or you get a provider to help. In this Part 1 of a two-part Spend Matters Plus series, analyst Thomas Kase shares best practices for before and during an implementation. Part 2 will cover post-implementation and main takeaways.

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Write Better RFPs – How to Get What You Want (and Need) From Suppliers [PRO]

- January 10, 2014 12:11 PM

The typical business challenge when you go to market with an RFP centers on getting ideas for what is possible, and identifying suppliers that either already have these ideas or are willing to work with you toward that end. Targeted activities are often services or complex products where quality, service, or the engineered final product will be different from each vendor responding. We've put together some fresh ideas to an old challenge: conveying your needs in ways that a supplier can relate to and that encourages them to put their best foot forward, with a proposal that goes beyond your wants, and addresses your needs as well.

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ADKAR: Procurement Change Management in 5 Letters [PRO]

- December 9, 2013 3:33 PM

Change management is a seemingly "soft" topic that can have a highly adverse impact on hard ROI. If you need a practical framework for change management, Pierre Mitchell highly recommends ADKAR as a good default approach. In this post, he evaluates ADKAR in a procurement context and show it can be applied in a few different scenarios. The acronym stands for awareness of the need to change; desire to participate and support the change; knowledge of how to change (and what the change looks like); ability to implement the change on a day-to-day basis; and reinforcement to keep the change in place. Read on to see how ADKAR can be applied in a few example procurement scenarios.

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Lockheed Martin Acquires Amor Group, Gets a Foothold in eProcurement Services [Plus +]

- December 9, 2013 7:26 AM

Is it pointless for government – or indeed private sector businesses - to try and support smaller suppliers (SMEs)? We’ve been writing on Spend Matters UK/Europe about supplier diversity recently, and in a generally positive manner, so it may seem a counter-intuitive question to ask. But one major issue with offering that support was highlighted at the UK government’s Public Accounts Committee the other week. The PAC, as it is known, works to a format whereby the committee of politicians takes a report written by the National Audit Office and quizzes officials, suppliers, or others about the report’s content and related matters. This session was looking at the top outsourced service providers to government – firms such as Atos, Serco, and Capita.

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Using DMAIC 2.0 to Blow Up the N-step Procurement Process [PRO]

- December 5, 2013 5:21 PM

An n-step chevron process is a siloed procurement-centered sourcing methodology geared towards supplier rationalization. It’s a fine start for procurement hitting cost savings goals, but it’s not a great way to align to the broader organization as procurement evolves. So, we’re proposing DMAIC as an emerging, superior approach, but it’s far beyond the DMAIC that you usually think of. The n-step sourcing process has had a good run, but let’s not try to make it do unholy things. Read on to see how other companies have used DMAIC.

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Don’t Discount the “Wow” Or Umami Factor in Procurement Solutions – A Chef’s Checklist [PRO]

- November 27, 2013 1:38 PM

In the world of procurement technology (and technology in general for that matter – think the original iPhone and IOs) there are certain solutions that have brought umami qualities and truly helped them stand out from the crowd. Like in cooking, it's a "wow" factor that separates out certain approaches and capabilities from the pack without ever being directly comparable in a feature/function manner to others. We could name names, but it's better to know in the buying process whether the procurement technology has umami. So here's a checklist of questions to ask yourself. And we can't hesitate to also toss in a list of providers we think have the umami qualities -- as well as a couple of solutions that do not (hint: does "15 clicks to buy" ring a bell?) Spend Matters PRO subscribers can click through to read the full text.

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Risk Management – Standing Still, Looking Backwards Trying to Look Forward (and Vendors You Should Get to Know) [PRO]

- November 26, 2013 11:02 AM

Consider the phrase “risk management” switching to “compliance management” – a change that would be far more productive for everyone. As part of your supplier onboarding (and ongoing performance management) processes, if you pull a report from a credit agency, look at those numbers, and then check off your list, have you really “managed” any risk? Risk management must change. It is tempting to gaze into the rear view mirror, the warm and fuzzy certainty of audited financials, or at least a cuddly third-party data provider to snuggle with and to point the finger at in case something goes wrong. Just don’t think you’re “managing” any risk. Here are some more robust approaches, along with our vendor recommendations.

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