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Procurement Services

The Venerable VMS: A Situation and SWOT Analysis of the VMS Solution Category [PRO]

In this PRO brief, we take an in-depth look at the presumably well-understood vendor management solution (VMS) solution category: where it and the providers falling within it are today and what the future may hold. We also provide practical insights and suggestions for enterprise buyers, as well as recommendations for further reading.

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.

How to Attack Marketing Spend (Part 2) [Plus +]

The next topic we must address in considering the basics of attacking marketing spend is potentially the most sacred of all: agency selection. In considering how best to engage in this area, it is important to consider the costs of both sides going through the process. For agencies, the costs to manage and respond to an RFP can be quite high. Some agencies estimate their total cost at around $200,000 per RFP — on average!

Granted, the bulk of this expense comes in the form of soft costs. But the undertaking is considerable, and carefully vetted among agencies. This point is important to emphasize: agencies are quite picky about the clients and projects they bid on. We hope the following example, based on how one West Coast-based agency approaches RFPs, provides insight into the best means of engaging the right set of firms.

The Emerging World of Digitally Intermediated Work: Old vs. New — or Something Else? (Part 2) [PRO]

The digital transformation in contingent labor and outcomes-based services within procurement today is happening now. In contrast to indirect procurement and direct procurement, where traditional intermediaries and sourcing models have remained largely untouched by limited new disruptive entrants, the services procurement sector is in the early stages of transformation due to fundamental changes in labor-driven connectivity to demand.

Although adoption of these solutions has varied to date, incumbent staffing, consultancy and other labor intermediaries are indeed coopting and engaging these new models — an important indicator of their trajectory. Moreover, to deny this trend is to turn your back on dozens of solutions that connect specialized labor markets with end users in the business, not to mention the hundreds of millions in funding that these new, innovative intermediaries have received in recent years.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO research brief explores the evolution of digitally intermediated work. In the first installment, we explored digitization in the context of new staffing and labor models today, explaining how these new models can complement and work alongside traditional incumbent approaches. We also explored how organizations can incorporate labor-based digitization into familiar contingent and services procurement models and practices. In Part 2, we turn our attention to summarizing the key trends that procurement, HR and IT practitioners need to be aware of, and we provide key recommendations to put digital services transformation to work for you — rather than against you.

The Emerging World of Digitally Intermediated Work: Old vs. New — or Something Else? (Part 1) [PRO]

digital business transformation

Fact: New, digitally enabled models and marketplaces for sourcing labor, talent, skills, expertise and services have started to emerge in recent years. Yet “talent brokers” have always existed in the labor market — work arrangements have long been intermediated by staffing firms and service providers. Viewed from this lens, what is happening now is not so much disintermediation of those intermediaries but rather the emergence and evolution of new intermediation models that, at their core, take advantage of digital technologies. While these models are appearing in the market as new solutions offered by new companies (e.g., Upwork, Catalant, Hired, WorkMarket), gradually they are also being incorporated and adopted by incumbent staffing and service provider intermediaries (e.g., Randstad, GRI, MBO Partners, PwC, Deloitte).

This two-part Spend Matters PRO research brief explores the evolution of digitally intermediated work. In the first installment, we take inventory of the current staffing and labor models today and how digitization alters the structure and properties of work compared with staffing models. We also explore the comparative sourcing and provisioning of digital talent, as well as how organizations can structure and consume these new services — compared with traditional approaches. Finally, we consider the current state of digitally enabled work arrangements and intermediaries. In Part 2 of this series, we summarize and structure key takeaways from all of the current trends and provide recommendations for practitioners.

IT Talent and Services Sourcing: Innovation in a Challenging Environment (Part 2) [Plus +]

IT

In this two-part series, we examine the state of technology-based sourcing, specifically in the IT workforce/services category. In Part 1, we looked into environmental factors that are driving innovation and other elements that are motivating openness to new approaches. In Part 2, we investigate different kinds of innovative sourcing solutions within the IT category and explore the emergence of an alternative supply chain or work/services sourcing ecosystem. We also provide recommendations for organizations to nurture and build alternative sourcing models and programs alongside existing IT services procurement channels. Providers reviewed in this brief include Hired, Toptal, Upwork and Kaggle.

IT Talent and Services Sourcing: Innovation in a Challenging Environment (Part 1) [Plus +]

Technology-based innovation in workforce and services sourcing has been a major focus here at Spend Matters over the past years. And though we have tracked the trend of increasing work platform specialization (platforms serving up anything from data scientists to marketing content deliverables to food service workers), we have not really zeroed in on sourcing innovation in any specific workforce or services category.

In this two-part Spend Matters Plus brief, we take a look at what’s happening in the IT workforce/services category. In part 1, we look into environmental factors that are driving innovation and other elements motivating openness to new approaches. In part 2, we examine some examples of different kinds of innovative sourcing solutions in the category.

How Innovative is Your VMS Provider? [Plus +]

disruption

What does it mean when a technology provider is innovative — or not? Innovation has been defined as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs or existing market needs (Maranville, 1992). By this definition, is your vendor management system (VMS) provider innovative — or not? In this Spend Matters Plus brief:

  • We discuss why identifying and calibrating VMS innovation is especially important today.
  • We pose the obvious, practical question: How can you judge if a VMS solution is innovating?
  • We provide an up-to-date framework to help you make that assessment (based on specific innovation criteria specific to services procurement).
  • We suggest how to use this framework in the context of vendor evaluation and vendor management (performance/innovation management).

Legal Sourcing and Billing: Category Sourcing, Maturity Models and Services Procurement Linkages (Part 2) [Plus +]

forced labor

Legal spend is a bit different than other categories in part because it cuts across all aspects of the business and the lines between “make” and “buy” can be drawn differently based on customer, need and timing. The fundamental challenge in this regard is that legal spending must be aligned with sales (customers), procurement (vendors), finance and operations (products) to deliver the right level of value. If it’s seen as a siloed compliance function, legal is doomed to languish as a subperforming cost center. In considering legal sourcing maturity, it’s essential to keep this in mind.

Legal Sourcing and Billing: Category Sourcing, Maturity Models and Services Procurement Linkages (Part 1) [Plus +]

UpCounsel

Around 2005, while working for Procuri, one of the authors of this article was involved in a large legal services e-sourcing project (with reverse auction at the end) for a Fortune 10 firm that spanned law firms across the U.S. At that time, we included a substantial amount of spend segmentation into the event. From my experience and research, we were one of the first to engage in a procurement legal sourcing effort of this magnitude.