Plus Content

Holding Managed Services Providers (MSPs) Accountable to a BPO-Based Standard (Part 3) [Plus+]

Consider that during the initial years of a services procurement outsourcing initiative involving legal spend, that pursuing e-billing programs that enable rate management and better invoice tracking along with formal rate management programs and related benchmarking, rate/value alignment and volume discounting is most likely to deliver optimal near-term results. Yet in most cases, in the out-years of a multiple-year legal spend management program, it makes sense to move to such areas as law firm selection, alternative fee arrangements, resource optimization and document discovery as the next areas to tackle.

Holding Managed Services Providers (MSPs) Accountable to a BPO-Based Standard (Part 2) [Plus+]

In the first post in this series, we explored the changing managed services provider (MSP) ecosystem and suggested what we believe will be a new battle between business process outsourcing (BPO) firms and traditional, often contingent-focused MSPs for the management and program oversight of broader services procurement initiatives for organizations looking for an outsourced services procurement option.

In our view, the more effective BPOs we track are making substantial investments in senior client-facing resources that become effective members of the company procurement team. These individuals often focus on opportunities to drive results that extend far beyond basic sourcing or compliance opportunities. In contrast, MSPs often bring limited subject matter expertise outside of contingent labor or basic SOW-type procurement initiatives.

Crowdsourcing: New Trends and Developments (Part 2) [Plus+]

crowdsourcing

In Part 1 of this two-part series, we provided an overview of crowdsourcing, defining what it is and how it is different from online freelancer marketplaces. We not only provided examples of different crowdsourcing platform providers (of which there are many) but also provided illustrations of real crowdsourcing in action.

Today in Part 2 of this series, we cover the emergence of practices and functions to effectively manage crowdsourcing across organizations and some of the segments where crowdsourcing has grown both on the demand (buyer organizations) and supply (platform providers) side. We also look at how the space is evolving and provide some highlights and suggestions for practitioners.

Crowdsourcing: New Trends and Developments (Part 1) [Plus+]

Crowded.com

Back in mid-2015, we published a brief on crowdsourcing, “Clarifying Crowdsourcing: Contingent and Services Procurement Examples, Definition and Analysis,” to provide procurement professionals with a clearer understanding of this valuable, innovative tool kit for business problem solving. We’re not sure of how many practitioners took note at the time or, if they did, what they might have done about it. In any case, after a three-year hiatus, we’re back to review recent trends and developments.

Crowdsourcing, properly speaking, is still neither highly visible nor well understood, except for by the managers that use it. Yet, in some ways, it is also becoming a mainstream sourcing practice. Its use within large enterprises continues to grow, and the range of real, applied solutions crowdsourcing provides is expanding. And while crowdsourcing becomes a new normal, what it is and how enterprises are using it also continue to change.

This two-part Spend Matters Plus series explores what forms crowdsourcing is taking in 2018 and how this approach could continue to evolve. Part 1 provides a definition of crowdsourcing (and what it is not), as well as examples of how companies are currently using crowdsourcing platforms. Part 2 looks at how procurement functions are managing the use of crowdsourcing within their organizations and potential new ways in which they could soon be using the technology.

Holding Managed Services Providers (MSPs) Accountable to a BPO-Based Standard (Part 1) [Plus+]

Observing the broader procurement BPO market in recent years, we’ve seen a number of trends emerge among the leaders in the industry. When it comes to the world of managed services providers (MSPs), however, few firms, if any, mirror these trends, at least not consistently. Part of the reason for this is that many MSPs have long-standing relationships with their clients, often owning to the history of their staffing firm-based parent company. (Many MSPs work in either a stated vendor-neutral or non-vendor neutral manner, even if they are part of a staffing firm’s based P&L, indirectly or directly.)

From a foundational perspective, MSPs provide a number of core services that we explore in the report "The Managed Services Connection— The Evolving Roles of MSPs in Services Procurement." In this analysis, we suggest that on the most fundamental level, all MSPs should provide transactional management in the area of contracted services (or outcomes), including the area of cost reduction.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List: April 2018 [Plus+]

Welcome to the third edition of “The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List,” a Spend Matters monthly feature available to Plus and PRO subscribers. In the depths of the evolving and expanding contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space, innovations and emerging practices may be brewing but escape observation. To shed some light, at the top of every month, we select, summarize and provide some brief commentary on noteworthy developments that have recently appeared on our radar. In March we saw a warming trend, with a steady stream of steamy new developments. These ranged from those in the established core of the CW/S space to those on the bleeding edge. In this edition of the Hot List, we’ll cover the whole spectrum.

Use Cases of E-Signatures and Digital Signatures in Procurement and the Supply Chain [Plus+]

digital signatures

E-signatures and digital signatures are a rapidly growing sub-segment of the procurement and broader enterprise technology market. The numbers are truly off the charts. According to industry research, for example, the segment experienced 48% growth in 2011, and an average of 53% annual growth in 2012 and 2013. But where do e-signatures and digital signatures fit into e-procurement, beyond simply replacing handwritten signatures on the contract paper? This Spend Matters Plus research brief provides examples and use cases where these solutions can play a critical role supporting end-to-end source-to-pay (S2P) and related procurement processes.

Procurement Business Drivers and Considerations For Digital and E-Signatures [Plus+]

Digital and electronic signatures can play a significant role in accelerating procurement and supplier management processes, reducing cycle times and eliminating latency across a range of activities. They can also help create value in other areas, from organizational and vendor compliance to saving money. This Spend Matters PRO series exploring e-signatures and digital signatures provides a foundation for procurement organizations to understand, evaluate and implement these solutions to enable a variety of use cases, including contract implementation and contract lifecycle management. In this research brief, we explore the business drivers for digital and electronic signature usage as well as selection considerations when evaluating potential solution providers.

E-Signatures and Digital Signatures in Procurement: Definitions and Considerations [Plus+]

digital signature

While the terms e-signature and digital signature are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. Every digital signature is electronic, but not every electronic signature is digital. This may sound a bit confusing, but it's not with proper definitions. This three-part research series provides a foundation for procurement and supply chain practitioners to understand the benefits that digital signatures can bring to contracting and contract management, as well as interactions with internal stakeholders, suppliers and partners. This first part provides definitions, a general background on the topic and the benefits and drawbacks of these tools.

All We Are “Saved” — Give Purchasing Consortia (Including GPOs) a Chance [Plus+]

Purchasing consortia and group purchasing organization (GPO) models have been accused of being fads in the past. But there are reasons they could more than go mainstream as a common procurement lever across industries, working outside of just healthcare environments, where they have thrived in the past. Spend Matters research suggests that there certainly are a number of underlying factors that make the consortia and GPO models more attractive than before (even if some suppliers, such as the airlines, will never play ball in working with these intermediaries). Indeed, several GPO and consortia providers not focused on one particular industry have a lot to offer to procurement organizations looking to better manage cost and quality for certain categories of spend.

In this Spend Matters Plus analysis, we will explore the reason behind the current and rising interest in these models and the benefits they can bring to procurement in such categories as IT spend (e.g., hardware, software, etc.), human resources (e.g., contingent staffing and MSP programs), office supplies, employee benefits (e.g., retirement/pension, pharmacy benefits, etc.), facilities and other professional and services categories (e.g., operations consulting, energy management, etc.), not to mention some areas of direct spend as well (e.g., metals). First up: exploring the different GPO benefits for both less mature and more mature procurement organizations.

The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List: March 2018 [Plus+]

This is the second edition of Spend Matters’ new monthly feature, “The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List,” available to Plus and PRO subscribers. In the depths of the evolving and expanding contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space, innovations and emerging practices may be brewing but escape observation. To shed some light, at the top of every month, we select, summarize and provide some brief commentary on noteworthy development that have recently appeared on our radar.

February was mostly cool and did not bode well for the hot list. But fortunately, things really heated up late in the month.

Why Purchase Price Variance (PPV) Should Be Banished From Procurement Measurements and KPIs [Plus+]

One of the biggest challenges to overall program impact and improvement in all but the most advanced procurement organizations are the raw elements that many procurement organizations measure themselves against: key performance indicators (KPIs). Of these, purchase price variance (PPV) is particularly obnoxious in all but certain cases. PPV measures the difference in price paid for multiple purchases for the same SKU, part or service. It is typically employed in standard costing environment in an ERP system for SKU-based items where actual PO prices are tracked compared to the existing standard cost.

This methodology is great for the financial accounting function. The PPV can be calculated easily by the system by accumulating the PPV until the new standard is calculated (and those variances posted to the appropriate general ledger account). A favorable PPV (i.e., price is less than the standard) is also known as a purchase price reduction (PPR). This all seems straightforward for the accounting department, but it’s not a great way to judge procurement performance, at least not on its own. Why?

There are numerous reasons why PPV can be such a misleading figure. In this two-part Spend Matters Plus series, we explain why PPV is a KPI that procurement organizations should stop measuring internal and individual performance against.