GEP – something different in the procurement solutions provider space

When Fiona Czerniawska and I wrote our book – “Buying Professional Services” – some 4 years ago, we interviewed various CPOs and people on the provider side. Here’s one quote we got from a CPO.

“"I see the major consulting firms as being where IT providers were 10 years ago; too many still offer us a range of services that may be very good in each of their silos but don't join up.  I may want some strategic consulting, tied into some operational delivery on more of an outsource basis, with occasional ‘interim’ type support.  I want to speak to a single partner about that.  Most consulting firms have some very strong individual offerings; but there is no joined up thinking and I cannot have that debate.  That is even more important as ‘consulting’ firms blur the boundaries and move into outsourcing and other delivery areas”.

Has anything changed since then? Are consulting firms offering more of a joined-up solution? Well, one that is certainly trying to do so is GEP who you may remember in a previous incarnation as Global eProcure. I met Mark Masterson and Matthew Bardell from the firm recently for an introductory chat, and to understand why they are different – perhaps even unique – in the world of procurement solution providers. And we're straight into their main differentiator.

 “We provide procurement consultancy support, ranging from high end strategy type work to the nuts and bolts of analysis, research and category management. But then on the software side, we also have our own procurement software suite - and that is all developed in-house rather than re-badged from partners".

The consulting team includes consultants on the ground in Europe and offshored capability in Shanghai, Prague and Mumbai handling research and market intelligence type work. The firm is pretty big in the USA but not huge in Europe yet, so how can you possibly offer the full range of consulting services, I wondered?

“We will use teams that include our own people and associates as appropriate”, explained Masterson.  So whilst on the software side, it is basically their own in-house product, from a consulting /interim point of view, it’s possible that GEP is acting more as an “integrator” than a pure solo provider. (Nothing wrong with that model, by the way).

Back to the software - GEP has over 100 developers, and that strong focus on software is reflected by strong showings in various analyst reports. They've made a big investment in their cloud based, end to end product suite which includes P2P, sourcing, and spend analysis capability.

" We started working here mainly with US clients in their European operations, but now we're winning business in our own right, particularly where clients want a blend of services and software. It's often a "eureka” moment, where they can see that GEP are offering just what they wanted and perhaps thought wasn’t available in the market".

It’s certainly an interesting model, and Jason Busch at Spend Matters US has recently written a series of articles about GEP. So if you want deeper insight, here is the last of the series with links to the other articles.  And I'm sure we'll feature the firm further in the coming months.

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