Procurement of Professional Services – a view of value drivers (part 1)

We introduced this series last week by highlighting some of the issues around using pure “price leverage” when buying consulting (or indeed other professional services).  We had some excellent comments and quite a debate ensued – I’d recommend you go back and take a look at that if you haven’t already.

And we had what is certainly the most erudite debate covering output-based specifications, recruitment of advisers and Sir Alex Ferguson ever published ! Thanks RJ, Market Dojo, "life" and Dan for that.

We also hope to feature Paul Vincent's new venture when he's ready to tell us more - he whetted our appetite with his comment last time:

I am delighted to publicly announce that I shall shortly be launching a new, exciting and ‘very different’ (trust me it will be very different) networking forum for consulting clients/procurement professionals and consulting firms. The initiative will put the principle of ‘value’ rather than ‘price’ at the epicentre and we will be creating an environment where consulting clients/procurement professionals and consulting firms can have a much more grown up dialogue about how they practically interact with each other and collectively deliver best value for money within their organisations.

Anyway, it was good to see so much interest in the topic, even if it makes me somewhat nervous about proposing “best practice” here, so I look forward to being corrected or criticised after this week’s pieces...

Over the next three days we’ll look at what we might define as three levels in terms of driving vlaue from professional services procurement and expenditure. I'm thinking mainly "consulting" of various sorts through most of what I write, although much is applicable to other areas. I'm not going to touch on the "vendor neutral " managed service idea, only because it deserves more coverage when I've got more knowledge of what is going on in that field. As James Crawley commented:

This year has seen the first two contracts be awarded by the UK Public Sector to manage “consultancy spend” through a neutral vendor/managed service approach and the Local Authorities who have adopted the model have reaped the benefits of a new approach so far.

I think James may be from the vendor side, so I look forward to checking out the "reaping the benefits" bit myself..  It certainly is an interesting approach though.

The fact that we've organised the thinking here into 3 levels doesn’t mean you can’t do level 3 before you’ve done level 1, but there probably is a logical progression for most organisations. So we’ll start tomorrow with some of the tools and techniques you can use in pretty much every professional services contract.

See you then...

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