Infosys: On and Offshore, Long-Time Procurement BPO Contender Ups the Spend Management Game (Part 3)

When it comes to procurement BPO, Infosys is a provider that's taken a different path than most -- especially the legacy SI and Indian-centric vendors -- by opting to deliver a heavy technology focus that combines third party and proprietary technology with traditional BPO services, ranging from tactical buying to strategic sourcing. In the first two posts in this series (Part 1 and Part 2), you can go back and learn a bit more about Infosys' general enablement and delivery approach, alongside their procurement BPO technology capabilities and models. Today, we'll look at areas outside of technology where the firm focuses in the supply management arena. In addition to the transaction-based support services and capabilities that we examined earlier, Infosys also offers a range of underlying services that fall into what it describes as "judgment based" and strategic decision support.

Infosys' judgment-based services in the procurement BPO arena include "sourcing support, contract management, supplier performance management" and related areas (e.g., supplier collaboration). Infosys can either deliver solutions on a client's technology platform or their own in each of these areas (or can focus exclusively on a process-driven result). In the strategic decision support area, they offer capabilities in spend analysis, supply risk management, category knowledge/support and demand management.

The three macro components of the six-step strategic sourcing and supplier management process (spend analysis, strategic sourcing, contract management, collaborative supply management, indirect procurement and performance reporting) that Infosys follows -- and that that their transactional, judgment-based and strategic decision support capabilities fall under -- are what they describe as "strategic procurement, operational procurement and performance management." In other words, when looked at in PowerPoint, Infosys' offering sounds quite similar, at least on a high level, to the dozens of other procurement BPO solutions and often related strategic sourcing services offerings in the market. However, Infosys' underlying technology components (comprised of Iasta, Ariba, Ketera, Click Commerce, SAP and BIQ, among others) and tactical support services beyond transactional buying (e.g., vendor master maintenance, bird dogging supplier credentials and related evaluations such as insurances, certifications, audits, etc.) combine for a BPO offering that is broader in scope and capability than most, not to mention depth in certain enabling areas.

At Caterpillar, for example, Infosys has been deployed to support a range of direct and indirect purchasing support areas. Over 100 FTEs (including 15 on-site in the US) support CAT's US and European procurement operations. On the direct side, Infosys has enabled, in their words, "RFQ management, PO management, site and segment purchasing support, grief resolution and non-core supplier management." And on the indirect side, Infosys has tackled "spot buys, PO and contract management, supplier help desk services, invoice reconciliation and purchasing transactional support."

Stay tuned for the final post in this series, where we'll add more color to the Infosys customer experience and describe how Infosys stacks up to other providers in the market (and the situations where their capabilities are likely to be a good fit).

Jason Busch

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