Success is ‘the provider’s responsibility,’ Scanmarket says in webinar on implementation, ROI and services


Talk of digital transformation and which procurement technology to acquire take up a bulk of the conversation about how businesses should grow, but leaders in procurement software say that businesses should not ignore the implementation and consulting services that should be deployed along with the latest solutions.

In a recent webinar about getting a solid return on your technology investment, Spend Matters Founder Jason Busch talked with Scanmarket about how its team of experts helps customers succeed in using the new tool, deploying it with change management, setting the KPIs to match the buyer’s goals and assessing the success in the months after implementation.

Busch kicked off the webinar by discussing how a partner or consultant can get the most out of technology and the company using it.

“It’s really critical when we think about the source-to-pay process that we do not just jump to technology. I think that's the norm today. Technology is very much about enabling processes and extending them. It can also make them better, right?” Busch said in the “Beyond Implementation” webinar.

“But if we think about how services tie into all of this, they become a central element of any deployment. … The amount of knowledge that the right partner or partners can transfer to you to get the most from your deployment, whether it's sourcing or related areas, is very significant indeed.”

Spend Matters ensures that it knows about technology vendors’ services offering by asking all providers the same services questions in its RFI for SolutionMap, which scores capabilities and compares vendors to show where their solutions rank in the market.

He likens those services to a turbocharger on a car that adds power and improves efficiency on a long-term basis, not just at the start. In the same way that a turbocharger is a force multiplier, companies should see services from a partner or a consultant as a vital part of the daily effort to drive innovation, create value, and continue to learn and grow, Busch said.

“We also see the role of services in terms of expertise, right? We don't know everything about every possible category. We don't know everything about every possible process. And services can really enable that,” Busch said.

“Partners and services firms can really teach us how we can get more beyond just running more events using sourcing and related technologies.

“This could be tied to supplier performance management and getting more on the backend from suppliers. It could be tied to ideation around working with suppliers for joint cost takeout. This could be from changes to specifications. It could be from other means. But the notion of true sustainability from services is key.”

Part of driving success on a continuing basis is to have a partner that can help a business set new KPI metrics. Any new technology that’s purchased should expand capabilities, and that requires adding KPIs to match the new features, Busch said.

“So we ourselves within a procurement organization are not always going to know what are the right KPIs to manage every aspect of our sourcing and category management processes and related processes based on internal information,” he said. “So many organizations suffer from ‘group think’ here and have the spreadsheets by which they've managed different KPIs in the past. That's not necessarily the right way to do it, though. So the right partners can really add to the proper mix of KPIs so that you can improve and practice continuous improvement.”

Scanmarket and success

Scanmarket, an e-sourcing provider that’s seen the market develop since 1999, provides an example of how implementation services are tied to customer success.

Over its two decades in business, Scanmarket has always championed having a user friendly e-sourcing solution, said Scanmarket CEO Betina Nygaard. She said that part of that ease-of-use mission is delivered in Scanmarket’s robust customer support and implementation of its solutions.

“Throughout the years, we've tested out very different approaches to how to achieve a high customer satisfaction and how to make this successful with us and our clients,” Nygaard said in the webinar. “We found that by far the most efficient way of doing this was if we drove the implementation and made sure that account management process became a success.”

Scanmarket’s Dan Gianfreda, head of customer success and account management, explained in the webinar how Scanmarket has a seven-phase process to help new customers adopt its offering and grow using its e-sourcing solution.

“The areas that I really like to focus on is what happens once the vendor contract is signed,” Gianfreda said, explaining that companies spend often put most of their effort into evaluating technology and the vendors but don’t prepare for what comes next. “There's very little focus and effort and forethought into what happens once the system has been implemented and the training's been done.”

He said Scanmarket has programs in place help to customers. In the webinar, he details its “account management plus” and “success project plan” programs.

“From all the different methodologies and all of the different approaches, we pulled that all together now into an offering that we call ‘account management plus,’ which is just formalizing what we've been doing over the years — giving it a real structure so that we can tell the market about it,” Gianfreda said. “We speak to prospects in general and at conferences where people still are concerned that in certain instances about, ‘Are they going to get ROI from the e-sourcing program?’ And the answer to that is absolutely.

“It's the provider's responsibility, in our opinion, to make sure that that e-sourcing program is successful. So (we use) our highly organized approach and working with customers really in a true partnership to make sure — through tried and tested methods — that they will be successful.

Evaluating procurement software and services

In a Q&A that followed the webinar, Scanmarket said the robust implementation system that it has for customers can also be supplemented with additional services. And Busch was asked what advice Spend Matters has about how firms should evaluate services when considering a software solution.

“In today's cloud-driven world, we sometimes look at services as blended in with software,” Busch said. “And we don't really think about them separately. But it's not just about a help desk tied to an online application. That it's not just about remote implementation services delivered somewhere around the world to make sure things are configured as you need them. It really is a separate category. And coming from the kind of origins of this strategic sourcing world, I'm a huge believer that if you think you need services, specify them in the process itself. And take the time whether you're working with Spend Matters or someone else on a selection to weight what types of services are necessary. So qualitatively, ask questions of your suppliers just as you would in the RFI and score them as well.”

And Busch also had a question for Scanmarket’s Dan Gianfreda: As you think about post-implementation success, what KPIs are most important for people to keep in mind?

“I really am a massive believer in the fact that in every situation it comes down to the customer's objectives. What are the top-down directives for the wider business?” Gianfreda said. “So, in 2020 we really need to increase profitability, for example. Well in that case, as a result of that, driving down supplier costs is absolutely a key objective. So, therefore, the KPIs would be in relation to that.

“Whereas, another organization may say, ‘Right, next year we really need to increase compliance or we need to get more spend in the management or we need to get our contracts under more control.’ And depending on what those key objectives are, that's how we would then work backward to say, right, well these are the KPIs. To be able to achieve those objectives.”

For the full discussion and more details about Scanmarket’s process, watch the webinar here.

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