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Complex services are complicated — What’s procurement to do? (Part 2) Vendors and first steps

02/17/2021 By

Part 1 of this two-part Spend Matters PRO series provided a simple definition of complex services: essentially, all of those services procurement categories that are outside of contingent workforce/temp staffing (i.e., those which do not have well-established process and technology models that are basically the same across industries and organizations). Part 1 also discussed potential misconceptions about these services and the potential for sourcing and managing them within a source-to-pay (S2P) framework.

The manifold, varying and time-dependent characteristics (i.e., the "complexity") of services can make the systematic procurement of different services more or less complicated and challenging — but not insusceptible to organization and management. After all, humans routinely master complex challenges (e.g., making heart valve replacements routine, etc.) with analysis, engineering and technology. By extension, the most “complex” services can be managed consistently, even if the underlying basis of systematic management is actually highly complicated.

That said, the sourcing and management of services as a procurement discipline is in its infancy. And so is the technology.

Part 2 will further discuss how organizations could approach procurement of these services realistically, based on the potential benefits of tackling certain services categories with effective processes and technology solutions. Part 2 also will examine the state of complex services technology vendors/solutions at this time.

Note: Spend Matters and SIG have launched a buy-side survey to learn more about how organizations use technology today to source and manage complex services; buy-side practitioners can take the survey here and obtain the study findings when complete.

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