Consultancy Procurement Council Summit – First Event Is A Success

Last week we went along to the morning session of the Consultancy Procurement Council (CPC) Annual Summit.

It is a peer-to-peer group that gets people together with a common interest – buying consulting services. I’ve known Alan Gotto, who founded it, for many years, and when he first invited me to this summit, I envisaged maybe 20 or 30 people around a few tables. But no, this was a very professional, well organised and pretty large event, with around 100 delegates. Gotto introduced the day and explained that this was about people facing common challenges – this is not an easy category to manage.

Reed, SAP Fieldglass,  Interim Partners, Curzon & Company and M3S were sponsors, and Fieldglass kicked things off with a session which asked - what’s your digital strategy to harness the multi-channel workforce? The major part of Mikael Lindmark’s session looked at a recent study Fieldglass did with Oxford Economics – “External Workforce Insights 2018”.  We’ll come back to that in another post, but a headline was that on average, 44% of the average organisation’s total workforce spend now goes on external workforce.

Wow! I’m not sure I would have guessed it was quite that high. But in many organisations, there is massive use of IT contractors, engineers, etc. We used to think we would outsource just the non-core business – that is no longer true. For instance, automotive firms use third parties to design new cars, which is very core by any standards.

We then had a panel discussion on “How consultancies manage and maximise major client accounts”, with four consulting service providers giving us their insights. While it might have been good if they’d disagreed a bit more, from the point of view of getting a livelier debate, there was some interesting material here.

There was a lot of focus on “transparency” in several different senses, as well as debate about the nature of real value. “A good client is someone who understands the value they are seeking form the consultant and is explicit about that up front” was very good advice. Don’t make your provider have to guess what you really want from them.

The panel agreed that often, the rush to get started on a project means there isn’t time to look at innovative commercial mechanisms, such as basing payment on results, risk sharing and so on. That’s a shame – it strikes us that while time and material is sometimes the right answer in terms of the contract basis, it is still used far more often than it should be.

The final morning session came from Andrew McIntee of Interim Partners. I haven’t come across the firm before, but they provide experienced interim managers, often in teams of 5 to 10 to deliver “statement of works” type projects at much lower costs than the traditional large consulting firms.

The firm has “an interesting relationship with the big consulting firms”, he explained. The firms use Interim Partners to supplement their own resource on many projects, but at other times, IP will compete with the giants for assignments. But he also spoke about the trend for blended teams of consultants and interim resource to be used - indeed, there is an increasing use of “associates” for consulting delivery, even by the largest firms – something buyers need to at least be aware of. “The true gig economy is coming”, he said.

We may well come back to all three of those sessions again – there was plenty of useful and interesting content, and we were sorry to miss the afternoon session.  So well done to the CPC team for their first successful event, and if you are a buyer of those services, you can find out more about the Council by dropping an email to Claribelle Rohde.

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Voices (3)

  1. Claribelle Rohde:

    Peter, thank you for coming and this great post about the Consultancy Procurement Council. The group has exponentially grown in just 12 months and I hope that more senior consultancy procurement managers find out about it and get involved!

  2. Fieldglass User:

    Mikael Lindmark is how he spells his name!

    1. Peter Smith:

      Very sorry, meant to check that pre publication – and thanks Fieldglass user!!

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