Procurement Managed Services Platform Maistro – What Can It Do For You

A couple of months ago we ran a post about the emergence of procurement services marketplace, Maistro – a rags-to-riches story, the whole background to which you can read here. We said we’d take a closer look at the offering and what exactly it can do.

Luckily, our esteemed, not-so-local but eminently expert, colleague Andrew Karpie, did that for us. He specialises in Services and Labour Procurement and his very detailed insight of the product is published as part of the specialist subscription service PRO, which is our market intelligence and indepth analysis site.

Here are the key points from his analysis if you haven’t considered subscribing to PRO but want to know more:

First he analyses the technology at face value, in terms of how the solution demos. Then he gives Spend Matters’ unique and unbiased take on how it performs and how it compares.

In basic terms, the solution is a technology-enabled platform that helps link up buyers and sellers of complex services, such as marketing and consulting. “Accelerated Procurement,” it terms itself, offering procurement-related managed services with an integrated online marketplace that consists exclusively of vetted service suppliers (not freelancers). “While Maistro does participate in the workforce/services game, its combined characteristics differentiate it from other online freelancer/services marketplaces, such as Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr and others,” he says.

So much for its positioning: how does it work? The firm is not simply a business process outsourcer (BPO), it is a “service provider,” which means it is legally and financially bound to deliver SOW activities to enterprise clients, maintaining contractual relationships with both its enterprise clients and its suppliers.

The Maistro delivery team, having determined a brief and desired budget from the customer, identifies a subset of suppliers that match the requirements; AI plays a significant role in determining this (not directly witnessed). Suppliers then pitch back to Maistro, and using AI it assists in evaluating the match between suppliers’ pitches and clients' requirements, then narrows the options down to a shortlist from which the client can select (with support if needed).

A SOW is then established with the client with the whole sourcing and engagement process accelerated using Maistro’s established “playbook” which specifies procurement policies and approval requirements at the start of the relationship. Maistro also shares the relevant parts of the playbook with suppliers during the sourcing phase.

The SOW provides the blueprint for setting up a project in Maistro, with timelines, milestones and deliverables, rather like a project management approach, with the exception that Maistro does not micro manage the project, but is responsible for the project outcomes. Once the client accepts and approves deliverables through the Maistro platform, Maistro invoices the client and pays the suppliers under the terms and conditions.

And now for the opinion: In Andrew’s experience of the demo, “the platform currently provides most of the basic functionality that those three parties (delivery teams, enterprise clients and contract suppliers) would need to execute projects from sourcing to the client’s acceptance of project deliverables — but that’s about it at this time,” while “the user interface is currently simple and elegant, and navigation seems intuitive and easy. We also must remember that the platform is not intended to be a self-service solution but rather a managed services “process enabler.” The system is also only at the early stages of integration capability with other enterprise systems, such as ERPs, but this is moving forward.

In terms of market entry and uptake, because management of spend on services is a big challenge for procurement, and tail spend is often viewed as low-hanging fruit that could be outsourced to a third-party services provider, Maistro brings to market “a fairly distinct solution designed (or at least positioned) to address procurement gaps in the capture of tail spend and the sourcing and management of indirect services.”

And in terms of positioning: as a true service provider responsible for delivering actual services, “the solution is unique and could be appealing to procurement organisations that are shifting their focus from already managed contingent workforce spend to the much larger, fast-growing and significantly unmanaged service/SOW model spend category. So Maistro’s focus on the subcategories of tail and indirect spend has the markings of a potentially big opportunity.”

In our next encounter with Maistro, we will drill-down into the technology behind the platform itself, but for now, if you’d like to read Andrew’s analysis in full – of which we have portrayed only small part here – then do visit Spend Matters PRO site.

 

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