The Events Tracker and Predictor – an innovative new product from Intenda

We haven’t featured Intenda, sourcing and related software providers,  for a while, so it was good to catch up with Herman Fick, one of their directors and founders. That was to have a look at a new product the firm is marketing - their “Events Tracker and Predictor”.  His pitch was “this is unique” – always a good way to get a writer / analyst interested!  And, you know what, he may be right.

The product (my description) is a tool to support contracting / sourcing exercises, combining project planning, monitoring and recording aspects with a predictive element, and an element of an “expert systems” approach.

The Events Tracker is a standalone module that can work alongside Intenda’s own sourcing platform or others such as BravoSolution, Emptoris and so on.  It supports organisations in planning and running complex and multiple contracting and sourcing tasks. And by “contracting” I mean both sides of the equation - interestingly, Intenda has a significant client who is going to use it on the sales side of the business, for management of bidding rather than buying processes.

The tool provides the user with a “control tower” for the sourcing event(s), assisting with planning, tracking and predicting progress through the process. The value proposition is that it minimises exposure to project failure or delay and provides a guide through the sourcing or contracting process.  It indicates bottlenecks in the process, highlights where assumptions might be flawed about project plans, supports compliance (to standard organisational process or public sector regulations), and provides central visibility to how projects are progressing across an enterprise perhaps. And it’s all designed in a user-friendly manner, with intuitive interfaces.

So, to go through a typical case - assume we want to create a plan for a sourcing event. The tool takes us through a set of questions – which can be related to public sector if required.  Or the “owner” of the product can define the questions in order to guide the buyers, using drop down menus – that might include questions about the complexity of the exercise, approvals needed and so on. The responses then feed into the creation of a plan and a schedule by the system.  (Alternatively, you can define when you need the project to finish and the system will work backwards and tell you if there is a feasible plan to achieve that).

Having got to the plan, you can define KPIs, which then provide a monitoring capability using RAG ratings and reporting. So you can imagine in a larger organisation, the CPO being able to look across perhaps dozens of current sourcing projects and see which are on track, which have issues, which parts of the process are causing problems (e.g are we spending too long on market analysis, or are delays in contract approval from stakeholders holding up projects?)

The CPO could also look at workload per person – as the system uses input requirements for each stage, we might identify that Laura has 36 days work to do next month to keep on track for her various projects and identify that there’s a problem there.  New joiners could also get up to speed quickly, with the platform to guide them through the required steps, or indeed past activities if they are inheriting an existing project.

As CPO at NatWest, I probably had around 60 professionals actually doing procurement exercises as their core job. In truth, I had very little idea on their relative productivity. I got a sense of whether the end results of their category strategies or actual contracts looked good, but I could not have told you really whether Tim had far too much work on this month or Karen was coasting.  So I could see an immediate attraction for the CPO in having something that could help establish that. And the first major procurement customer for this is an organisation that has 100+ procurement professionals and lets literally hundreds (if not thousands) of contracts every year  - the business case for them was pretty clear, I assume!

So definitely an interesting product, well worth a look particularly for larger public or private sector organisations. Herman Fick was right in that I haven’t seen anything quite like it, but we will come back shortly and look at a wider context issue that it’s got me thinking about.

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