On our blog and in the OutLoud podcast we’ve been talking quite a lot about the unique requirements of services procurement. In a podcast interview, Determine Chief Product Officer Julien Nadaud addressed the fact that in terms of specifications/requirements and the qualification process, buying services is fundamentally different from buying materials. Kelly Barner wrote a multi-part blog series about how services procurement cannot be considered “one thing” since it encompasses a broad range of talent areas, cost and delivery models, and operational effects on the business. At this point, I think we can agree that services procurement is a case unto itself: but what about procurement services — services that procurement purchases for their own use?
Services procurement is not a silo, but part of the bigger picture for managing wider enterprise spend complexities
The trend of “best of breed” sourcing, contract management and p2p solutions converging to suites, as well as the overall predicted growth of the services economy suggests it only makes sense that services procurement automation will be able to achieve new levels of savings and process efficiency by adopting a wider “source-to-pay” platform approach.
In this series, I am sharing some of the lessons I learned as a procurement professional dedicated to hired services — both location based and corporate. In Part 2, I discussed the process of establishing demand and requirements, as well as the eSourcing considerations associated with each type of service.
In this post, I want to share some of the additional opportunities associated with hired services, along with the areas where procurement should proceed with extreme caution. After all, services procurement is about securing access to expertise more than anything else. As Julien Nadaud, Determine’s Chief Product Officer, pointed out in a recent Determine OutLoud podcast, “You can not buy people the way you buy goods.” Procurement needs to approach services with the same level of preparation that they would apply to any other complex, strategic effort.
I recently wrote about the differences between product and service procurement: from demand to specifications, and technology to relationship management. But as I pointed out at the end of the post, the idea that “services procurement” is one thing vastly oversimplifies this broad category. Perhaps that is part of what causes product specialists to shy away from services procurement.
In Parts One and Two of this series, much of what we look at is about making it easier for users through process automation and integration — making the experience almost seamless behind the scenes. In this final chapter, while we address process automation and integration, we identify how the brokering of process from one step to the next is essential, especially when stakeholders are expecting to see the transition as part of the process.