This week the UK’s 2nd largest construction company, employing an estimated 43,000 people around the world, went into liquidation. Three quarters of the company’s sales came from the UK, where many of the contracts were awarded by the UK government for such infrastructure projects as new roads and hospitals.
In Part 1 of this series I wrote about making a business case to bring in new procurement technology. All organizations have handled first-time implementations of some sort – whether they are switching to a full platform or adding a new piece of functionality to a system already in place. The thing about new technology implementations is that, after all the effort invested in vetting prospective solutions, executive teams generally accept the notion that having technology in place is better than not having technology in place.
Although procurement technology is nothing new, there are first-time implementations going on all the time. Whether you are introducing the company’s first full end-to-end platform or adding a new area of functionality to an existing platform (i.e., contract management, supplier information management), preparing a solid business case will help win over decision makers and improve the selection process. Articulating your POV can be the difference between getting the green light to go ahead and more discussion and justification.
As Services Procurement Month comes to a close, we hope our series of blogs, podcast, analyst resources and webinar with Forrester helped you become more fluent in this under-understood area. The continuing positive reaction to everything we shared shows us that there is enormous interest in the topic, as well as a hunger (and big need) for more learning. So while you catch up on – or review – our services procurement resources, keep an eye out for even more in the weeks and months ahead.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any comments and suggestions of content you’d like to see at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.