This whitepaper covers the sourcing of professional services. And, actually, covers it quite well.
I like the fact that this whitepaper starts off at the basics of professional services sourcing. It first defines professional services, giving examples such as "accounting, architecture, management consulting, legal, advertising and investment banking."
The whitepaper then discusses how professional services are sourced at many companies today, with little involvement from the procurement department. Why is this a problem? Because, according to Global eProcure, "both exceptional savings and preferential service levels can be achieved with professional service firms through a highly collaborative, finely tuned strategic sourcing approach."
However, it is not a matter of simply running professional services through the same sourcing process the company used for office supplies. There are some unique challenges, such as:
- The mission-critical nature of some professional services engagements make the risks high;
- Professional services are often customized and highly interactive, which makes it difficult to compare suppliers; and
- Often a company's political environment makes it uncomfortable to entertain ousting a supplier who has a strong relationship with a senior-level company representative
The whitepaper goes on to introduce six leading practices for overcoming these challenges and successfully sourcing professional services. A couple that I found most interesting were:
- Collaborate Like Success Depends Upon it (Because It Does). The section describing this practice included a real-life example of a cross-functional team that was charged by its COO to "work together to reduce the firm’s legal spend by 15% or risk having their internal support teams reduced by similar amounts." This charge created unity in the type of situation where there is often conflict and the story had a happy ending.
- Seek Creative Pricing Strategies. This section did an excellent job of summarizing several different pricing options and indicating the best conditions in which to use each.
This was definitely one of the best professional services sourcing whitepapers I've read. And even though it was 14 pages - regular readers know I rarely review whitepapers that go past 5 pages - it was an easy and interesting read. You can get your own copy of this whitepaper from Global eProcure's Web site (registration required).
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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