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4 Steps To Partner Smarter and Transform Work with Service Providers

Whether you are a manager, VP, or in the C-Suite, every large organization needs to partner smarter with their service providers from marketing agencies to third-party manufacturing and everywhere in between. With just four steps, put your organization on a path to save thousands of hours each month, deliver better outcomes, create healthier team dynamics, and address compliance and risk with ease. Whether you work with marketing agencies or bring R&D products to market, clear steps can transform your organization and how it finds, engages, and manages service providers.

1. Ban spreadsheets for sourcing professional services.

Why is anyone still settling for getting a spreadsheet when they ask “who should I use for X service?” It is a huge waste of time.

Have you ever been looking for a new service provider for a project only to get an out-of-date spreadsheet from procurement? If you work at a large organization like one of the Fortune 500s or a global brand, I bet you are like me and have been passed a spreadsheet of suppliers. For me and the hundreds of specialists we interviewed, it was a sheet with hundreds or thousands of marketing agencies. But, we also discovered, that it could have been any service area because the same type of spreadsheet was being passed around for IT services, third-party manufacturing, capital services, finance, HR, legal, training, and many other service areas.

I saw colleagues at major corporations struggling to find the right service provider. I looked at the spreadsheets and saw how similar they were to the ones I received for marketing and design agencies.

The spreadsheets were essentially garbage, a time suck, and lead to poor decision making, often result in poor supplier performance. No one was wasting their time with these spreadsheets anymore even though procurement would still send them and talk about using suppliers that were already in the system.

Instead, marketers just started googling for an agency or using review sites like our Agency Spotter site to find the right fit marketing agencies and design firms.

Searching for a brand new supplier from outside a roster of hundreds or thousands of suppliers wastes four to six months of productivity. It is a major cause for concern as it delays projects, and wastes a huge amount of your specialists’ time, slowing down their ability to deliver value for the business. On top of that, many brand new suppliers still fail or show lackluster results the first time they work with a large corporation on a project.

There is a better way. We built a better way with the help of some of the world’s most recognizable brands. It is called SpotSource. My name is Brian Regienczuk, and, as the company’s founder, I have seen firsthand the challenges your experts are facing. I was a Global Group Director at Coca-Cola when I really started asking questions about this. Since then, we have validated the same problems with hundreds of experts across the Fortune 500 and built a SaaS platform that is easy to use to solve all of these problems and more.

The spreadsheet data is garbage, wasting precious time and resulting in poor decisions. Here’s why:

  1. It does not have all the data you need to make a decision. Not even close.
  2. If a supplier has a service or capability area listed, it is probably wrong or, at least, misleading
  3. Some of the website URLs will probably not work and some suppliers won’t even have a website listed
  4. If you make it to trying to email a contact, one of two things will happen to more than half of those you email: a) the email will bounce, or, b) the person will not be who you need to talk to, maybe someone in finance or accounts receivables

Talk about a waste of time and money.

Spreadsheets for sourcing service suppliers should be banned by every Chief Procurement Officer and Chief Finance Officer across every large corporation.

Instead, every enterprise should demand an easy-to-use system that their specialists can access which unifies supplier data and brings other data to life that are required to make data-driven decisions on sourcing professional services.

You wouldn’t expect your logistics team to handle delivery and fulfillment without a robust data set. Why are we not providing the same robust decision-making support for service areas like marketing where corporate spending has grown tremendously?

Whether you support marketing procurement, IT services, third-party manufacturing, or some other specialized area of the business, there is an easy way to empower your expert stakeholders using SpotSource.

2. Make it easy to get the data.

Even procurement is struggling to get you the right data to make service sourcing decisions.

I know it is hard to imagine. This one is actually a bit of a secret. . . so, if you’re a CFO or CPO, I hope I am not the first to tell you. Even though procurement teams have access to unique systems and are really good at interfacing with ERP systems and a lot of other systems, they struggle to get experts the right information to make sourcing decisions when it comes to service providers. It’s not just because there aren’t enough people or it’s time-consuming.

There are four reasons procurement teams struggle to get the data experts to need to make services sourcing decisions, and SpotSource solves them all.

  1. The data experts need to be housed in different systems that don’t talk to one another (i.e. data silos). At a minimum, I’ve seen it housed across 3 systems, and, on the more complex side, it was across 4 systems that were different across regions leading to around 16 systems in all.
  2. The systems have been laser-focused on the problems related to direct procurement and are really good at handling the sourcing of raw materials, equipment, and highly specified widgets and/or commodities. They haven’t been designed to address services as a primary use case.
  3. Even where some data is being combined into a data lake or other system, it isn’t easy to extract just what you need. There are usually gaps because the data lake is being created to solve traditional problems, not to provide decision support for specialist sourcing. Plus, a limited set of people are given access to this data.
  4. Procurement does not have all the data service specialists need to make a decision. They have never collected it. It does not exist in an enterprise system or database today.

Unify the data your enterprise does have to help streamline decision-making.

The SpotSource base platform solves this with a unified view of every service supplier and any expert can search by the facets that are important to them. SpotSource layers in different types of data from corporate systems and beyond to make it easy for your experts to use.

3. Identify additional data needed to support different service area decision making

Organizations do not have all the data that is needed to support data-driven decisions across their different service areas. It’s obvious when you think about it. Marketing uses different data to make decisions than the data R&D uses to select a third-party manufacturer. Technology experts use different data about IT service suppliers than Finance uses to select a new supplier.

SpotSource has designed a platform that takes advantage of these differences and makes the data relevant and easy to use. We layer in different types of data from corporate systems, from the supplier directly, from your specialists, and much more. In essence, we liberate the data and create a self-service platform that specialists, even marketing experts, love. SpotSource empowers your organization to partner smarter from day one.

4. Liberate the data and make it easy to use.

Give your experts a self-service platform that is easy to use for decision-making and sourcing. They are experts. Let them act like it with access to the data they need.

If all the data is there, you can free up procurement from mundane requests that are hard to successfully address today. It is a win-win scenario.

The data can help experts make informed choices fast, and with more confidence. SpotSource can even require them, in some cases, to choose a supplier that is approved for Privacy (PII) or InfoSec if it is a requirement of the project. We want to liberate the data, but we still can have guard rails that drive compliance and manage risk while improving speed and performance.

Free up procurement experts, like marketing procurement, to focus on important areas such as what suppliers should be on your roster, whether you have the right bench strength in all capability areas/regions, that the suppliers have all the right contracts and risk assessments in place, terms are negotiated, and follow up on performance issues are addressed.

In many ways, this is an opportunity for people within your company to work smarter together. It is a chance to improve communication and collaboration while simplifying major pain points at a time when many employees feel more isolated and overwhelmed than ever. It is also a chance to collaborate with your services supplier teams in ways that keep everyone on the same page and operationalize service areas, setting them up for the future.

Partner Smarter with SpotSource

Whether you choose SpotSource as your solution or not, I hope these four steps will help you modernize and empower your indirect procurement teams and your experts across marketing, IT services, R&D, and beyond.

If you do choose SpotSource, know that we can move fast if you are ready. Our SaaS platform can quickly be configured to roll out a global solution tailored to a company’s needs and a service area, like marketing, within as little as 3 months.

If you are at a large organization, I would welcome the chance to show you how we are already helping modernize some of the largest, most recognizable brands in the world across industries such as athletics, retail, CPG, consumer goods, consumer electronics, and beyond. Some of them even stopped work on internal tools, to go with SpotSource because we are building a smarter workplace in ways that are hard to tackle from within a single company. Feel free to reach out on LinkedIn or through the SpotSource website.

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