SIG Innovations in Vendor Management System Technology Series – Service Procurement | DCR Workforce Blog

SIG Innovations in Vendor Management System Technology Series – Service Procurement

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth of a six-part series dedicated to the Sourcing Industry Group’s report, “Innovations in Vendor Management Systems Technology 2016” which is sponsored in part by DCR. References in italics are taken directly from the SIG report along with the corresponding page number.

Professionals in services procurement face many issues. It’s estimated that more than half of all Statement of Work (SOW) projects fail – due to incompletion or an unsuccessful project! A lot of that has to do with the processes or lack thereof. Yet Statement of Work projects have been steadily increasing in use across numerous industries and there are no signs of slowing down.

Due to their added complexities, greater necessity for insight and analytics as well as need for strategic planning and management, companies are finding they require a robust, progressive and flexible Vendor Management System (VMS) that is built to handle those complexities as well as one that can change on a dime to the fluctuating parameters that SOW projects often present. Since SOW is so complex with multiple layers, organizations are examining their need to invest in or change to an enhanced VMS that’s enriched with robust features to fulfill their current and future needs. That’s a biggie.

Smart Track was built from the ground up specifically to handle all our clients’ Statement of Work (SOW) needs, so it provides comprehensive scope and spend management for services procurement as it relates to SOW projects – from initial RFQ all the way through project completion. It’s not an add-on or an afterthought meant to be bolted-on sideways. It’s the cornerstone of an agreement that sets expectations, deliverables, what’s acceptable, the price and the pricing schedule. Without it, it’s like running blind.

DCR’s Smart Track provides comprehensive scope and spend management for outsourced SOW-based projects, including vendor bid solicitation via and RFx process (p. 61). Within the system, purchased work can be quoted and contracted, then Smart Track can track progress, deliverables and milestones both domestically and offshore, handling multiple pricing models such as time-and-materials to complex, multi-supplier projects and can invoice based on numerous pricing and billing methods.

Additionally, Smart Track was designed to prevent scope creep, double-dipping and unfulfilled projects. Smart Track will monitor and enforce terms, validate costs, track all changes and report progress through scorecards and dashboards. Smart Track’s SOW analytics match their capabilities within the traditional contingent workforce workflows (p. 61).

The Smart Track Statement of Work solution is a TRUE solution built specifically for SOW (not a workaround) – from RFQ to project completion – that can take our clients’ complex SOW projects and manage their service procurement efforts and the costs associated with outsourced project consultants. With Smart Track, our clients can plan, automate, measure, control and track projects, ultimately eliminating the administrative effort and complexity of contract lifecycle management (including sub-projects and sub-sub-projects) by handling payments tied to milestones, time-and-materials, fixed-price or fixed-deliverables. And for global businesses, it is effortlessly configurable to handle multiple languages, currencies, time zones and date formats.

For example, purchased work and services can be quoted and contracted, tracked and cataloged, all right from within the system. Within Smart Track is the capability to create from scratch or from ready-made templates with standard Terms and Conditions or the user can upload standard documents so they’re inherited into the SOW. Additionally, SOWs can be catalogued for future re-submittal. Once the vendor(s) selection process is complete Smart Track converts the requisition into a SOW for each work packet within the overall project (p. 61). There is an interactive collaborative redlining feature as well as a final binding agreement, complete with e-signatures.

Smart Track allows the creation of Operations Contracts or Service Contracts with blanket agreements which can be used as the overriding terms under which there are multiple SOW projects (p. 61). Terms regarding rate cards, skill catalog, deliverables, etc. are inherited from the blanket agreement. Resources, budget and deliverable of each individual project are also tracked and applied to the blanket agreement. Non-employees then enter time or milestones to bill against the project.

All of this helps our clients be mindful of and take control of:

  • Poor time management – due to supervising all of the moving parts and changing priorities
  • Misappropriation of funds – with vendors on multiple projects, double-dipping is easily overlooked
  • Limited visibility – into complexities including multiple suppliers, vendors and global regulations
  • Lack of control – over budget, spend, approvals and defining specific works required
  • Insufficient communication – between stakeholders, vendors and contingent workers
  • Missed deadlines/milestones – due to lack of vendor oversight or new priorities

A traditional VMS just isn’t cut out to handle all of the intricate complexities of the advanced innovations Smart Track has built in – with flexibility and configurability in a sleek interface. We’ve taken the complex and simplified the processes related to managing services including:

  • Sourcing
  • Collaboration
  • Contract negotiation
  • Management
  • Evaluation
  • Invoicing
  • Approvals
  • Spend

Users also have control over a number of layers such as charge numbers and addition or deletion of contingent workers. This is critical for SOW management when priorities change and workers are added or removed from the project.

As the resources enter time or as the expenses are billed against the project or milestones are approved, the project budget is depleted. It can be rolled up to the Blanket/Master Agreement or reported separately (p. 61). This is just one insight into the true visibility into the project.  

Scope creep, overcharges and double-dipping is handled with ease, eliminating many SOW-related woes. Included is the ability to compare and accept or reject charges outside of scope with relation to budget limitations. If allowed, it’s trackable. Smart Track can also monitor and enforce terms of the agreement, validate costs, track ALL changes and report progress through scorecards and dashboards. The analytics go deep, so users can pull nearly 300 canned reports and innumerable business intelligence and custom reports, depending on how they want their data sliced-and-diced.

Additionally, we have customized configurations for various industries including energy and utilities; technology; retail; healthcare; pharmaceutical; aerospace and defense; financial services; industrial and manufacturing; entertainment; as well as business and professional services.

Pricing models for Vendor Management Systems have transitioned from pure client/supplier funded model based on spend to several other options. The increasing use of alternative pricing models is primarily driven by the shift from contingent workforce management programs dedicated exclusively to agency-supplied contractors to programs that oversee all forms of non-employees (p. 62).

Smart Track takes a series of complex steps and turns them into a smooth process. It’s so sophisticated, there are minimal touchpoints for our users. As the analysts have noted throughout the report, DCR’s strength is in our roots in business process consulting and heavy reliance on usable data. It’s just one of the things that sets our Statement of Work solution apart from the crowd.

To read part one of this series, click here.

To read part two of this series, click here.

To read part three of this series, click here.

To read part four of this series, click here.

To read part six of this series, click here.

You can also get the full “Innovations in Vendor Management Systems Technology 2016 report here.

The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and cannot be construed as specific legal advice or as a substitute for competent legal advice. They reflect the opinions of DCR Workforce and may not reflect the opinions of any individual attorney. Do contact an attorney for advice specific to your issue or problem.
Dave is an Executive Vice President of Business Development at DCR. He and his team work with partners and institutions to establish next generation contingent labor and services procurement programs using Smart Track VMS.