Top 5 Considerations When Selecting a Strategic Sourcing Solution

Choosing the right solution can be hard. Keep your focus where it matters to get the best outcomes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016
BY: Ole Nielsen, Chairman & Founder

You will find no shortage of advice from technology providers on how to choose your strategic sourcing platform and its component solutions. Unfortunately, this advice often boils down to “Pick me, pick me!” while burying you in functionality comparisons, case studies and other marketing fluff.

At Scanmarket, we do things a little differently. Having been a leading strategic sourcing platform for 15+ years means that we have a unique perspective on the market, functionalities, providers and, most importantly, customer needs. What we have found is that having a clear (and agreed-upon) list of the most important factors for your organization is the best way to choose a solution that will work well for you over time.

To that end, we’ve put together the Top 5 considerations we would take into account when evaluating and selecting a strategic sourcing platform:

  • Available functionality – Be very careful about getting into a “more is better” functionality comparison. An overly-complicated solution won’t get used and a simplistic one won’t be useful. Best of all, select a solution that can expand the available functionality to users over time as it’s needed
  • Time-to-value – While we advocate being careful and deliberate about your selection process, once you’ve decided you’ll want to get started. Avoid solutions that will require lengthy deployments or complex integrations. You can’t start saving until you’re up and running
  • Help when and how you need it – Understand ahead of time where you think you’ll need assistance in training, staff augmentation, and expertise. This will allow you to have an intelligent conversation with the providers and really understand what they provide (and at what price)
  • Flexible business partner – This area often gets overlooked but remember that you’re subscribing to a company, not just software. If that company is hard to deal with during the sales cycle, you can bet they will be even more difficult once you’ve signed. Ask to meet the customer engagement representatives that will work with your team and the executives who will oversee the relationship
  • Careful design – In addition to the typical product demo’s, ask for the ability to walk the platform through your most common processes. You should be able to do this without training or, better yet, even without guidance from the provider. If the platform doesn’t make sense to you at first glance, it won’t to your users, suppliers or stakeholders


The specific way you measure each of these will depend on your unique needs. Our strongest advice is to spend the necessary time upfront to understand what you need in each of these areas before engaging the sales teams of the different providers. It is seldom advisable to use the “free” RFP templates that some providers will give you. It will surprise no one to discover that these templates were designed to favor a particular solution, not your needs.

As you’ll see from our current webcast series, each of the modules in a Strategic Sourcing platform (e.g. eRFx, Contract Management, Spend Analysis, etc.) can be looked at independently. This may be the right approach for your specific solution, but you’ll also want to be able to evaluate the entire platform so that your organization can “grow into it”.

Remember, choosing a strategic sourcing solution is a high-stakes process that can become complicated, cumbersome and difficult. It also really matters if you’re going to meet your goals…

Scanmarket

Easy. Proven. Results.