AI Powering Professional Services Procurement Insights

Modern statement of work management software enables lean professional services procurement teams to control costs and support innovation, even when dealing with a large network of smaller service providers. 
 
The automated workflows help reduce the manual overhead of managing a longtail of professional service engagements. Being able to standardise onboarding, tighten compliance,  control rates and review milestones helps procurement eliminate rogue spend, and enjoy the benefits of working with outcome-based statement of work engagements.
 
But in addition to being more efficient at managing day-to-day tasks, procurement teams must also find a solution to being able to scale the insights, analysis and strategic value they provide.

Automation provides a foundation for reporting and analysis

Automating manual tasks is a prerequisite for insight – the procurement team need to be able to free their time away from manual administrative tasks to create the opportunity for thinking and analysing performance. In other words, they need to be given head space.
 
But even with time to think, the growing demand for professional service procurement means procurement teams need AI-powered help with analysis and planning too. McKinsey's research show that professional services trade has grown 60 percent faster than goods trade over the past ten years, with some sectors 'including telecom and IT services, business services, and intellectual property charges, growing two to three times faster'. 
 
This increase in demand for professional services from all areas of business means that procurement teams need to have a clear understanding of the current project pipeline and their services supply chains - including where they have a need to go to the market to source new service providers.
 
AI powered SoW management tools, like Talon, can provide lean procurement teams detailed insights into their spend patterns, project pipelines and supplier capabilities and supplier performance, which help them become more proactive and able to provide strategic support for more and more business units or departments.

Real-time reporting for real world impact

There a large number of pre-built, real-time reports featured in Talon, including the ability to export data, schedule timed updates and create your own dashboards with drag-n-drop widgets. 
 
Here are a few examples of how procurement teams can use the insights gathered from the various reporting features to implement practical procurement strategies:
 
End-to-end budget control with an overview of spend by project
This chart shows how budget is being controlled on a project-by-project basis, highlighting the levels of approved and committed spend within the budget, as well as any projects that are over budget.
 
The first clear benefit is it creates visibility of all projects, including those in the tail spend. 
 
This detailed overview also means decisions can be made about budget allocation across the business. For example, budget could be shifted from underspending projects to ensure any business-critical projects can still be delivered, even if there is a risk they could overspend.
 
Proactive supply chain management and sourcing

This second example, shows how a simple bar chart can be used to guide a procurement team's proactive supplier relationship management or sourcing strategy. Having visibility of the service categories in which your service providers sit is a powerful piece of insight when coupled with clear visibility of the upcoming projects. For example, knowing where the services supply chain needs more capability allows procurement teams to prioritise where they spend their sourcing efforts.

Summary

Much of the strategic business value procurement teams provide is unlocked by having access to real-time, end-to-end reporting. Just as how automation can help lean procurement teams manage the increasing day-to-day supplier management demands on their time, so to can it provide a solution for enabling actionable insights.
 
The reports contained in this guide are just a glimpse into what's possible. For a more detailed discussion, please contact us to book a demo.

Useful resources

Are Statement of Work contracts a solution for IR35?

Statement of work contracts are not a fix, dodge or magic solution to IR35 but they are a hugely valuable option when dealing with the issues caused by it.

Milestones

Learn about milestones and how to use them to manage statement of work contracts.

Statement of Work Automation

Learn how statement of work automation can help lean procurement teams leverage the benefits of outcome-based work delivery.