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Obstacles, evolution and opportunities in Services Procurement MSP

Exploring the evolution of services procurement, shifting to value, new mindsets, cultures and different strategies.

Episode highlights


The difference between capability and capacity
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Visibility and control of growing services procurement spend
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Addressing Services Procurement effectively
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The post-contract phase gap
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SoW as a cost or opportunity
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Posted by: ZivioReading time: 89 minutes

With Paul Vincent, Global Head of Services Procurement and Scott Brewer, VP SoW Procured Services, from Randstad Sourceright

00:00:00 - Buying and selling services as a value-driven solution
00:11:40 - Aligning procurement experience to think differently about SoW
00:18:45 - Observations around the current services procurement market changes
00:30:00 - A shift in attitude towards visibility and control
00:42:15 - The technology landscape in services procurement
00:50:30 - Outcome-based work
00:56:20 - Obstacles to getting started with services procurement programs
01:04:30 - Geographical trends and maturity
01:08:00 - Predictions

Transcript

Jonny Dunning:     0:00         Okay, and we’re off. Excellent. So, I’d like to welcome Paul Vincent and Scott Brewer from Randstad Source right, really pleased to have you guys joining me today. We’re going to be talking about some interesting topics framed around the title of services, procurement MSP, obstacles, evolution, and opportunities. Now, I know we’ve all got loads to say in this area, but we’re kind of try and structure around a few key areas. And with the three of us on the call, I’ll try and divert questions, here and there as appropriate. But to start off with, really appreciate you guys joining me. Scott start with you, how are you doing?

Scott Brewer:         0:41         I’m doing great. Thanks for having me here on the call. So, SoW in Services Procurement is a passion of mine and Paul, so we’re always glad to talk about it. Thanks for having us.

Jonny Dunning:     0:49         My pleasure. And Paul, how are you?

Paul Vincent:         0:53         Very good, today. This is Week Six of my Randstad journey. So, it’s interesting time to be talking to you.

Jonny Dunning:     1:01         Yeah, all change on your side. In fact, while we’re on the subject, and so you two have come together, you’re both experts in this world. And you both come from, I’d say, slightly different angles within the same context. And Paul, starting with you, can you just give me a little bit of a kind of potted history of your journey through the sort of services procurement, kind of services delivered around services [Unclear 0:01:30]. Just your journey through the market and how you actually got to where you are now and the changes you’ve just gone through?

Paul Vincent:         1:36         Yeah, sure. So, I mean, I’ve been, to be honest, in and around the services procurement arena for most of my career. But I’ve had three distinct phases. The first phase was 20-years in the BT Group, which is a telecoms company in the UK. And about 6% of my time in that organization was in procurement roles, where I bought near enough everything from consumer products for retail to telecoms infrastructure, but a lot of services elements was always part of whatever I was buying. My last corporate role from a procurement perspective in BT Group was to be the global procurement director for all forms of resourcing, [Unclear 0:02:18], professional services, etc. In between times, I had a roving career in change management, business transformation, different types of operational roles where I had to be the client of different types of service providers. So that was my BT phase. Then I started my own consulting practice, and I had that for about six years where I was helping companies on both sides of the equation to buy and sell services more on value than down price. But I’d help service providers to become more differentiated in their offering. At the same time, I’d help procurement teams to just get better value and increase the influence and impact they had within their organizations. And then, the last six years, I’ve been in the Workforce Solutions Arena, Kelly OCG, to begin with, that was three years leading their product portfolio. Now, they didn’t hire us for a couple of years. And now around said, and I guess what makes the quarter unusual as an SME in this environment is because I’ve sat in all those seats around the table, I do have that sort of empathy and understanding of what drives value. And I think that’s really important. As we get into the conversation today, it’s really important about understanding that there’s not just a process-driven solution is very much a value-driven solution.

Jonny Dunning:     3:37         Yeah, very true. And how did you actually kind of get pulled across into the Workforce Solutions side of things? So, I guess the first entry point for that was when you were working with Kelly OCG.

Paul Vincent:         3:48         Well, I had a number of clients at the time in the Workforce Arena, and Kelly was one of those early clients that I had. But I reached a point in my consulting career where I had a really good, strong book of clients. But I was just missing something just providing advice. I wanted to get back into the delivery part of the equation. And it was just coincidental that at the time I started looking, Kelly OCG approached me and asked if I was interested in that particular role. So, it’s more by coincidence and design. But when I was talking to Kelly about the nature of the role, they wanted me to do, it was such a composite of everything I have done before. So, the strategy for deploying Workforce Solutions, how you actually differentiate the value that the service providers in the supply chain can make, I never see moving to a total talent environment where you’re looking more strategically about how you deploy resources into your organization and get work done.

Jonny Dunning:     4:51         Yeah. So, looking at it from that Workforce Solutions angle. And I’ll come on to this with Scott as well because I know Scott’s got a really great track record of this site specifically around Services Procurement. But it’s something that’s kind of taken a while to really gain traction within that Workforce Solutions market. And it’s interesting when you look at the kind of crossover or how it’s basically come together where Workforce Solutions providers are being able to provide a more holistic service, where they’re looking at all resource channels, including this giant one called services procurement. How have you kind of noticed that change over the journey that you’ve had?

Paul Vincent:         5:33         Well, it’s quite interesting. If I go back to that, the last role I had in BT, which was around 2007, to 2009, I drove a big transformation project around how they deployed consulting company as an expenditure. And a big part of that project was being really clear [on] what is actually consulting versus what is effectively additional capacity. And that difference between capability and capacity is something that often can get confused for different types of services. The more you bring clarity to what is it that the service provider is actually going to be delivering? The more you’re obviously getting close to associate procurement type mentality because it’s much less about effort and much more about the outcome. And so, when you think about it from a consulting lens, then you have the way the markets have evolved in the last few years in that. I mean, to give you an example, when I was consulting, I helped a company that delivered multifunctional devices, office machines, but they had a professional services arm that would do time and motion studies, for example, in the client office to see, well, what would be the distance between a person, and then their nearest machine and how could they improve that productivity? So, the idea of a consulting Advisory Service has now become much more relevant as part of all different types of sectors of the market. [Unclear 0:07:00] it’s not just consulting or the classic professional service. So, I think those two things have converged together to make it much more natural that you look at the entirety of your workforce, and you’re trying to put a greater definition on what those contributors to your workforce are actually doing. So, it has taken time. And I think there’s still a fairly long way to go that it becomes the default position for many companies. But certainly, it’s a lot more of a natural thought process than ever has been before.

Jonny Dunning:     7:33         Yeah, I mean, it’s certainly logical to me when you know [that] an organization needs to know how to make the most effective use of all of their resources. And this is a clear, strong big resource channel, and it’s something that’s become more and more important, as you know, we can address later when we talk about some of the factors that have kind of pushed the growth of this type of work delivery. So that’s super interesting, I really appreciate that. Scott, do you want to just give us a bit of a walkthrough of your background as well because you’ve been involved with the Services Procurement side, the Statement of Work side of things for a decent amount of time?

Scott Brewer:         8:08         For quite a while. So for about the last 13 years, I’ve been specialized in this space, it’s SoW in Services Procurement, managed service programs. And so, I’ve worked for a number of providers in that space. So, I’ve been with Randstad Source right for a little over two and a half years now. Before that I was with Pontoon, before that I was with Workforce Logic and Zero chaos. And I’ve had the benefit of working with some really large programs within those different providers, and I’ve learned a lot. The interesting thing about my background is that early on, we had our own VMAs. And so, we delivered both the MSP and the VMAs. So, I’ve always had an eye for how best to leverage the technology in the solution. And initially, my background getting into services buying was with General Electric, where I was an operations finance and one of the last positions I held is that we were responsible for buying and overseeing the craft labor for some of the turbines that were being installed at power plants. So that’s why I sort of cut my teeth in terms of buying agreements, getting to understand them, service level performance, and a lot of the worker elements that comes along with it. And so, it’s just been a progression over time of more exposure to larger deals and more companies over time. And it’s been a great journey.

Jonny Dunning:     9:32         Yeah. I’d imagine this through that process where you’ve been working for these large Staffing Organizations or Workforce Solutions providers. How have you seen the emphasis on the importance of Services Procurement offerings change within those organizations over that time period? 

Scott Brewer:         9:50         Yeah. It became a burning platform for the stakeholders that we were involved with. And I always liken it to the fact that we sometimes reported under talent acquisition or HR or sometimes in procurement, and we were providing things on the staff augmentation side in terms of worker visibility or rate management. And they were looking at this giant amount on their P&L, this growing services procurement spend. And I think they were saying to themselves, “I want the same discipline, I want the same visibility and structure for that,” and I think that’s how it evolved. And I think the VMAs saw that opportunity too, they started expanding and building in Services Procurement functionality, I think the MSPs came along with them. And it became transactional to start with, but I think it’s evolved [to the point] where companies are now saying, “Okay, now I’ve got this visibility over this beast that’s growing in my P&L. I need someone to help me manage it and optimize it.” So, it grew out of necessity. And then, I think it’s just taking off from here. And the thing that’s changed over the years is, like eight years ago, you’d see mention of a SoW and an RFP be like one question or two questions. Well, now it’s an entire section. It’s a growing need for the clients that we support, and they realize that they need a solution for it. So, it’s a little bit of a match made in heaven if you can position yourself properly.

Jonny Dunning:     11:16       Yeah, I absolutely agree. And so, obviously, with the two of you coming together at Randstad, it’s an interesting opportunity to obviously, kind of share the benefits of your slightly different backgrounds and kind of slightly different routes in. Scott, I’ll start with you just in terms of obviously, you guys have only been working together for a relatively short period of time so far. But do you feel there are any things that you’ve specifically been able to benefit from or take from Paul’s background? Obviously, you’re kind of based in different geographies, but kind of used to dealing with global-type roles. Are there any particular things that you’ve been able to kind of benefit from or learn from Paul’s specific background?

Scott Brewer:         11:55       Yeah. Well, now I don’t have to compete against him, which is... that’s probably been one of the bigger benefits. But now it’s been great. So, the experience that Paul went through in terms of his years in procurement, to me, it’s reinforced the value-proposition and the voice of procurement. So, deeper understanding of what they want, appreciation of what the mindset is, it’s not always about the traditional pain points or levers that, you think of he’s brought that. And he really introduced some really good solutions ideas very quickly and how to pique the interest of the stakeholders. And one thing that Paul’s great about is creating that rallying cry around here’s the solution, and getting adoption and passionate and energized within the company for it. So, it’s been great so far.

Jonny Dunning:     12:44       Yeah, I think that’s really interesting. Because I think you’ve just got to try to make it easy for companies to do this. Because I think sometimes they can quite easily be scared off, just with the size of the challenge of it. And how am I going to get them [Unclear 0:12:59] around? This is such a big thing. There are going to be so many stakeholders involved, it’s global. And so, I think you know, if there’s the ability to make things easier for organizations, then it’s a great way to get started. Paul, how about you? Obviously, with what Scott’s been doing in the industry for a good length of time, he’s had a great line of sight on these specific types of offerings. How’s that work, from your point of view in terms of being able to leverage his background experience?

Paul Vincent:         13:29       Well, I’m being very honest. I mean, the opportunity to work with Scott and leverage that expertise is one of the draws of where I’ve come to Randstad. I mean, I think when Michael Smith, the CEO started talking to me about his ambition for what he wanted to do, that was a big part of the proposition, how to really accelerate the work that had already been done. And, yes, it’s only been a few weeks working together, but you can really see that blend of that deep technology led of MSP-driven service offering. On the other side, what I’ve been able to bring, by way of that kind of stakeholder perspective, I think, being almost candid with you and the audience. I think, also, when you have a role like Scot, and I’ve had independently, it’s a bit bipolar. Because you’ve got the need to be externally focused on how best to position to a market that itself is going through change, you need to really clarify to them what are the benefits story, and why should they choose your particular organization? And, of course, the biggest question is, why do anything? How to get started? But then the internal focus is, how do you encourage your organization to think differently? Because we’re dealing with people who are very used to no traditional MSP program as a structure and asked from the stakeholders. So, you’re constantly having that two-way perspective, and that’s why it feels bipolar. And it’s a hard job, and it’s hard to do everything properly. And so, the opportunity for us to work together and really split that responsibility means that we are together a lot more powerful, we will be able to drive that change. And Scott’s going to be very much driving that’s end to end solution, and I’m going to be driving that outward position, and packaging of how we add value to the organization, and you bring those two together, and it’s a very powerful combination, and we can, we can literally get more done.

Jonny Dunning:     15:49       Yeah. I think you’re part of a fairly select club, you guys, in the sense that there aren’t really that many people who are SMEs in this space. Certainly, within the kind of Workforce Solutions industry. Clearly, you’re part of a really good club of some really smart people who are really good at what they do. But it’s just like, when you sort of look at building out the teams and stuff like that, it must be quite difficult because you’ve got to get people who really understand this side of it. And as you say, you’re dealing with that internal versus external challenge, you need to have the expertise to be able to offer the service to your customers. But also, you need to be able to fight the battles internally where you’re part of large organizations that make a heritage of a huge amount of business, doing something that is significantly different enough to mean that there’s going to be some crossover. But certain things that happen on this side of the business are not really that relevant to what happens over here. But from a client’s point of view, you want to knit it all together and basically, provide them [with] a solution that covers all of it. And so, I think it’s interesting.

Paul Vincent:         16:50       I know that Johnny’s coming on that point. I think the mentality has got to be different because in a classic contingent environment the job is to find talent and to work with all the various sources of that talent in the right way. But the job in SoW is not necessarily to find, it’s to make sure the engagement part of the equation works really simply and really easily. And so that’s a different dynamic, it’s a different problem statement, and it’s a different set of expectations from the client. And that’s one of the things that you really have to help people to understand that it’s not instead of, it’s an end proposition, and it’s complimentary to what you’re doing. You do have to apply a different level of logic to understanding the customer requirement and actually delivering something around that.

Jonny Dunning:     17:45       Yeah, it’s very a pertinent point, actually. And I think it applies, certainly, it’s something I recognize from a tech point of view in the sense that you’re supporting the lifecycle, you’re optimizing the lifecycle, and the aim is to optimize return on investment from services spend. And it’s not necessarily about an organization saying, “How do I find a supplier for eggs?” It’s a question of saying, “How do you optimize your supply chain? How do you maximize the benefits? How do you gain visibility on what you’re already doing and who you should be using within your services supply chain?” So, I think we will probably agree [that] we’re in a relatively emerging market, still at a relatively early stage in the market around these kinds of organizations at addressing Services Procurement effectively. Just be interested to understand a perspective from you guys on what you think the current Services Procurement market looks like in terms of what you’re seeing. Scott, I’ll start with you with that one. Because I’d be interested to know what you’re seeing at the moment and how you feel that has really significantly changed over time.

Scott Brewer:         18:49       Yeah, it’s interesting. It’s influenced a lot by, I think, the market itself or what’s being bought. And so right now, what we’re seeing is the impact of skilled labor shortage, impacting the suppliers that are in programs. So, specifically, IT firms are fighting for talent right now. And a lot of those suppliers that provide IT services, they did, or they do just in time, sourcing of those resources as well. So, there’s a pinch, what’s going to happen is that the rates associated with that work are going to increase or the rates are going to increase. And so, what we’re starting to see now is a shift towards more outcome-based engagement so that the buyer is protected from that inflationary risk of that. And we saw that coming out of COVID anyway. During COVID, when a lot of SoW agreements were cancelled there was a big dispute in terms of how much work had been done, versus how much was [it] paid for. Again, another lesson learned for procurement. So that’s what we’re seeing now in terms of a structure, and I think we will with the labor shortage, where that lens is for a Services Procurement program. Because in the technology and the program team itself, we help manage the deliverables and the structure associated with it. So, it’s more interest in the contract compliance piece of it and the delivery compliance of it, and that’s been a growing need that we’ve seen. The other thing is, IT is growing significantly. And I think gone are the days of people hiring those resources in-house to support that technology, they just can’t do it, it’s changing too much. So, the world of buying external expertise is only going to go up from here. It may have been a flow with the economy, or the percentage of what you invest your dollars in is always going to be external. So that’s what we’re seeing. It’s going to grow, it’s going to switch to more outcome-based engagements, a program like ours will help deliver that. And I think that’s the way that the industry is going to move towards.

Jonny Dunning:     20:51       Yeah, really interesting. So, one of the things you mentioned was about, where do you feel the balance is in terms of what’s required in the market when you look at this from a pre-versus post contract stage? 

Scott Brewer:         21:06       I mean, like, in terms of the value-add Johnny? Or like the compliance pieces? Can you [Crosstalk 0:21:12].

Jonny Dunning:     21:12       Just in terms of the value. Because if you look at the entire workflow from the initial procurement through contracting, and then through delivery, and just from my own observation in the market, the post-contract phase is, I think, probably where the biggest gap is. Like clearly, there are gaps in the kind of source to award and source to contract stage. But I feel that, in some cases, organizations kind of have a bit of a handle on that. But it’s just a question of when it gets to the actual delivery and what they’ve actually received and how that’s measured and how that’s managed, which feeds into everything else in terms of having the data on what’s been delivered, supply performance predictions for the future, all that sort of stuff. I feel like that’s where it falls down the most. So, I just wonder whether [or not,] you’d agree with that.

Scott Brewer:         21:56       I would [agree with that] from a fundamental standpoint, most of the genuine clients and programs that we speak with initially, it’s just getting that visibility and transparency to what’s happening. And I liken it to the fact that procurement does this great job negotiating these large contracts, then it goes over to operations. And operations are focused on sometimes different elements of it, in terms of getting the work done no matter what. And so, some of those gains that were negotiated up-front can get lost on budget overages or change orders and controls. And then, there are elements that need to be enforced or controlled in terms of the workers. And again, now procurements remit, but they need a steward to do it and to maintain it. So, I think that’s one of the initial value-proposition is to say, “After, I give this contract and you start executing it, how am I getting the value out of it? How am I maintaining the value that’s there?” So, I think that’s part of it. But I think the value-proposition can creep from there. Is that once, foundationally, you have the information on suppliers that you’re utilizing service competencies, the geography coverage and things like that, then there’s more of a role for a value-proposition. And it doesn’t always have to be one step before the other, I always think that value is in the eye of the beholder, and what the organization’s ready for. We have clients that say, “Nope, I’m all in, I want the broader, fuller service, and I’m ready for the change that is going to come with it.” It really just varies.

Jonny Dunning:     23:29       Yeah, I think you can take that all the way through right to genuine understanding of return on investment, but also broader topics like understanding the sustainability and innovation, capabilities, potential levels within your supply chain, which is something I don’t think really people [have]. When it comes to Services Procurement, I don’t think really people have much of a handle on that at the moment. They’re probably missing out on innovation and trending towards go to suppliers, whereas, you know, where they get a program in place, they can create the right visibility, they can make much more informed decisions. But, ultimately, it’s about capturing the process, capturing the information and being able to use that strategically, rather than it just purely being a transaction.

Scott Brewer:         24:14       The other thing I would just add too is the other thing that we’re seeing that’s changing is, and it’s related to COVID to some extent, and also the data breaches and privacy. People typically think, “Well, it’s Services Procurement, I don’t really need to worry about the worker, and where they are and things like that,” that’s changing. So, with some Services Procurement where the workers have to come on-site, facilities management or other items like that. We’re now hearing because of the legislation in the US that there are clients or prospects asking us about validating attestations of health screenings before they access the facilities. And now, it becomes pretty important that when that worker is no longer accessing the client systems, you want them out because you don’t want them lingering in there and opening up a potential data breach. So that’s the other shift I see is that the back-end or the transaction piece has value and now the market is changing to make it even more valuable in some aspects.

Jonny Dunning:     25:15       Yeah, I think it was... Also, the other thing that triggered me to talk about the kind of post-contract phase was when you mentioned during COVID, some contracts getting cancelled. And I guess, what you’re kind of alluding to there was, it’s very difficult if you’re not tracking delivery against what’s been contracted effectively. It’s very difficult to know where you are because in that scenario you either started or finished, and this kind of in-between is a bit of a gray area, I guess. 

Scott Brewer:         25:40       Yeah, it can be. On a material engagement it can be like an open checkbook. If you don’t have some sort of hold back, or some sort of provision tied to that billing element, it just becomes very gray. And the world of agile preaches that where it’s not a waterfall deliverable. It’s like Scrum, and then complete. That environment can be challenging to put in that element of control.

Jonny Dunning:     26:06       Yeah, definitely. When people are working on that kind of iterative basis. Really very interesting, thanks for that. So, Paul, over to you. What are you thinking? What are you seeing at the moment? And I just like to take a slightly different angle with this. Obviously, you’ve sat on within all the different camps and what do you think the market looks like, based on the different angles of the different types of stakeholders that are involved?

Paul Vincent:         26:32       I mean, fundamentally, I think there are two ways to look at your SoW workforce or Service Procurement workforce, you can look at it as a cost or risk that’s got to be minimized. Or you can look at [it] as an asset that’s got to be liberated or optimized. And I think if you look at it in a minimization way, that naturally leads you to a controlling type solution, there you go, you’ll start with how do we define the workers, you will apply procurement rules, you’ll then have a degree of constrained sourcing. Now, you’ll have frustrated people in the supply chain because they’ll feel they’re disengaged from the people who they’re doing the work for. And then, when it comes to the back-end that we’ve talked about, in terms of the tracking, the paying and the evaluating, it becomes much more transactional centered. And I don’t think those types of programs are sustainable, beyond anything that may be causing short-term distress, so if a company is really hemorrhaging money, has got to suddenly make cost savings quickly, then, of course, you need some kind of control-based solution. But as a long-term sustainable program, it’s got to be much more enabling, and this is where you start with the work, you know, what do you want to get done. And then, you have all manner of different options available to that end-user, you’re then creating facilitate your sourcing [that is] really encouraging and incentivizes the supply chain to really work and offer you best value. And then the back-end, this reflects reality, your projects do change, they need to flex, the scope is always properly understood at the start, and stakeholders change, expectations change, resources that you deck against the program will change. And so, you have to acknowledge that there’s going to be natural fluidity. And so that needs to be built into that successful solution. And so, I think more and more as companies look at how they’re getting work done, they need to be much more enabling in their mind. The other thing I would say as a general point is, we talk in the recruitment industry about the employer value proposition. 

Jonny Dunning:     29:00       Yeah. 

Paul Vincent:         29:01       I think from a SoW perspective, it’s all about your customer value-proposition, and you want to be that customer of choice. And with the best one in the world, if you just add the cost of sale, by if you say, unnecessary steps and unnecessary hurdles, you’re not going to make yourself a customer choice. But if you create a smoother, simple way for the supplier to deliver value and to showcase their value they can offer to you, then you’re going to be much more of a honey-pot for the best suppliers in the industry, and that’s where you get a competitive advantage.

Jonny Dunning:     29:39       Yeah, it’s such a great point. I mean, it’s still part of the war for talent. If you’re getting a supplier to deliver the service for you all, whether you’re trying to hire somebody or whether you’re trying to get a contractor to work for you on it. I think that also ties into what I mentioned earlier around things like sustainability, diversity, and the culture of an organization and how good a fit that is in terms of your ESG profile and fit when you look at supply versus the client. And it works both ways. And so, people want to work with the great companies, suppliers want to work with the great companies and companies want to work with the great suppliers. So, I think that’s a really good point that you made there. And its intelligent companies, forward-thinking companies are definitely starting to think like that. But it’s interesting the other point you made around the kind of need for fluidity and the natural kind of knee jerk for some companies to just want to exert control. I think we’re seeing from a tech perspective, we’re seeing a real balance between the kind of need for a really good, easy user interface and the ability to do self-serve. So, you want to make life easier for the supplier as well, you want to make life easier for the buyer. And in some organizations, you might have a completely unmanaged scenario where it’s just all happening, there’s no real control over it. So, therefore, there’s a kind of a gradient to which you can move from a complete self-service scenario through to a very heavily managed and controlled scenario. But in either one, if you’ve got a program in place, you’ve got the right technology in place, then procurement can see what’s going on. So either way, you get a massive win of creating the visibility. And, but, I guess, it kind of depends on the company culture, whether you’ve got a kind of mandate-driven culture, it’s in a highly regulated industry, or whether it’s in a culture where there is a lot more freedom, and it comes back to value again, doesn’t it? Because the service has got to deliver enough value to all parts of the process. So, I would see that as a buyer supplier and procurement stakeholders, and what’s your view on kind of where that sits at the moment in terms of what companies are willing to let stakeholders do by themselves, and on what the kind of appropriate level of control is seen to be?

Paul Vincent:         31:55       Well, I think there’s a difference between doing something which is rules-led, and insight-led. And I think if you have a self-serve program, which is insight-led. So, I mean; an example, so you’re creating a preferred supplier panel. Let’s say you have 10 suppliers there. They’re all pre-validated that they’ve got the expertise in particular areas. So a stakeholder internally wants to appoint someone to do a marketing project. Well, they may have used that supplier three times before. But they may not know that the supplier has suddenly changed some of their key personnel, or compared to the other validated options, they’re the most expensive. And so, what you’re doing is if you can present information to that end-user, at the point they’re making a decision, then you can influence what they do. Now, if at the end of the day is their budget. So, if they still want to appoint the most expensive supplier, that’s their call, but you’re giving them that validated choice from which to make that decision. And so, I think the value of a program, and certainly the value of an organization like us, is to be able to offer those insights to that end-user at the point they’re making that decision. So, you’re bringing all of that together. On the rules basis, yes, you a need really lean, simple, effective workflow through the system. But that on its own isn’t necessarily going to deliver the best value for an organization, you’ve got to inject insight into that process as well. In terms of your question into what types of organizations are doing this, well, if you look at the analyst information, know that financial services and pharma are probably the sectors that are most advanced in their deployment of services procurement support from [Unclear 0:33:56] part of the market. But there’s a huge variety of levels of maturity, and levels of ambition. And so, to make a successful program, I think you need three things. One, you need, obviously, the workflow, the technology, you need the practical appreciation of what good looks like. Then deliver insights into that process. But you also need stakeholders [that] are bold and ambitious enough to really grab the benefits that are there. And without those three things in place, it’s hard to really do a stand-out program. But if you get those three ingredients, then you really can fly.

Jonny Dunning:     34:39       Yeah, I think one area that I find particularly fascinating is looking at the balance between the different stakeholders within an organization. When you start to look at this as what’s the most effective use of all of my resources, how are my resources balanced, how they’re structured? What am I different work delivery channels? How are you seeing that working at the moment in the sense that if you take services, you could view services procurements in kind of a couple of different ways. You could view it purely as this isolated, separate category, which to a certain extent is a unique and distinct category of service delivery. But as [for] the kind of right at the top level, you’re looking at as part of how you get work done within your organization, and you might decide to get some work done using this channel, you might get some work done using another channel. How are you seeing the different stakeholders interact? By that, I mean, at the level of management of this sort of thing, procurement versus talent versus HR and how they’re kind of intermingling? But also, how the C-suite are approaching it?

Paul Vincent:         35:45       So, I think first and foremost, [the] C-suite need to be made more aware of the opportunity that they’re missing out on. There is this belief system that goes back to your point about, say, it’s a minimization of cost and risk. So, they may be quite happy to have a strategic consultancy come in and talk to them about organizational design and organization efficiency, that requires an awful lot of the insight that you would get from a Workforce Solution provider, such as ours. And so, I think we have to do a better job at telling more strategic story, ensuring that those data and the insights that we have is something which is much more meaningful to the C-suite. But I think more generally than that, I think it’s a very easy thing to use as an excuse that procurement and HR don’t talk to each other well enough, or services aren’t run within the contingent stakeholder hierarchy; therefore, nothing can get done. It’s all about how do you really present the benefits to the organization. And if you present it in a way that it’s reality, which is all part of the same ecosystem. It’s just about different ways to actually achieve business results and so you need to look at it as an entirety. I think you start to eliminate some of those tensions in functional perceptions that has caused so many of the delays. And so, I think it’s a road that will need to be watered down for another, probably, two to three years before people get a lot more comfortable in presenting that story, but it’s got to be thought of, it’s a business proposition. 

Jonny Dunning:     37:41       Yeah.

Paul Vincent:         37:41       Not a procurement proposition, or an HR proposition, it’s a business proposition, and it leads to competitive advantage. And you’ve got to couch it in those ways to really grab the impact of the people that need to appreciate it.

Jonny Dunning:     37:58       Yeah, and I think it’s a huge opportunity for procurement teams to get greater recognition and to achieve more kind of strategic power within organizations because they’re just going to be in control of so much data. You know, we talked about insight-led, we talked about the information that this sort of thing is generating these programs and using technology and a service to actually really lift the lid on what you’re doing. That’s powerful information. And I think, I’ve discussed this previously, but just procurement have so much information, and they have so much access because they’re accessing suppliers, so they’ve got the external access, they know what’s going on internally but they also know what the external people think of what’s going on internally, and how they interact with it, and they may understand some of the problems that are coming up internally. And so, just this wealth of information. And I think that’s something that as procurement moves away from a more transactional-based scenario to a more data-driven, strategic opportunity that just feeds in so nicely to the C-suite, where there’s a pivotal point that procurement is controlling that they can really help from kind of a top-level organizational position.

Paul Vincent:         39:13       Sorry, Jonny, I’m not sure, Scott, [Unclear 0:39:15] agreement on this. But there is a difference between having the data and being able to tell a story. And I think that’s one of the things we really are trying to do is to help tell that story, not just present raw data.

Scott Brewer:         39:33       Absolutely, so in our experience, it takes that defining what good looks like by someone who’s seen it work successfully at other clients, I think that’s what we bring. And so, if we can get access to their transaction data, and also to some of their people that are managing the processes today, a specific business case or a solution can be scripted for that client. And it’s funny. People know that they want a solution, but they’re not sure how it’s going to work, or they don’t know specifically how it can function for them. And when we try to sell SoW, it’s a complex concept, it takes several meetings and conversations to understand it, and your stakeholder needs to be able to explain it also, as well in their organization, so it takes a lot to educate them. And then, what we’re finding is they need to help to build the business case. And so, if you can get access to the data, like we were saying, and formulate, “Hey, this is what it could look like. This is information or these suppliers that are shared in other programs. This is how these types of SoW’s can be structured and agreed to,” I think that is defining what good looks like, and a good MSP partner should be willing to come in there and do that prescriptive service for you.

Jonny Dunning:     40:48       Yeah, that’s a great point. It’s kind of ties into this whole chicken and egg scenario because it’s like, you look at some of these clients, and you sort of think, if you had a program in place if you had any idea of what you’re missing out on at the moment, be the risks that you have, and the stuff that could be going on that you’re not aware of. And see, if you understood what it could look like in terms of the information you could utilize, you’d be steaming ahead with this right now. But it’s sometimes hard for people to make that leap, and that’s certainly something that we’ve seen with customers that were working within the market. And interestingly, it’s an area where we found that having technology as a part of a solution, whether that’s within a VMS, or as a separate provision, or stand-alone technology, is something that has really enabled that sales process. Because a picture tells 1000 words, if people can actually look at a process and understand how something works in practice, clearly, there’s more to it [than] just in that workflow. But being able to actually see how something will actually operate tends to set off kind of light bulbs in people’s heads, and certainly in my experience. But just on the subject of the tech side of things within the services procurement marketplace. And, Scott, what’s your view on, what that looks like, at the moment? And what kind of strengths and weaknesses are the current technology landscape in his area?

Scott Brewer:         42:14       Yeah. So, how much time do we have left? So typically, within companies that use in the IRP or Procurement system, they’re also using Adjunct systems at the same time. So, they may be using an HRS system along with a Procurement system, along with some CRM for supplier management. That traditional approach doesn’t work well in terms of an integrated environment, and that’s one of the benefits of the Vendor Management systems that are out there. It brings together what I call the four elements, it’s the worker, the contract, the invoicing, and the supplier performance. It’s all integrated, that’s in there. And so, by having it in one microcosm, and the fact that they’re all interdependent, in terms of the rates that are in the SoW agreement, are actually attached to the worker, and the invoices are attached to the max of that contract in terms of the sum. So having that environment, I think, is one of the bigger advantages. And from a strength perspective, most of the market leading VMSs are able to bring in the full cycle, you’ve got sourcing, contracting all the way through invoice and settlement, so having that in one place is ideal. The pieces that I think are lacking in some of those systems today, for the contracting and the bid functionality, for the most part, it’s pretty clunky from a user experience stand-point, and that it can function, but you need to know how it works, and it’s not very intuitive. Especially when you compare it to other, like the Amazon experience, or even what I’ve seen with other VMSs where it’s cleaner, it’s interactive, it’s guiding you. The VMSs need to learn that, I think, invest in that. And what we’ve seen is that they’re now opening up for integrations because they know other specialty providers have nailed this from a small perspective. And they’re building integrations because I think they’re saying, “Look, we can’t keep pace, or we’re not up there. So, our clients need a way to come in.” And just two other points I’d make about where I think that they can improve is that it’s so important to measure supplier performance, and it’s not just when you are releasing a payment, but they’re also service level agreements across the life of the engagement, there are sometimes also penalties in terms of them not hitting a certain milestone. The VMS has need to get better at that because right now, there are band aids in terms of how to do it, and it needs to be a lot stronger. And then the last piece, I’d say... well, we talked about it, I think the UI experience needs to get better overall because it needs to be more intuitive, like the other systems that buyers are seeing today, in my opinion.

Jonny Dunning:     44:56       Yeah, really interesting. How about you, Paul? What’s your view on the kind of tech landscape? How do you see it now? And what do you think it will look like in 18-months, two years’ time?

Paul Vincent:         45:10       Well, I mean, I will prefer to Scott, in terms of your perspective on the VMS landscape. My view on tech is that I think it’s inevitable that more and more elements of the end to end process can be supported by tech. But I think we also got to recognize that the VMSs are all geared towards their large enterprises that have a lot of expenditure; therefore, how do you support those organizations who are smaller, perhaps less mature, perhaps have less need for that kind of integrated offering, how [do]you still want to buy source as well? So, I think there’s a need for an appreciation of what you need for what type of use case. And then as you get more of an integrated requirement, then obviously, there are many options that you could consider, so I think that’s one point. The second point is that, whilst technology is a great thing, and I absolutely believe that will be much more powered by automated options. When it comes to a selection decision, you’re still buying trust, you’re still buying confidence, you’re still buying empathy, you’re still buying understanding of your requirement. And so, I think technology will largely stick around the workflow element of the process. And I think that final buying decision, even down to filtering that because it’s very hard for some strategy projects, for example, to be able to use technology to really filter the proposal that you’re offering, and the ingenuity that you’re bringing to that requirement. So, I think you have to acknowledge that there’s going to be a part of the services buying cycle which always needs that human interaction because you’re buying trust. Now, when it comes to defining the work, there’s also no creasing opportunity or options out there for how do you help companies through that thought process. So, I think that is also an area of the market where we’re going to see being much more exciting and much more needed. And so, stitching those things together, helping people to define their requirement, giving them the options, [Unclear 0:47:35] helping through their logic, having that workflow takes them through that sourcing decision process. But there has to be a breakout point where technology needs to recognize the limitations of that in the buying process.

Jonny Dunning:     47:53       Yeah, it’s an enabling part of the service, as I say. I mean, obviously, for us, as a pure tech provider, purely in the Services Procurement, Statement of Work arena, something I’m really passionate about is the need for dedicated technology. I think [that] when you’re removing the compromises, you can go much deeper into it. And as this market grows, I think there will be more providers that [will] probably come into the market that, again, are just purely dedicated providers. There’s always going to be, as Scott very rightly put it, the need for that integration, particularly with some of those very high level and very large programs, whether that’s external suppliers, integrating with existing systems or bigger systems that cover multiple areas. But just to pick up on a couple of other points you guys made that I think are quite interesting. Supply performance that’s the sexy bit, that’s the bit that’s the kind of future panacea, that’s the bit that drives all the real strategic real, that’s the future focus, and certainly, for us, with some of the stuff we’re doing around supply performance. But in light of what you said, Paul, about the workflows, you know, you have to do the boring bit to get to the cool bit. And it’s critical that you get... we talked about usability and all that sort of thing. I totally agree with you, Scott, it’s only as good as the adoption. But I think [that] if you capture those workflows in the first place, most companies aren’t doing that effectively at the moment. So that’s a massive leap forward. But once you capture that information, if you do it effectively, it just opens up a whole world of possibilities around things like supply performance and driving those insights.

Paul Vincent:         49:28       So, can I make a point here, I mean, I think you’re right in terms of supply performance being a really important part of the jigsaw. But I would go wider than that. I don’t think it’s just evaluating the performance of the supplier. I think evaluating the performance of the combination. Because we all know how many suppliers are less productive than they could be because they’re not given the environment to be productive inside their client organization. 

Jonny Dunning:     49:56       Is returning... 

Paul Vincent:         49:57       A new way of learning is crucial at the back-end of a project.

Jonny Dunning:     50:01       Yeah, you’re right, ultimately it’s returning an investment. That’s the thing that people really need to understand. And like you say, if people are in the wrong environment, you might have a supplier that is really innovative. But if they’re being grilled about little things, they don’t have the right relationship, it’s quite difficult to be innovative in that type of scenario where you’re sitting in a quarterly business review and getting read the riot act. And so, just going back to one other thing that Scott mentioned earlier, which I think is a really relevant kind of broader point. And I’d be interesting to see how the technology landscape adapts to this, obviously, you’ve got specialist providers that are purely dealing with outcome-based services procured under a Statement of Work, for example. This wider shift to outcome-based for us as a tech provider in this era it feels like the markets coming our way, which is great. But it’s been a really interesting shift. And I think COVID has had a fair amount to do with it, you’ve got things like the gig economy that are driving it as well, with pieces of work being done. But I also think COVID is just it’s driven, it’s increased the understanding and recognition that a lot of this is happening already. But it’s also increased the recognition that it’s actually a very feasible way to get things done. If we look at that from a kind of a market perspective, I’ll start with you, Scott, what do you think have been the key drivers in that kind of shift outcomes-based?

Scott Brewer:         51:32       Yes, I think it’s [Unclear 0:51:33] that we talked about earlier, lessons learned from COVID, about actually proving what you paid for, in the case of default. And then the second one, I really think is going to be the rate inflation of the workers, it’s just going to force it that way. And then, I think it becomes a more relative pay for performance control. So, if you think about it, if I’m tying my payment release to something that’s tangible, I’m holding more of the cards. And so, I think that control is something that is beneficial for the client. The thing is, they have to be more educated on the solution to do that. And so, they have to be more involved. So, it puts a little bit more onus because you have to know what good is, in terms of what your supplier is delivering. And you have to be able to push back and structure the agreement properly. So, there are big gains to be had. It just takes a little bit more onus. I think I’m a buyer to know the product, know what’s coming through and structure it properly. That’s what we’re seeing in the industry so far.

Jonny Dunning:     52:35       Yeah, that makes sense. What about you, Paul? How do you see this being managed, particularly in the context of...? I think traditionally, some people would automatically view outcome-based service delivery as being more expensive than; for example, work being done at a time and materials. Clearly, that’s not necessarily the case because it depends on how long a team or somebody takes to do something. And what are you seeing around that just generally in terms of people’s attitudes?

Paul Vincent:         53:02       Well, it might make you laugh, but I think one of the biggest impacts of COVID has been, you can’t see people working. 

Jonny Dunning:     53:08       Yeah. 

Paul Vincent:         53:08       I mean; how many projects are based around teams of consultants on the customer premise or working in site? And then all of a sudden, you’re not seeing that anymore? So, you’re much more, I guess, aware of what are they doing? Are they working 100% on my project? Or actually, are they giving me 50% of the effort but charging me 100% of the day. So, I think that’s driven in a very natural review of what am I really getting for what I’m paying. I think [that] when it comes to the commercial model, I’ve always been fascinated with this conversation between time-materials and fixed-price. There is such a thing as called a capped time material commercial model. And so, what you’re doing is you need to equate the value that someone is actually giving to you, and how they’re calculated their fee. Now, if I’m going to go and paint a house, I’m going to work out how many days do I think it’s going to take me to paint the house. I’m not going to do that and say, I’m going to charge you; however, many 1000s I’m going to base it on a unit of time. But what I’m going to do is present that to you as a fixed price. So, I’m giving you that surety. Now, I’ve been taking a risk that it might take me longer to paint the house, or actually I might be benefit because it’s going to take me less time. But the judgment call isn’t to just use that dimension of the commercial model. It’s to say, “Well, am I paying for someone’s effort? Or am I paying for someone to give me something or deliver me something?” And if you orchestrate whatever commercial terms, you have around the giving me something that’s when you’re really thinking of not wanting outcome footing. But that whole idea of achieving them, when a SoW can’t be based on TLM, this is one of the glorious misperceptions that I think has infected this area for years.

Jonny Dunning:     55:19       Yeah, I mean, there’s definitely a divide between needing an individual and needing something to be done. The fact is, something being done is still going to take a certain amount of time of somebody with a certain expertise. But, clearly, it’s a different way of pricing and delivering a service. But I think when you look at it through the lens of kind of employment tax law, and some of the stuff we’re seeing in the UK around the IR35, reforms, seeing in the in Germany around the AEG laws, and in the US [Unclear 0:55:55] versus W2, it’s about whether it’s an entity or an individual and kind of know-how that works been delivered. So, I think people get scared by the nuances of it. But when you boil it down to the simple practicalities, you know, you make a good point. And so, what about the obstacles then? So, there’s clearly a huge amount to be gained. And there’s a much lower level of maturity in the adoption of the services, and probably just the general maturity of the services, and certainly, the tech environment, compared to the traditional contingent workforce. But what would you see, I’ll start with you, Paul, what would you see as the main hurdles at the moment for just getting clients started with the program?

Paul Vincent:         56:43       I don’t have the data, and I don’t have a remit, and I define things differently. So, I might have a consultant and our contractor doing exactly the same work. But I treat them differently in my organization, and I call them something different. And all of these things are reasons not to do something. And that’s when I talked about this, any solution that starts with a work definition is destined to disappear in a black hole. Because it’s an artificial distinction. Now, yes, from a legal perspective, as you just said, Jonny, there are different ways of defining organizations and service providers. But when it comes to how they do work in an organization, it becomes any permutation. And so... But my marketing sample, I want someone to come in and do a marketing strategy for me. Okay. What’s my choice? I have a multitude of different types of service provision, and there’s a way of engaging those people. But I’m not going to start with I use a consultant for marketing strategy, rather than a contract of it. Do you see what I mean? And I think that’s the problem where people get so hung up on definitions and the way things are internally counted that it creates inertia and just procrastination. I think the other thing that we often find is because you’re looking at different types of expenditure, and organizations are bound to be different in their levels of maturity around IT versus facilities or versus utilities. And what we need to do is say, “Well, how do you want to deal with those different types of spend, and have maybe a different throughput, a different level of patient acceleration in terms of what you want to do there?” But you don’t want to do it in a way that means the customer has so many choices that they don’t know where to start? So, I think it’s simplifying this fact of what do you want to get done. Here are all the different options you can think about. The funnel is to use those options in the most compliant and accessible way. But your main, your first decision is, what do I want to do? And then, everything is funnels from there.

Jonny Dunning:     59:12       Yeah, so again, this is something that I’ve certainly heard a lot and said a lot myself, “it’s about the work, not the worker,” and that’s got to be the start point. But I think also when you’re talking about the kind of obstacles, it’s interesting to hear, and I agree with you that there are definitely things that I’m kind of hearing and coming across within the market. The other side of it was this kind of mid-market factor, which also translates into what about the big companies that don’t want to do the whole thing in a big bang. And that’s where I think there’s some interesting opportunities for people to get started without the hurdle being too high, and without them feeling like it’s a massive risk, or it’s a giant transformation, whereas actually, for them to be able to go to the C-suite and get justification to do a giant program. They’re better off starting by getting started. 

Paul Vincent:         1:00:02    Oh, cool. I mean every day of the week, Johnny, you’re absolutely right. I mean, Rome wasn’t built in a day. So, you’ve got to pick those areas of your need which you think you can get the most benefit from. And those are things which are often the most fragmented. Or you have the widest potential supplier choice, or know the things where you know that you end up with a lot of trade control, and so those are the things you try to look for. Because you know that bringing those things together in a coordinated fashion, I get to deliver benefit to those end-users. And I think it’s not necessarily what are we spending most on. It’s where our end-users are not getting the most value. And I think [that] if you start there, and then you’re building on success, then you kind of lead up to something bigger. So, you wouldn’t ever sort of go all in one go.

Jonny Dunning:     1:01:02    Have you seen much success in kind of like pilots that maybe start in one geography, and then move into other areas is that what you would expect to see of you? Or is it more a question of [whether it] is going to be within a particular division of an organization is more likely to be a particular burning part of spend?

Paul Vincent:         1:01:23    It is a depends on answer. I mean, if you’ve got a global category lead; for example, they are going to probably want to do something that you can benchmark, and so you will try and do something to a standard point. But it might well be that a particular geographical area dominates in terms of their use of a particular type of service provider or a different type of service. And so, it really does all depend on where the opportunity is, and what the profile of spent usage looks like. Would you agree, Scott?

Scott Brewer:         1:02:03    Yeah, I would. Oftentimes, you’ll just go after IT because it’s usually the largest indirect category, and it’s usually one that is centralized and can lend itself that way. But it does vary in terms of what the client is trying to secure and optimize and get the value out of the program. It’s very much prescriptive on what needs to be put in place. The thing that has to be balanced on this, and I guess this is sort of the elephant in the room, there’s the element of the implementation cost versus what’s coming into the first scope. So, a pilot can be great, but sometimes the implementation effort to put and stand it up can be just as expensive as a bigger one, not in all cases. But it’s just something that needs to be factored from a cost versus return perspective. And usually, what we’d like to try to do is to say, “Let’s not make it a pilot, let’s just make it phase one.” We’re going to structure this agreement; we’re going to go after all these other categories. We’re going to start with this one, but it’s not, we’re going to stop and pause. It’s the mindset that we’re going [to have], and we’re just going to use this one as sort of the proof of concept. But it really it’s step one to step two.

Jonny Dunning:     1:03:09    Yeah, it makes sense. And Scott, from your side, what do you see, other than what Paul’s just described? Would you agree with that with regards to the hurdles that there are that are stopping clients from getting started at the moment or getting in the way of that? 

Scott Brewer:         1:03:23    Yeah, I agree with all of them. And I think we may have talked about this earlier, it’s educating your client on what the offering can be and what they want. So, it’s getting in the door and articulating it, and you have to teach the solution. And then, the other thing I probably may have mentioned this is that there are different decision-makers in this process, there’s not one owner of SoW. And I’m quoting your line, Paul, is that it’s spread across different functions and organizations, so you have to find out what the value proposition is for whoever you’re getting an audience with. For HR, [there] could be those worker compliance, things that I talked about earlier, other pieces, so it’s about getting a groundswell, when you’re selling it, you’ve got to figure out, “Okay, who am I getting access to? And where can I get a groundswell across multiple points in the organization?” And I think that when you figure that out, and if you’re getting access to those people and their data, then I think it’s a recipe for success.

Jonny Dunning:     1:04:20    Yeah, absolutely. So, one last thing I want to kind of cover off before we wrap things up was geographical changes. And so, Scott, in terms of the trends you’ve seen from a geographical base. I mean, my personal opinion, is that the US is ahead of certainly the UK and Europe, when it comes to generally using Statement of Work on a fairly sophisticated level, partly because some of the legislative processes are already in place in the US, it feels a bit more like a common way of getting things done, would you agree with that and what sort of geographical trends are you seeing within customers?

Scott Brewer:         1:05:01    Yeah, for sure we say, the US is just the more mature market, and it has been. But we’re seeing an expansion grow outside in EMEA, and APAC. And what we’re seeing is our clients that we have already in the US, they’re now adding the pieces. We start with the US, and now we’re adding those pieces. So, it’s incremental adds of an existing multinational client. I think with IR35 prep, it’s raising more attention, it’s making people think about proper work arrangements. So, I think that’s driving more interest that we’re seeing in the proposals. And we’re seeing it more and more in terms of requests to bring it in, and it’ll get there for sure. And with APAC, we really haven’t seen much, but now we’re starting to hear, like within Australia and New Zealand that there’s a groundswell coming. It’s small, but it should be coming over time. So, I think it’s just a matter of time and maturity when those markets will grow organically.

Jonny Dunning:     1:05:57    Yeah, it’s interesting when you look at some of those external factors, like the IR35 reforms, and things like COVID, but also big changes, like Brexit, you know, that’s gonna cause and already is causing significant skill shortages, to compound the existing skill shortages that you already have in places like the UK. So that’s definitely the kind of things that definitely push the agenda. And I would expect, certainly with the kind of IR35 type legislation, I’d expect that to be more of an issue globally as we progress. What’s your take on that, Paul, in terms of the kind of geographical trends and changes that you’ve seen?

Paul Vincent:         1:06:37    I’d agree with both of you what you just said, I mean, I think the US definitely a more natural part of a program that is now becoming less of a [Unclear 1:06:49] section, in other parts of the globe. But organizations will work at different paces. And I think, have you taken me out there are so many different individual countries that you need to bear in mind from a legislative point of view. It’s not easy to kind of piece everything together as a single-track solution. So, I think it’s complexity that breeds, how quickly you can go. I don’t think there’s a lack of intent. I think it’s just about the practicalities of how do you roll these things out, across the entirety of your program or state, but that’s part of our job, it’s to help educate. Scott was saying, to give people that roadmap that they can feel comfortable, is achievable.

Jonny Dunning:     1:07:40    So, talking about roadmaps and taking things forward, just to kind of wrap up the conversation. Scott, what are your kind of key predictions for what you expect to see happening in this market over the next kind of six months, and then the next 12 to 18 months?

Scott Brewer:         1:07:57    Yeah. So, as I said before, I think outsource services buying will just continue to be a large portion, and the market is definitely going to be there. I think more clients are going to want more consultative support procurements being asked to do more with less, I think they’re going to look for providers and technologies that can help with that piece. So, I think that’s going to be a growing market for MSP providers like us. And then third piece, contract AI. And so, I really think there is a groundswell that will be coming in terms of intelligent technology that can help that SoW creator guide them towards the proper SoW construct. And then, the second piece is the elements of the contract itself is that... And it’s so interesting, a lot of our clients will still do Microsoft Word for legal, it’s this thing that for drafting the contracts legal just can’t get their hands off of it. So, there’s always going to be some element of contracts that are pre-negotiated there on Word or PDFs. That’s I think the other piece of AI is that I think they’ll be even more focused on assessing the risk that are in existing contracts and using that to manage it. So, like Paul said, I don’t think it’s going to replace the human factor in the decision factor. It’s just going to be another tool that a services procurement provider will use to provide additional value.

Jonny Dunning:     1:09:23    Really interesting. I like that. How about you, Paul, if we get that kind of crystal ball out what are your predictions?

Paul Vincent:         1:09:33    Well, I mean, I agree with everything that Scott said in terms of technology. I think there’s going to be some paradigm breakages going on. And I think you know, the classic perception is that Associate Procurement program has to be initiated by procurement. So, I think that’s going to break. I think no organizations are going to see that there is a business need and procurement functions are going to be critical stakeholders but they won’t always be the ones that will initiate this particular need. And we know it’s going to be a jar that I think will take more of a dominant involvement. But I also think that Transformation programs organizationally are going to start to look at this as being an opportunity to devalue. I also think that this whole idea of it’s a cost-driven solution, we’ve got to get away from that, it’s all about increasing value, and perceived value to whoever is that end client. So I think, and I hope that’s going to really start to become more of a default mentality. And I think the third thing is that it’s really about your bravery. Organizations need to push past some of this, it’s too hard; therefore, I’m not going to do everything. Every organization on the planet spends money on services, and every organization on the planet wants to do well because if they do well, that’s going to help them become more competitive in the market. So, I think you have to push past this, it’s too difficult to it’s something that, of course, we should want to do, let’s find the best way to do it. And I think those are the paradigm shifts which I hope, in two to three years’ time, we’ll start to see a real shift.

Jonny Dunning:     1:11:29    Yeah, really interesting. I mean, when you mentioned the point about the value that certainly echoed in conversations I have with; for example, Chief Procurement Officers, Chief Financial Officers who want to address this with value-based decisions, rather than cost-based decisions. And when you talk about programs being initiated by different stakeholders within organizations, I think that’s something, they’ve probably already starting to happen. But procurement is still obviously sitting very centrally within that. I think my main prediction for all of us is that we’re going to be very busy indeed. 

Paul Vincent:         1:12:09    I think so.

Jonny Dunning:     1:12:09    It’s a great time to be focused on this market. There’s a huge amount of growth and a huge amount of opportunity. And I think like you say, getting past this is too hard. Sometimes stuff just comes along that just forces companies to make a change, and that could be a regulatory change, it could be a global level change, like COVID, various factors of which there are multiple going on at the moment. So, I think [that] for me, I see it as a kind of a pivotal time in the way that the market is shifting. And so, no doubt we will be very busy indeed over the next couple of years. But listen, guys, I will wrap things up there. I really appreciate you taking the time. It was a fascinating discussion. Great to get your insights. And I look forward to seeing how things pan out over the next few months. I wish you guys all the best with everything. And let’s stay in touch and maybe have another conversation along these lines at some point in the near future. 

Paul Vincent:         1:13:09    Great conversation. Thank so much for having us. 

Scott Brewer:         1:13:12    Thanks, Johnny. 

Jonny Dunning:     1:13:12    Super Cheers, guys.

Scott Brewer:         1:13:14    Bye.

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