What is the resource centre and who owns it?

Could the concept of a work triage help organisations make better resourcing decisions and take us closer to real strategic workforce planning?

Posted by: ZivioReading time: 6 minutes

The UK has experienced a perfect storm of change that's pushing organisations to reconsider how they get things done. Brexit, IR35 and COVID-19 are asking questions about current ways of working, the value of every investment and how organisations structure and manage their workforce, external suppliers and contingent resources.
For example, with many organisations moving to 100% remote working, how should workloads be managed if you can't see people working? Does it make sense to measure people's performance against outcomes instead of their presence in an office?
And for services procurement, the mounting cost pressures mean it's no longer enough to just stick to a budget. Every investment needs to be able to prove a return.
What needs to get done? And what's the most effective way of doing it?
Despite the very real need for organisations to cut unnecessary costs, the 'new normal' marketplace has highlighted the importance of innovation, agility and resilience. In other words, organisations still need to create, develop and find new ways to meet customer demands. 
To balance this innovation-cost equation, organisations need more clarity on what outcomes they need to deliver, and the most effective way to do this. For some projects, permanent employees might be the right choice, for others it could mean packaging up the requirements and outsourcing to a supplier through an outcome-based statement of work.
But how does a large organisation decide? This is where the resource centre comes in.
Work triage
To correctly marry an outcome with the correct delivery method, an organisation needs complete visibility of both elements:
·      What is the outcome? How is it going to be measured? What impact does it have on the business? How urgent is the need?
·      What resources are available? Where do our skills sit? Who has done this before successfully? Where has capacity? What does it cost?
With a detailed understanding of both sides, it is possible to triage any project to decide its priority and the appropriate resourcing strategy.
In practical terms, this holistic view needs a layer between the business unit/budget holder's requirement and the resource. It is in this layer where the resource centre operates – triaging all project requests before they reach an HR or Procurement function.
Implementing the resource centre requires best-of-breed tech
Technology plays a key role in the operation of a resource centre. Firstly, it should provide a complete, holistic view of the organisation's requirements and then provide insight and reporting to make better resourcing decisions.
These requirements present a very strong case for integrating best of breed technology, rather than try to squeeze everything into one. For example, the software for managing a permanent workforce would not be able to cope with managing even the simplest project outsourced via a statement of work.
Best of breed software is required to provide the detailed visibility the resource centre needs for a couple of reasons:
1-    Adoption – the software must be easy to use and a provide a frictionless experience for their model-specific workflows to ensure users accurately record data
2-    Specificity – Each workforce channel has unique metrics or dimensions to consider. For example, Zivio's specific focus on services procurement and statement of work means it collects and measures milestones, variation orders and supplier performance in a level of detail not possible in a VMS.
With these two main boxes ticked, the resource centre can start to build the necessary richness of information to make effective decisions and recommendations.
Who owns the resource centre?
The question of HR, Procurement and Operations alignment in outcome-based workforce models is something we've discussed plenty of times – and it's not a simple one to answer.
To be able to a make a data-driven decision on what's the best way to deliver an outcome, the resource centre need both a holistic and cross-functional understanding of the organisation: how to consider outputs, milestones as well as job specs and roles; Supplier capabilities; Finance's capex, opex and cashflow constraints.
HR, Procurement and Finance are currently managing these considerations but often in siloes. For example, HR have the right tools, skills and experience to manage a permanent employee, but will not be as effective as their Procurement colleagues at managing an RFx process to engage a 3rd party supplier.
In addition, these individual departments also often lack the executive level mandate to effect real change. For example, enforcing a competitive tender process and resisting the pressures to appoint a supplier based on a c-level relationship. Or having the ability to challenge the 'contractor that's been in role for 15 years'.
In reality, the resource centre needs to be a cross-functional committee, with a mandate from the very top, that leverages HR, procurement, finance expertise with a layer of AI or automation. 
The ownership and control of the resource centre may not ultimately report up into a specific department, but it clearly needs to combine the skills, responsibilities and perspectives of them all. 
MSPs could be a solution worth considering seriously
For large organisations with complex multi-channel workforces, the MSP has been a core part of getting things done for a long time. And as outcome-based SoW based work becomes a core capability of more and more MSPs and recruitment businesses, using an external MSP or consultancy to provide a resource centre service has some interesting potential upsides. 
The primary benefit being that the organisation is able to pull on wider resourcing experience and performance data the MSP has at its disposal. Being able to lean on the MSPs'/consultancy's experience from other industries or verticals could significantly shorten the learning curve when figuring out the best way to deliver a specific outcome or project.


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