Exploring technology for SOW-based services procurement


The SIG Procurement Technology Summit, being held online this week, has been providing its attendees with an immersion in “industry trends, innovations and solutions that are shaping high-performance teams and best-in-class procurement organizations.” While procurement is responsible for efficiently securing materials, goods and services, procurement of SOW-based services may be one area in which fit-for-purpose technology is wanting. SIG was not about to miss this gap.

On Tuesday, I attended a session, “Services Catalogs, Automating the SOW Build and Deep Analytics” held by Jon Kesman, Head of Procurement Solutions at Allegis Global Solutions (AGS) and Jamie Proctor, CEO and co-Founder of WorkRails. The purpose of the session was to demonstrate how technology could be used to create a simple but powerful proof-of-concept of a “req to contract” solution for buying services. 

On the one hand, the business user wants an easy, quick way to purchase a service that is needed. On the other hand, procurement wants to ensure compliance with a preferred supplier list and other requirements, while managing cost and risk.

The front end of the solution was based on WorkRail’s technology (i.e., platform functionality), enabling guided buying based on decision-tree rules, the creation of an e-commerce-like services catalog and the ability to create an SOW contract — with some enhanced features. 

The back end of the solution was based on AGS’ proprietary DocuSifter capability that reads and “turns contracts into data,” using NLP, ML technologies and a proprietary taxonomy. It also provides a repository for contract documents and, more importantly, supports real-time analytics of individual contracts/SOWs and aggregate analysis. Visibility into services spend is supported, as is how contracts and terms are being used analyzed with the aim of optimization. 

The art of the possible was amply demonstrated in the session. And procurement of services is a spend area where we expect to see more solutions in the coming years. Check out our recent commentary on the future of services procurement: 2020 Predictions for Services Procurement: Scenarios and Black Swans.

The SIG Summit continues all week, and registrants can join sessions or review past sessions on-demand. Register here.



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