Selected Insights from the Hackett Best Practices Conference

Despite talking to Hackett personnel for years, including the one and only Pierre Mitchell, it was the first time I made The Hackett Best Practices Conference. It was interesting, to say the least. I took lots of notes and will probably write a number of posts over the next few weeks, but for those of you who missed it and are anxious to find out what you missed, here are a few takeaways until Thomas* (who is the new Analyst at Spend Matters) and I have a chance to collect our thoughts and publish a more detailed analysis on our respective platforms. (We’re still waiting for a deep dive into the new Hackett Peformance Exchange.)

Do more with less and grow at the same time (or at least add more value)
is the new mantra for Procurement and (Shared) Service Organizations.

Despite the uncertainty and volatility of the market, many organizations believe now is the time for growth while simultaneously believing that they still need to conserve (or is that hoard) cash. As a result, they are tasking every organization to achieve growth without an increase in budget or headcount.

Talent is on everyone’s mind.

The leaders / world class organizations can’t find talent. The average performers / Hackett “peer group” can’t afford talent. And the laggards / those below the median can’t get their cost of temporary / contract labour low enough.

Strategic Sourcing / Procurement has become so complex at the leaders that they can’t find anyone that fulfills the job description, regardless of what they are willing to pay. The average performer, where sourcing and/or procurement is moderately complex and can be done by someone who worked for a leading organization, as a result of the budget crunch brought on by the downtown, can’t lure the talent they need away from the leaders who will, literally, pay whatever it takes to keep the talent they have. And laggards, with rising cost of oursourced labor in “emerging” economies that, in many ways, have “emerged” in their own right, can’t keep costs down (as they haven’t moved to an appropriate global services model and learned how to be more cost effective with more higher paid workforces who are more skilled and can realize exponential efficiency gains with automation).

Transitioning to Global Services Model is a Journey.

And it will take you longer to realize sustainable value than just throwing work over the wall to a GPO or outsourcing to India. If you’re a large organization, you’re generally looking at a minimum of two years to realize any sustainable value and five years to maximize value from efficiency and effectiveness if you’re doing it right.

While everyone likes to talk about their success, few will talk about their failures.

Not a single speaker didn’t tout the success of the finance / services / procurement organization over the last X years, due at least partly (if not largely) to Hackett’s help and expertise in benchmarking and best practices. However, not every speaker would openly discuss lessons learned (as that would imply some roadblocks / failures). Only a few would talk about mishaps or false steps along the way (and a shout out to Rick Wertsching of Disney for wlling to be candid in this regard) and only one speaker (of the presentations I attended) was willing to not only admit that they weren’t world class, but show exactly how they compared to world class (even though they aren’t yet anywhere close to where they need to be). (And major kudos to Thomson Reuters for being completely honest about the fact that while they have made great progress in the last 4 years, they still have a journey of at least 4 years ahead of them.)

If you want Spend Matters to attend and cover your event,
the surest way to get their involvement is to make sure Sourcing Innovation has already committed.

*I’m thrilled that Jason added Thomas to the Spend Matters team. His technical prowess is a great complement to Jason’s business savvy and provides a solid foundation for Spend Matters to become the next great Analyst 2.0 firm.