Since we last covered IQNavigator and their IQ-based Navigation of Contingent Labour Sourcing in 2008, IQNavigator has been hard at work extending their platform and its capabilities to go beyond temporary and contingent labour and also handle project and SOW (Statement-of-Work) sourcing events and the full SOW life-cycle.
Project and SOW sourcing projects, even if they consist primarily of contingent labour, are different from standard contingent labour sourcing events in that a third party is managing the project, payments are (typically) on a different schedule and have to be tracked against a budget, and named resources need to be tracked. The entire process, from RFX, through contract generation and award, to project management and delivery is different.
The customizations in the IQNavigator platform start with the initial RFX creation, which begins with a wizard-based decision-tree workflow. This Decision Manager is customizable by the organization for each type of SOW project that it undertakes, that, based on a series of questions, will configure the proper RFX for the project in question. This series of questions (that can be customized by each client organization), which could be as simple as asking the user to identify the location where the services are required, the category of the work (IT, engineering, advertising, etc.), the length of the project, the expected budget (range) required, and the approvals required, will, once completed, initiate an RFX workflow that will incorporate the necessary elements of the SOW project. The Decision Manager solution was designed to focus on two things:
- Delivering the end user to the correct channel (or category) based on Procurement’s operational and/or vendor preferences and
- Placing the end user at the optimal point of the defined category workflow based on the end user’s responses
Depending on the answers given, the RFX will include sections for the definition of milestones, budgets, rate tables, (open) supplier selection, support for named resources, questionnaires, and / or required submissions (such as insurance certificates) from the supplier to be considered for the project. The user will then be walked through the definition of the RFX for the SOW project step-by-step (by way of a pre-configured RFX or SOW template).
Milestones are up to the individual who creates the project, can be tied to a budget line item, and associated with one or more deliverables. Budgets can be as simple as an overall budget for the project, or as detailed as a budget category for each deliverable associated with each milestone (if the project is being paid for on a deliverable basis) or by (named) resource if the project is being conducted on a time-and-materials basis.
Suppliers can quickly be selected from a drop-down search box if the organization has (pre)approved suppliers for the SOW project in question, and if the suppliers have provided rate tables, these rate tables can be automatically pulled in and presented back to the supplier (to verify) during their bid. In addition, if the supplier has previously specified named resources, these named resources can be pre-populated as well. Depending on the project, they buyer may also have the option to add additional suppliers (which will be invited to bid on the project as well).
Questionnaires can also be selected from a set of standard pre-existing questionnaires associated with the type of project being sourced. They can be distributed as-is or modified as required. In addition, the user can create their own questionnaire if one doesn’t exist that fits the bill.
When the RFX is complete to the user’s satisfaction, it is sent to the supplier who logs in and completes a bid to their satisfaction. If the supplier has already defined their rate tables and named resources and uploaded their insurance certificates, bidding on the project by the supplier could be as simple as identifying the resources who will complete the work, providing work estimates and proposed fees, and accepting the (automatically calculated) budget.
When all of the supplier responses have been obtained, the buyer, who can choose to analyze each response individually, can also evaluate the responses side by side in a comparison report that includes the (budget) elements of interest and then select one of the responses as the basis of a project award. At this point, the application can generate a draft contract based upon a template that pulls in all of the collected information, and includes any necessary documents in appendices. And if the supplier has signed a MSA (Master Services Agreement) with the buyer that authorizes password-based named-login approvals in the IQNavigator SOW platform as e-Signatures, the contract can be accepted online and work can begin immediately.
The entire SOW application is streamlined to make the sourcing and approval of SOW projects as easy as possible for the project manager, while incorporating as many best practices as possible, which allows the project manager to focus her time on what she does best — managing projects and not running sourcing events.
Then, once the SOW project has been awarded, the project manager can use the rest of the IQNavigator platform to track project progress against milestones, collect time sheets, approve time sheets and expenditures, make payments against project budget categories, and track overall supplier performance. The reporting engine can be used to run reports at any time and the dashboard can be used to monitor current action items and outstanding project milestones and deliverables.
The inclusion of SOW capability makes IQNavigator an end-to-end platform for managing all types of contingent labour required by your organization, whether such labour is managed in house or by a third party. The IQNaviagor approach to SOW is unique, and it is the most thorough solution for generic SOW sourcing events in a contingent labour solution that SI has seen to date.
The IQNavigator platform is a great way to get all of your labour-based spend under management in one platform.