In Friday’s post we told you not to use a sub-standard sourcing solution for services sourcing because, in the end, you won’t realize the value you expect or collect the data you need to make better awards in the process. And we know that left you with questions because all the big platforms you know don’t do services, or at least do not do services well.
So, today, we provide one answer to that problem — Zivio, a relatively new player that specializes in complex services sourcing, that is Best of Breed, and that meets the requirement of being able to integrate into an existing platform or ecosystem that contains open APIs and that can accept all of the data it can capture, generate, and exchange, with its complete, open, APIs.
Zivio was designed to manage the entire process from initial project creation through supplier onboarding, selection, and approval to milestone tracking and management to close-out, final bill-out and reporting. Each step of the process is designed to be easy to use and efficient and makes use of any existing templates and knowledge in the tool, using AI where (and only where) appropriate.
Their new project definition wizard, called ScopeIQ, is designed for quick Statement of Work (SoW) creation and all a requisitioner has to do is enter a few short sentences with the most relevant keywords and the solution will suggest a title based upon similar projects in the past, which the user can accept or edit, and then, using past project descriptions (from the company and publicly available datasets), it will use AI to assemble a project description and statement of work that the user can then review and edit. If the organization does a number of similar projects, it works exceptionally well and the starting statements of work and project descriptions are quite good and often need little editing (comparatively speaking).
Once the user has accepted the SoW, they can complete the project definition by defining the appropriate metadata (category, subcategory, budget, milestones, project release date, bid closing date, award criteria, etc.) and send the project out for bid. The system can automatically identify the best suppliers based on project categorization, milestones, and past performance on similar project and the user can select these suppliers and invite them to bid with just one click.
When the bids are submitted, the users can see an overarching summary and select a sub-set for side-by-side comparison. At any time before award, the buyer can easily modify the project description and add or modify milestones. Milestones can also be added and modified after award with the right approvals and agreement from both parties.
The product has good supplier management, performance management, and approval management, especially around supplier onboarding, milestone approvals, and payment approvals. By default, the platform tracks on time performance, operational best practice, and on budget metrics by supplier, but can be configured on implementation to track more. It also computes an overall score for easy ranking purposes (which can also be customized on implementation). When it comes to reports, there are a large number of project, milestone, supplier, and financial reports out-of-the-box, and more can be easily configured on implementation. Plus, as the platform was built to integrate with your existing S2P/ERP platform / ecosystem, it can push all of the data out to an external tool where you can do additional reporting and analysis.
But the best part about the tool is the ability to define complex services projects to any level of detail needed, with as many milestones, tasks, and approvals as required, customized for the project, with breakdown costing and interim payments as needed. And then to log into the system at any time, see where a project is, see where all projects are with a supplier or where all suppliers are with a set of related projects. And the ability to quickly bring up summary reports of relevance to the appropriate level of detail at any time. It’s project based sourcing and it works great, especially when you’ve defined your first few projects and the system can use (and learn) from those templates and suggest SoWs, suppliers, and steps for you. It’s what general services sourcing should be.
Now, before we sign off, we should make it clear that we are not saying that Zivio is the only solution (especially as we’re sure we will see more in the months and years ahead as more people realize how critical proper services sourcing is), or the solution for every business (as there are custom solutions for Legal, Marketing, and SaaS, that we will be covering in our Source-to-Pay is Extensive series), but that Zivio is a solid general purpose solution for an organization with a wide array of services needs that should be considered if the organization does not have a services sourcing solution. It could be the right solution for your organization and, if it is, given the typical overspend in services categories, that means you should have been using it yesterday!