Strategic Sourcing & Procurement for Technology Cost Optimization

Given that we recently published a piece noting that Roughly Half a Trillion Dollars Will Be Wasted on SaaS Spend This Year and up to One Trillion Dollars on IT Services, it’s obvious that one has to be very careful with technology acquisition as it is very easy to overspend on the license and the implementation for something that doesn’t even solve your problem.

As a result, you need to be very strategic about it. While you certainly can’t put the majority of your technology acquisitions (which can be 6, 7, and even 8 figures) up for auction (as products are never truly apples to apples to apples), you definitely have to be strategic about it. As a result, you should be doing multi-round RFPs and then awarding to the vendor who brings you the best overall value for the term you want to commit to, once all things are considered.

But these have to be well thought out … you need to make sure that you are only inviting providers that are likely to meet 100% of your must haves, 80% of your should haves, and 60% of your nice to haves (and, moreover, that you have really separated out absolute vs highly desired vs wanted but not needed because the more you insist on, especially when it’s not necessary, the shallower the vendor pool, and the more you are going to end up paying*).

To do this, as the article notes, you have to know what processes you need to support, what improvements you are expecting, what measurements you need the platform to take, and what business objectives it needs to support. Then you need to align your go-to-market sourcing/procurement strategy with those objectives and make sure the RFP covers all the core requirements (without asking 100 unnecessary questions about features you’ll never actually use in practice).

You also need to know what quantifiable benefits the platform should deliver, both in terms in tactical work(force) reduction (as the tech you acquire should be good at thunking), and the value that will be obtained from the strategic enablement (in terms of analysis, intelligence gathering, guided events, etc.) the platform should deliver. If it is a P2P platform, how much invoice processing is it going to automate, and, based on that, how much is it going to reduce your average invoice processing cost? If it’s a sourcing platform, how much more spend will you be able to source (without increasing person-power) and what is a reasonable savings percentage to expect on that? Understand the value before you go to market.

Then you need to understand how much support and help you need from the vendor. If you just want a platform that does a function, then you just need to know the vendor can support the platform in supporting that function. But if you need help in process transformation or optimization, customized development or third party tool integration for advanced/custom processes, etc. you need a vendor that cannot only provide services, but also be a strategic provider for you as well.

And so on. For more insights, we suggest you check out a recent article by Alix Partners on Strategic Sourcing and Procurement for Technology Cost Optimisation. It has a lot of great advice for those starting their strategic procurement technology journey.

*Just remember, if you’re a mid-market, and you’re flexible (i.e. define what a module needs to accomplish for you vs. a highly specific process) you can get your absolute functionality and most of your desired functionality for 120K in annual SaaS license fees, excluding data feeds and services. If you’re not flexible, or not really strict in really separating out absolute vs strongly desired vs nice-to-have, you can easily be paying four times that.

Also remember, if you’re enterprise, your absolutes and strongly desired are much more extensive, typically require a lot more advanced tech (like optimization, predictive analytics, ML/AI, etc.), and licenses fees alone will cost you in the 500K to 1M range annually at a minimum, not counting the 100K to 1M you will need to spend on the implementation, data cleansing and enrichment, integration, training, and real-time data feed access, so it is absolutely vital you get it right!