Category Archives: Services

Affordable RFPs – The Real Reason(s) They Are So Rare, Part 1

Two articles ago, we noted that The Key to Procurement Software Selection Success: Affordable RFPs! was critical to getting the right technology to help manage your complex supply chain. This was because a proper RFP required a LOT of understanding to get it right, including, but not limited to:

  • Procurement Maturity
  • Process Maturity
  • (Critical) Use Cases
  • Current Technical Maturity
  • Missing Capabilities
  • Key Solution Types to Address the Gap(s)
  • Key Existing Solutions to Maintain
  • Globalization Requirements
  • Service Requirements
  • Unique Organizational Requirements (less than you think, but those that exist are situation critical)

And this required a breadth of understanding across

  • the market
  • process evolution
  • use case specification
  • … including what must be technology backed
  • … and what should be technology or data enhanced
  • common module/solution types that mind the gap
  • internal foundations
  • the unique requirements, regulations, and resignations of each country you do business in
  • the services your team, and current partners, can and can’t do — even service specializations you didn’t know exist
  • what other organizations do

And most of this you won’t have in house. So you need Affordable RFPs. But we know all too well that you are all asking Affordable RFPs — What Are Those? because, as far as you know, they don’t exist. And we hear you, because they don’t exist at the Big X, rarely exist at the mid-size consultancies the next tier down (because only a select few from their talent pool can do it efficiently and relatively cost-effectively and they are going to be dedicated to any F500/G3000 that could afford a Big X to keep them as a client), and unless you are a larger mid-size buying a mini-suite, they don’t even exist at the Niche Consultancies where they should be common.

We also spent a fair amount of time explaining why they don’t exist, even though one would think that they should be readily available at the niche consultancies (as this could not only make those niche consultancies true leaders in Procurement but also help them grow). In this last case, it was because it was typically only their senior resources that could do these projects, and since these projects aren’t currently quick to complete, it doesn’t take long for a senior resource day rate to add up. And, as we noted before, while this won’t be that much when you are larger mid-sized organization looking for a mini-suite or suite, if you’re just looking for one or two modules to fill a gap, this could add up to quite a bit.

So if this is the case, why are we telling you that Affordable RFPs are the answer if they’re almost impossible to find?


  1. they are the answer,
  2. they would be affordable at Niche Consultancies if those niche consultancies stopped thinking like consultants and started thinking like enhanced product-and-data-based SaaS Management Providers, and
  3. they only require knowledge management and expert augmentation to get it right.

So what would a Niche Consultancy have to do to get it right?

We’ll outline that in our next part. But it starts with investment. (And how many partners at consultancies want to invest their money? They were brought up on the Wall Street Mantra — Other People’s Money.)


Affordable RFPs — What Are Those?

A couple of weeks ago we penned an article on The Key to Procurement Software Selection Success: Affordable RFPs!. This resonated with those of you wanting to improve your Procurement operations who were willing to admit that you could use the help, but it also left you with one big question: where to find these affordable RFPs?

And the doctor hears you on this. You can’t just go to any old consulting firm and get an affordable RFP. Most of you have encountered high price tags, whether you went to a Big X, mid-size consulting company, or even a niche specialist. And you’re probably wondering why. Well, first you need to understand the following.

1. The Big X.

There are a number of reasons you’ll NEVER get an affordable RFP from a Big X.

  • their modus operandi is to get their people embedded on your projects and keep them there for as long as possible at 5X+ their hourly rate
  • they have agreements with a number of big suite vendors where they are a preferred implementation partner and get a big referral check in addition to YOUR implementation fees
  • they’ll put a senior resource / junior partner as lead, but you’ll never see that person, instead, most of the work will be done by a team of inexperienced, poorly educated, technologically inept recent grads “under their guidance” who will rack up the hours just trying to get the basics right (because this senior resource / junior partner will also be attached to 10+ other projects so that they can close the deals, so just how much time will that resource have to even think about your existence?)

2. The mid-size consultancies.

While it is sometimes possible to get an affordable RFP from a mid-size consultancy, the reality is that it’s a rare occurrence (and your odds are about the same as achieving success with an average technology project which, as per Gartner, is less than 1 in 5, largely because they are never scoped and planned right, starting with the RFP), and most of you never will. As with the Big X, there are a number of reasons you’ll RARELY get an affordable RFP from a mid-size consultancy.

  • like the Big X, they want to get projects that keep their people busy (usually at more reasonable 3X to 4X resource hourly rates) as long as possible as they want to grow (and they totally miss the big picture that it is delivered value that wins repeat business)
  • while they are willing to be more impartial than the Big X, they have a few partners they prefer to direct any RFPs (and awards) to as they know the systems well (and can get the implementation work) and it keeps them front and center with the vendors who need to direct implementation work to a third party
  • they can’t afford benchers, so their recent grads are not only the top of their class who have shown aptitude for their domain, but they are balanced by intermediate personnel on the projects who can guide them and there’s usually always at least one senior person, but only the senior people can do the RFPs well enough on their own, so the day rates are almost as high as a Big X as the RFPs tend to be mostly senior and intermediate personnel

3. The niche consultancies.

The niche consultancies are your best bet of getting an affordable RFP, but the reality is that it’s still, unfortunately, hit and miss and it’s likely that less than 1 in 3 of you will see a decent rate when all is said and done (where we measure RFP spend against total system spend over five years and try to maintain the right ratio).

This is despite the facts that:

  • unlike the Big X and mid-size consultancies, they believe in fair costing and keep their bill rates in the 2.5X to 3X range (enough to cover their resources’ hourly rate, overhead, and a fair profit margin)
  • even if they have partnerships with a vendor or three, they tend not to favoured by the vendors who will never direct work to them (and only allow them to implement deals they bring) due to their small size and inability to rapidly scale up (like a Big X or mid-size), which means their bias towards any vendor, if it exists, is quite limited
  • they don’t have junior people, because they can’t afford benchers and resources that don’t deliver with their cost model, and only hire (high-achieving) intermediate and senior personnel, and focus primarily on those who can do small projects entirely on their own or with limited support

When you look at this, you should be able to get a lot of value for a reasonable amount of money. And, make no mistake, you do get value for money.

However, when you look at the total system cost that you can afford as a (smaller) midsize company, and then you look at the cost of getting that good RFP, the problem is that the cost of the RFP is more than you can afford (and should be spending). This means that you end up having to cut corners on the software (and get less from a preferred vendor or go with a more cost effective runner up) or forego more than a modicum of help from the consultancy (where you just get a few advisory days and hope your team to can capture enough of the brain-dump to put together something reasonable).

Even though this shouldn’t be the case.

So why are most niche consultancy RFPs not affordable (unless you are acquiring a mini-suite or significant advanced functionality that comes with a significant price tag and are a larger mid-size with the budget for it)?

We’ll get to that in our next installment.

Let the Bloodbath Continue!

In a recent LinkedIn post, THE PROPHET tells us there is a Consulting Bloodbath starting, especially in the Big 5 (and their strategy firms). All the doctor can say to this is Good Riddance! and It would be even better if they battled it out Gladiator style! (After all, it’s been 28 years since American Gladiators ended, time for a rebrand and a relaunch with a little bit of MXC, which ended 17 years ago.) But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here …

Basically, according to THE PROPHET, firms are worried about the economy and growth headwinds ahead (this is also why investors have yanked money from equities and lessor-rated debt in recent weeks), and this includes tech/dev teams within consulting firms. In some cases lucky consultants are put on the bench and told they have six or nine months to find their next gig, and in others (and maybe the doctor is reading a bit between the lines here) they received their pink slips faster than they could say please Jack Robinson.

The bit about tech/dev teams makes the doctor happy because,

  • these are not tech firms, and they are selling modern analytics/automation/AI solutions they have no business selling (and no real capability to deliver at even an average level, as discussed in our recent post on why if if you want to get analytics and AI right? Don’t hire a F6ckW@d from a Big X!)
  • they are not structured for proper SaaS development and deployment and are NOT SaaS enterprises
  • most of the “talent” they are using are not “top” talent, and if if they are “top” of their class when they are hired, they still need mentorship and experience to become “top” talent, mentorship and experience they are NOT going to get at a Big X
  • the Big X cost structures are too high for mass market penetration; only the F500 / G3000 can afford them, but they still shouldn’t because overpaying doesn’t deliver the value they need in inflationary times where supply chains are breaking daily

And before you chastise me from apparently taking pleasure in people getting fired, think it through! If you do you will realize

  • the true “top” talent is going to end up at appropriate SaaS/Tech companies (or SaaS+IP powered niche automated services consultancies where their true talent/drive really is) where they can get the mentorship they need to grow and reach their full potential because
  • Big X being forced to pull out of (chasing) inappropriate custom SaaS/tech deals/engagements will open up the market back up for those companies that are well positioned, who can start growing and pick up this top talent
  • the “talent” that is not ready for the tech market will either go back to school or find their true calling (before going down a path where they will eventually get overwhelmed, be unhappy, or both; we can’t have the next generation burn-out in first world countries where a very significant portion of the aging population will not be of working age in the very near future)

Plus, shift happens! (How many of us have been restructured, rightsized, or outsized from a job by financiers and lawyers who think they can run a complex enterprise from a balance sheet or understand advanced technology and engineering when they can barely gas up the Jaguars and Mercedes they drive to work everyday?*) Furthermore, given that the average life expectancy at a job these days is 4 years, this talent might as well learn about, and get used to it, now when parts of the economy will be rebounding (and they have opportunity ahead of them), versus getting their @ss3s unceremoniously throw to the curb next time the market drops.

And if, for some reason, a Big 5 Consultancy (which did not start in tech but in accounting/tax, operations, strategy, etc.) is where they belong, then let them prove it in a battle royale! Forget about sitting on the bench waiting and hoping to get invited to a sales call where they can sell a project to work on, put them in the Arena! When a Fortune 500/Global 3000 needs a consultancy, force them to make their selection in the arena where the consultant leads will battle it out modern gladiator style! Not just a Dragon’s Den pitch, they have to battle it out to even get the opportunity to pitch — prove they’ll do whatever it takes to deliver value at the hourly rates their employer is charging!



* If the apocalypse is nigh it is largely because these idiots forced the engineers who actually know how to build things out of the C-suite, allow Gen-AI to tell them how to do technical jobs, and then elect populist pinheads as Prime Ministers and Presidents to tell them it’s okay. And let’s not forget that, as per the OECD PISA data, most of them can’t even do high school math competently!

OneMarket Continues to Power Your Procurement with Its P2P (Procure-to-Pay) Solution

As per our last post on how OneMarket Sources Your Contracts with Insights in its new Integrated Source-to-Contract Portfolio, LogicSource was founded in 2009 by experienced professionals who wanted to improve sourcing and procurement in organizations that didn’t have the knowledge, experience, and infrastructure to execute in an efficient, effective, and transparent manner. Their view was that every consultancy can offer advice, but not every consultancy can help the customer implement that advice and get results.

In order to do this, they decided to build out an end-to-end suite to support their indirect/tail-spend clients with their particular service-oriented needs. As per our last post, they launched OneMarket for Source-to-Contract in 2020, which followed the Procure-to-Pay (P2P) solution that they have had since they acquired the Cirqit P2P solution in 2009. It was updated and rebranded as OneMarket P2P since OneMarket launched in 2012 and has undergone continual development and updates through 12 versions since 2009.

The UX has been updated and is maintained to be consistent with the rest of their platform and the solution is tightly integrated with their analytics solution and supports very detailed PO, Invoice, and Spend Analysis on all transactions that go through the platform.

Buyer Side Procurement

The platform was designed to be a simple shop, buy, pay experience that supported simple quotes (bid-and-buy RFQ) for standard / repeatedly purchased products (to negate the need for a full sourcing event), single and multi-supplier catalogs, and rate cards for standard services. It’s really easy for a user to generate a requisition using each of these capabilities, as well as selecting options against approved supplier purchase orders (POs), blanket POs, and, as just mentioned, rate card POs. They support approval chains of 0 or more suppliers (where orders to approved suppliers with negotiated pricing within budget can be setup as auto-approved where there exist approved supplier, blanket, or rate card POs) which can be configured on implementation and updated on an as-needed bases by administrators.

When a Purchase Order is approved, it goes out to the supplier who can reject it (if there is no contractual requirement), request a change order, or accept it and flip it to an invoice with as few as two clicks (if they intend to ship in full), or a few key field updates of unit fields (if they are fulfilling with a partial order). Once the invoice comes in, it goes into its own approval stream of 0 or more approvals (as rules can be configured so that exact-match invoices under a dollar amount are auto-approved), and when approved for payment, the ok-to-pay is pushed to the organization’s system. In addition, if the payment system is integrated, the platform will monitor for updates and update the invoice status when the invoice is paid.


The entry point to the buyer’s P2P application is the Dashboard that summarizes:

  • Requests awaiting their approvals
  • Their requests in process

LogicSource understands their target market are overworked, often don’t have Procurement as their primary role, and aren’t the most advanced on the Procurement ladder, and designed the entire application to be as simple and straightforward for the average buyer as possible, and make sure every screen takes them directly to what they want or need to do.


The buyer application has four primary options:

  • Create: which allows a user to create bid-and-buy projects, request estimates, create purchase orders (from existing approved supplier, blanket, or rate card POs), or enter a non-PO invoice that was received
  • Transactions: which allows a user to access their estimates, orders, invoices, reviews, and projects
  • Catalog: that allows the user to access their catalog(s) (which can be integrated or held separate), and which can be drilled into by organization (which limits the items that need to be searched and ensures the services and items that are found are those that have been approved)
  • Analytics: that takes the buyer to the analytics application


Catalogs are hosted and work exactly as you would expect, with standard search, filter, and one-click select, but the level of item detail is deeper than you expect, and the ability to manage internal inventory, supplier commitments, volume-based pricing, and order minimums or maximums goes well beyond a standard P2P catalog. (Punch-out catalogs are coming, but the plan is to support hybrid or internal hosting as much as possible as their application supports more information and capability than punch-out catalogs.)

Search is by item id or description, and can be quick-filtered by category, supplier, status, keyword(s), and organization (which provide cross-catalog subsets relative to the different buyers and departments in the company). When a user selects a catalog, all they have to do is specify an order quantity to add it to a requisition.

When it comes to catalog item details, which can be seen upon drill in and maintained by the organizational administrator(s) as needed, the catalog will specify the internal item code, version, description, category (and subcategory), target organization, location types supported, keywords, whether or not the supplier is preferred, supplier part id, manufacturer item number, brand, more detailed description, inventory Unit of Measure, Quantity per Unit of Measure (i.e. there might be 50 gloves in a box), organizational item status, activation date, deactivated date if inactive, standard order quantity suggestion, organizational product owner, inventory manager, primary buyer, barcode, and any additional comments. In addition, the cost allocation can be pre-specified in the catalog item so the buyer doesn’t have to deal with it (and select the wrong/default “other” category all the time, which, of course, screws up analytics). Finally, if there is volume pricing or order limitations from the supplier, these can be defined as well as any commitments the supplier has made to item availability at the price points. (Supplier commitments are important as ordering against these can automate requisition approval as pricing and availability have already been confirmed and accepted by the organization.)

When the buyer is done shopping, they can create the requisition which will either be automatically approved and converted into one purchase order per supplier (if there are existing approved supplier or blanket POs and budget is available), or sent off for approval (and the approver will be notified through email and can approve through the email or through the system, as they will also see the request for approval on their dashboard), and then, once approved by the appropriate individuals, there will be one purchase order created per supplier.

Each purchase order will have an auto-generated purchase order number as well as the corresponding order id, order name, requester, contact, and deliver by date automatically extracted from the requisition. It will contain the full item information for each item: id, description, UOM, (agreed upon) catalog price, quantity, line item total, subtotal, tax, order total, (default) shipping information, and any associated digital specification documents. All of this can be updated by the buyer (on an auto-approved PO) or the approver if necessary before the PO is sent to the supplier. Internally (i.e. not shared with the supplier), the Purchase Order will also maintain the cost allocation from the catalog for processing and any associated messages that have been sent between the buyer and supplier.

Bid-And-Buy / Requests for Estimate

A buyer can request a(n updated) quote on one or more existing catalog items or variations with new, detailed, specifications (especially if the catalog item is a placeholder for products that can have multiple configurations or services). Specifications can be extremely detailed and can be configured to go well beyond standard catalog specifications and can have subsections for each type of specification required. For example, for a mailer (for those who still do print campaigns), you can specify the high level project description (header), specific project details (component information), the paper attributes, the artwork details, the prepress details, each individual component (i.e. envelope, mailer, artwork, etc.) that can be drilled into, associated digital files, shipping information, estimate specifications (type:RFQ/Sealed Bid/Auction, due date, expiration date, commitments, etc.), capabilities required, and selected suppliers.

Once the suppliers have responded, the buyer can click into the estimate and see all of the bids by component by supplier with the lowest bid highlighted and preselected. The buyer can select the award as is, or change the award by component, and when the buyer is happy, select it and the requisitions and/or purchase orders (depending on what suppliers were selected, the total cost, existing purchase orders, and approval rules) are automatically created (and, if auto-approved, distributed).

Supplier Side Procurement

The platform is designed to be super easy for suppliers to respond to bid-and-buy requests and orders.


The entry point to the supplier’s P2P application is the Dashboard that summarizes:

  • Bid-and-Buy Estimate Requests awaiting their response
  • Orders
  • Recently Completed Estimates

If you think about how a supplier generally interacts with a buyer platform, it’s to provide quotes, fulfill orders, submit invoices, and request status. The dashboard captures most of this (as the supplier can flip an order to an invoice once they have fulfilled it), and it’s a single click into one of the three main main drop-downs to bring up the invoice (status) screen (although SI feels it would be really useful to have a quick summary of unapproved invoices so a supplier who can’t figure out a menu doesn’t call the buyer asking for a status they can look up themselves).


The supplier application menu has three primary options:

  • Dashboard: that we just discussed above
  • Create: where they can create change requests and invoices
  • Transactions: where they can access their requests, estimates, orders and invoices


When a supplier clicks into an order, they see all of the header, client, shipping and line-item information right up front. From here they can accept the order as is and flip it to an invoice, altering the unit quantities to those they can deliver now if they want to, message the buyer for more information, or make a change request, which will be returned as an associated change order if approved by the buyer.

Clicking the ‘Create Invoice’ button takes them to the invoice screen where they can provide more details or alter other information as required (or desired, but changing prices, terms, or delivery dates will prevent a PO match and could delay the buyer’s processing of the invoice). When they are ready, they either accept the PDF generated by the system (as an unalterable historical record) or upload their own (from their AP system), and then it’s one click to submit the invoice (both the application and PDF version) to the buyer.

Centralized Procurement

A lot of LogicSource‘s customers are operations with multiple locations, including brands that own retail chains. These customers need a solution that can help them keep track of spend across their locations, help their locations buy, but do so with corporate policies in place and supplier/distributor minimums in check. The OneMarket solution contains a simplified configuration just for location managers who only need to make orders and manage orders and invoices.

When a location manager logs in, they see a dashboard that summarizes their orders: incomplete, pending receipt – action required, and open; and a search bar where they can begin a search and start a new order. Search brings up all matching results, where they can select a preferred item, enter the quantity they want, and add it to the cart. They can continue until they have everything in the cart, and then go to the cart screen where it groups the items by supplier, shows subtotals by supplier, and indicates, with red highlight, if there are any sub-orders that don’t meet order minimums (or violate any other rules for the supplier). They can then increase the quantity, add more items, or delete all items from that supplier until the entire order meets business rules. When they are happy, it’s one click to check-out and the orders are distributed to the suppliers (as no approvals are needed since their catalogs are limited to pre-approved suppliers and products with commitments and approved prices).

Procurement Analytics

The analytics solution we discussed in our last article on how OneMarket Sources Your Contracts with Insights is also integrated with the P2P solution and, since the data that flows through OneMarket is automatically categorized and clean, OneMarket can pre-configure a lot of meaningful and detailed reports out of the box. These can include change orders, client operations, missed opportunity, order activity, order detail, supplier order, tracking list, inventory, and retail reports in addition to all of the reports described in our last article. Retail reports can include billing status, capital project analysis, commitment status, project costs, freight detail, historical shipment analysis, order history, pre-paid allocation, and tax reports, among others. The existence of detailed PO, invoice, and line-item data allows for very deep analysis on spend and P2P process time. Spend, supplier spend, supplier rating, invoice throughput, and supply chain analysis are preconfigured on all available data and the out-of-the-box cubes are detailed and deep.

LogicSource‘s OneMarket is a great P2P solution for organizations that do a lot of indirect Procurement and need a simple, service-supported, solution or a solution that can be rolled out to multiple locations with limited Procurement expertise and capability. It’s definitely worth checking out if you are that kind of (mid-market) organization.

The Public Sector is Giving Procurement Integrity A Bad Name … Can the Private Sector Fix It?

A recent article over on Global Government Forum on Procurement Integrity: A Big Problem That’s Worse Than Most Organizations Think, pointed out that errors, fraud and abuse in procurement cost governments and organizations millions of dollars every year, and even though recent headlines in the US (TriMark, Booz Allen Hamilton), UK (NHS, Royal Mail), and Canada (ArriveCan) are starting to shine the light on the extent of (public sector) procurement fraud, the problem is still bigger than you think. Much bigger.

Current estimates are that organizations, across the public and private sectors, lose 5% per year due to procurement errors, abuse, and fraud. Given that Global GDP is about 85 Trillion dollars, at 5%, that’s 4 TRILLION dollars estimated to be lost annually to errors, abuse, and fraud. And that’s probably a low-ball estimate due to the fact that we just calculated that Over One TRILLION dollars will be wasted on IT software and services due, primarily, to lack of knowledge and/or outright stupidity (and not malicious intent, but if it’s easy for consultancies and third parties to considerably over bill for legitimate goods and services that you need, imagine how much they are fleecing you for goods and services that you don’t need and may not even receive).

It’s highly likely that the true cost of errors, abuse, and fraud (internal, collusion, and external) is closer to 10% of total GDP, or close to EIGHT TRILLION. That’s at least twice the GDP of every country on the planet except China and the United States. That’s a BIG PROBLEM, which is definitely not being helped by the 100M to Multi Billion Procurement Frauds being reported almost monthly across major western economies — and multi-million dollar fines don’t repair the damage. (They don’t even come close.)

This is damage which Procurement needs to repair — because Procurement is the only department that has any hope of putting proper procedures, processes, and platforms in place to minimize the errors; training the organizational employees on proper procedures and monitoring the implementations to prevent abuse; and putting in place proper detection systems to detect, and prevent, potential fraud and quickly identify and track it when it happens.

Unless all the bucks go through, and stop at, a modern Procurement department run by a CPO who puts in place proper people, processes, and platforms, loss is going to continue to run rampant. Which means that while the public sector is failing us daily, the Private sector has to step up and restore the integrity of Procurement. It can start by utilizing some of the the techniques in the linked article, and continue by continually learning and implementing the best technology and processes it finds to not only uncover significant savings in inflationary times, but return integrity and trust into big business, and give governments who have lost their way a model to follow.

And for more details on Bad Buying to avoid, and how to achieve Procurement with Purpose, the doctor suggests you start by following the great public procurement defender, Peter Smith.