7 Benefits of partnering with an MSP to manage SOW and services procurement
Craig Mitchell

5 minutes

7 Benefits of partnering with an MSP to manage SOW and services procurement

A Managed Services Provider (MSP) can deliver a range of benefits for businesses looking to fill permanent and contingent roles efficiently. From cost saving and risk reduction to scalability and access to technology, an MSP is an essential platform all organisations should be utilising. With centralised Statement of Work (SOW) and service procurement on the rise as an effective procurement strategy, let’s explore 7 benefits of partnering with an MSP to manage your services category of spend.

1. Visibility of spend

Perhaps the most obvious is the visibility an MSP affords an employer. SOW engagements are notoriously difficult to track, and monitor spend without the right systems in place. A preferred supplier may be seemingly delivering the most cost-effective solution, but without the data to track this in real-time, it is impossible to accurately identify how much a service provider is costing until the invoices come in.

An MSP will deploy and manage a Vendor Management System (VMS) tech, providing visibility for every transaction, broken down by category or supplier, enabling you to make more informed decisions. Comensura’s c.net VMS technology, for example, provides hiring managers with completely visibility of everything related to an SOW in one place, all in real-time.

2. Control over spend

Aside from visibility, an MSP can also provide control over spend. Where processes aren’t in place, the risks of hiring managers going off a Preferred Supplier List or outside contract spend increases. This adds to hidden costs and project ‘creep’ (where spends creep up over the course of the project) – all elements to Statement of Work management that procurement teams naturally want to avoid.

With a Managed Services Provider – and VMS technology – it’s entirely possible to set parameters of control. This enables a clear hierarchy of approvals for budget spend changes to project scope and supplier alteration decisions. As an MSP will also give you SOW visibility, those who are granted the permissions to alter any of the parameters of the project or contract also have the real-time data to hand to ensure they’re making the right decision based on current costs.

3. SOW project sign-off

One of the key challenges of a successful SOW management solution implementation lies in ensuring the foundations are right from the get-go. Even for those with experience running Statement of Work projects before, ensuring the finite details of the specification are aligned with budgets, hiring manger needs and corporate objectives is no easy task.

To achieve this, there needs to be a clear record that all internal stakeholders agree that the project will add value to the business and that the supplier brief is aligned to this. An MSP will not only make sure that this is achieved – and facilitate the conversations to do so – but also have the systems to ensure this information is recorded and is translated into the supplier briefs, project metrics and on-going assessment.

4. SOW specification

Having a Managed Services Provider on board to manage Statement of Work and services procurement also has the added value of expanding your SOW specification so that the best solutions can be delivered – even if they aren’t perhaps what the business initially expected.

It’s important not to box suppliers in. They need to be able to think outside of the box and be encouraged to challenge thinking so that the best outcomes are achieved. Enabling this starts with the specification that is developed. Too narrow and you limit the potential scope of suppliers, too broad and you’re at risk of being swamped with information that doesn’t help make a decision. An MSP, however, has the experience in developing specifications that work and can steer you in the right direction as a result.

5. Supplier selection

For any SOW project to be successful, the right suppliers need to be identified and on-boarded. While procurement teams may already have a PSL in place, the question must be asked: are they the right suppliers for this particular job?

An MSP will have access to a range of suppliers including firms that specialise in a particular niche that could add real value to the project. Given that the Managed Services Provider will likely have worked with them before, they will be able to steer you in the right direction.

When it comes to ensuring the right suppliers are eventually chosen for each category, though, a Managed Services Provider will be able to facilitate honest and open two-way dialogue. This enables procurement teams to not only clearly vet potential suppliers against criteria and ensure every business has an equal opportunity, but it also allows the supplier to challenge the project scope should they feel, it can be delivered in a more effective way.

6. Objective and measurable outcomes

So, your SOW project is up and running, what now? The supplier – or suppliers – will continue working to the agreed milestones, with the systems in place for the appropriate people within your business set up to approve payment once these milestones have been reached. The benefit? It’s possible to clearly measure and track objectives throughout the duration of the work.

It’s important to add that once the project is up and running with an MSP, it’s handed over to your team or the project manager to control and approve milestones and payments. A Managed Services Provider will not make the approvals for you, ensuring the full control remains in your hands.

7. Building a knowledge library

Finally, running an SOW or services procurement management through an MSP means that you have access to a full library of information that can be accessed, shared across the business and, most importantly, acted upon. You will be able to store and retrieve all specifications, supplier intel and proposals, costs and, where appropriate, the end results, so that any future projects or decisions can be based on informed data.

These may be our top seven benefits, but there’s so much more value that a Managed Services Provider can deliver when it comes to SOW or services procurement management. Why not contact the team to find out how we can help you?

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