Transforming SOW to Bring True Business Value

January 22, 2018

While this segment of the industry is the fastest growing, it’s also common for companies to improperly manage their SOW programs because they don’t have the necessary guidance and support.

Now is the time for transformation.

A positive first step is recognizing the need to manage SOW spend and begin the journey toward value creation.  Given the complexities and challenges of managing SOW, companies may seek the advice and support of a solutions provider, such as an MSP.  It is critical that the MSP (or other partner) recognizes the complexities of SOW management and the need to customize a solution that addresses the unique needs of each client.  Each client has different governance, risk tolerance, VMS technology, procurement process, business strengths and weaknesses, and maturity—all of these factors must be addressed properly for an SOW program to be successful.  If not, the client will waste critical time and resources with little realized business value.

Another critical component in this equation is the growing concern about compliance.  The industry has done a good job of raising the awareness about compliance, but instances of fully deployed, holistic compliance solutions (that include SOW) are limited.  A successful SOW management program must recognize a company’s continuum of spend from non-employee labor to services; the solution design must also incorporate company policies, risk tolerance, and any other pertinent factors.  Utilizing comprehensive data and sophisticated analytics to gain insight and support decisions further positions the SOW program for success and scalability.

At GRI, we believe the industry is at an inflection point where technology, experience, capability, and demand have converged to elevate the management of SOW and finally deliver on the promise of savings and value. GRI’s SOW management program -- built on data analysis, effective policies, practical objectives, sourcing and spend management capabilities, broad category expertise, and client value creation – can deliver on that promise.

A successful solution needs to be simple to implement and adaptable, while delivering true business value.  This takes the right team to execute, and we believe GRI is going to move the needle.  So where do we go from here?  Start with a simple, progressive approach.  Success in the SOW space is in the details, which are many times ignored.  We’re starting by shifting our focus and digging in to find out exactly what’s lurking about.  A basic outline of our process:

  • Understand SOW spend and demand
  • Fully manage all SOW transactions and compliance
  • Deliver value through SOW sourcing and contracting
  • Transform with strategic SOW management

To understand where your company stands with SOW, ask if your company knows what you’re buying and from whom.  Understanding this today (and a continued understanding moving forward) will lay the foundation for effective SOW management.

Your SOW management team should begin by taking advantage of the tools already in place, capturing all SOW spend from available financial tracking systems.  The information should then be grouped into relevant categories; findings can then be analyzed.  Patterns will emerge, which should provide insight into the largest or most important spend categories.  Knowledgeable SOW experts will be able to identify key and/or large areas of spend and immerse themselves in the details.  Through use of sophisticated analytics and AI tools, your team should review transactions and contracts to extract additional relevant content from these sources to determine more specific trends and patterns.

As you build a spend profile through data analytics, you will establish the foundation that will enable moving to the next step in SOW management — transaction management.  In our next blog, we’ll continue this discussion and share even more insight into how GRI is changing how successful SOW programs work.  Email today to start the SOW conversation.

Beeline welcomes this guest post from our partner, Geometric Results, Inc. This post represents GRI’s opinions and not necessarily those of Beeline.

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