Last week the IIAR held its first London Forum meeting of 2010 at Tech Mahindra’s London office. The featured topic was sourcing provider relations and a stellar panel was on hand to provide its take on commonalities and differences between AR and sourcing advisory relations; the panel included:
- Alsbridge: Peter Scott, Partner
- Equaterra, Lee Ayling, UK MD
- PA Consulting, Steve Lewis, Managing Consultant
- TPI, Denise Colgan, Marketing Director, EMEA
Key takeaways from the discussion:
- The trend for end-users to bring in sourcing advisory firms to manage deals is on the increase
- The traditional lines between what separates a sourcing advisory firm and an industry analyst firm are blurring (ie Gartner Consulting and Altimeter). As a result, more AR managers may find themselves responsible for building relationships with sourcing firms
- Sourcing advisory firms admit that they have not done the best job of making it easy for vendors to build relationships with them
- In some ways, the needs of sourcing advisory firms are similar to those of industry analysts. They like to have one or two central points of contact at an organization, for example, so they can get quick responses to requests for information. Some firms prefer to have a microsite on a vendor’s website to access information quickly.
- Personal contacts are important and what differentiates a good sourcing advisory relations contact is that they act as a facilitator for their organisation, not a blocker.
- Most sourcing advisory firms get to know vendors through inviting them into an RFP, and they advise vendors to get to know them through deals. The view of the sourcing advisors is that sourcing advisory relations has to sit in sales.
- Sourcing advisors don’t want marketing or PR speak. They want an honest and direct discussion about what a vendor’s capabilities are – what it does well and doesn’t do well, and what markets it plays in
Moving forward, IIAR member David Rossiter is working on a whitepaper focusing on sourcing advisory relations. If you have examples of best practice or anecdotes to share on this topic, please let him know (DM @davidrossiter).
Furthermore, the IIAR would like to offer more cafes and teleconferences on the topic of sourcing advisory relations. Please email us if you have any suggestions.