A Vendor & Resource Management Solution

By Rich Blank posted 09-30-2010 13:45

  

Many IT organizations both large and small utilize contractors and consultants. In many global enterprises, you might have several thousand contractors in and out of your organization over a calendar year. The process of hiring contractors and consultants is often times a painful one. It takes weeks if not months, lots of back and forth emails, paper forms and approvals, resumes, interviews, rate discussions, on-boarding, and more... Project timelines are impacted and the demand for IT project requests starts to backlog because it takes too long to get the right IT resource into your organization and onboard. In the absence of an expensive "vendor management" system, the end to end process can seem like a chaotic dance of emails, paper, and documents.

In my last post, I talked about ROI of SharePoint and the above example provides a set of business activities with many hidden "soft" costs --- which are probably not measured in most organizations today.  Just as there is a cost in hiring a full time employee, there’s a cost of on-boarding a contractor. Additionally, if you’re not tracking vendors, candidates, or rates, how do you know you know you’re getting the best candidate for the lowest rate? Do you know the average bill rate of your contractors or for a particular vendor? Are you measuring the cycle time for an IT manager to initiate a resource request through the on-boarding? Do you know the dollar impact resource delays have on project schedules and costs? Do you know what metrics you should be measuring at all? These types of questions beg for a solution built on SharePoint to help you manage the information and documentation, communicate status, and report on key performance indicators (KPIs) you indentify to be important to your organization.  

Before you even begin to start building your solution on SharePoint, you’ll want to begin by mapping the end to end business activities, approvals, and flow of information and documents. The next step involves developing an “information architecture” with the appropriate content types and metadata you are looking to capture. Part of this exercise involves understanding what KPIs you are looking to measure as that will drive some of your taxonomy. Where possible, you also want to attempt to estimate time and dollar costs of the existing process so you can compare those estimates after you implement the solution built on SharePoint. There are obvious hard costs like the hourly rate of a resource. Soft costs might be the time required for approvals, time waiting for hiring decisions, or interview feedback. There are also less obvious soft costs such as cost of turnover, lost productivity, low morale, lost sales, or missed opportunities. Next week, I’ll walk through this example of “IT staffing/vendor management requests” in more detail. I’ll walk through estimating lost productivity of the business use case and describe how a SharePoint solution results in a solid ROI for the organization. Stay tuned…



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