Every year, here at SIA, we invite our CWS Council membership to respond to our Program Performance Indicators survey. We developed the survey, in collaboration with a dedicated group of CWS Council members, in order to come up with a methodology to benchmark individual program performance against a set of fundamental key performance indicators.

The resulting report includes metrics across overall program structure, quality, efficiency, cost, risk and customer satisfaction.

Although the report itself is only available to participating CWS Council members, responses to one of the questions got my attention and I wanted to share it with you: By region, who is your current MSP?

What struck me was the seemingly high number of internally run programs — 42.5% in the Americas, 42.5% in EMEA and 54.8% in APAC.

This prompted me to look back at one of my previous CWS 3.0 articles, “Hybrid MSPs: the Way of the Future,” which I wrote in June 2017.

In that article, I predicted that hybrid MSPs would become more of the norm, because I felt that there was no such thing as a truly “global” capability. Let’s face it, depending upon whom you talk to, there are around 200 countries worldwide and no company — not even the largest corporation on the planet — is able to support all of them.

During my conversations with procurement, HR and talent acquisition leaders around the world, I hear as many people talking about transitioning from an external MSP to an internally managed program as I do vice versa.

This is borne out by our annual global buyer surveys. Let’s look at the Americas portion of the 2021 survey, which is the most recently conducted. In it, 68% of organizations had an externally managed program, while 12% of respondents said that they are likely to seriously explore the possibility of an externally run program over the next two years. In the same survey, 35% of companies said they had an internally managed program, with 23% of respondents saying that they were likely to seriously explore an internally managed program over the next two years. [Note: These are two separate questions in the survey, hence 68 plus 35 is greater than 100.]

Let’s compare this to the 2016 survey, which was the most recent at the time of my original article. In that survey, 58% of respondents said they had an external MSP in place, with 19% saying they were likely to seriously explore an external MSP in the next two years. And 34% (a similar percentage to 2021) reported having an internally managed program, with just 16% saying they would likely to seriously explore going internal over the next two years.

So, the data tends to bear out the fact that a growing percentage of companies are at least seriously considering moving to an internally managed program.

My new prediction? This transition will not be to fully internal, but rather, as programs incorporate additional areas of spend (whether that be by geographical, business-unit or worker-type expansions), there will be a hybrid of functions/processes run internally versus functions/processes managed by an external service provider, such as an MSP, where they add value and where they can be profitable.