After defining strategically why a statement-of-work management practice should reside in a contingent workforce program, the next step is defining what that SOW management practice will be.
Key elements that define the scope and breadth of what the SOW management practice will take on will include:
- Type of SOW engagements managed (e.g., projects, services and/or small outsourcing)
- Size of SOW engagements managed (minimum and max)
- Content and complexity of the SOW engagements managed
- Geography of SOW engagements managed
- Scope of SOW engagement management provided
- Partner and technology integration
- Process defined for the CW program in SOW management
Here’s a closer look at some of those elements.
Type, Size & Complexity
It may seem obvious strategically, but it is not so simple tactically to define the type, size and complexity of the SOW engagements that will be managed by the CW program.
One easy cut at these elements is what SOW engagements are not being managed actively by procurement. Every corporate function has resource and capability limits and make tactical operating decisions concerning management coverage and focus. So, the SOW engagements that are covered by the CW program initially might be those that are not directly managed by the organization except for standard purchase order policy and, of course, uninformed engagement managers.
The CW program’s SOW management capabilities are a core consideration. It is easy to take on too many SOW engagements, which can strip the resources and capabilities of the CW program. In addition, the size or complexity of an SOW engagement could overwhelm the CW program.
Project Management, Geography & Program Services
The next set of core considerations in defining an SOW management operation business model is what level of project and/or services management the program is going to deliver, where, and what the services will be.
Some of the answers will be defined by the program’s capabilities and resources, and some by the capabilities of the supply chain partners.
Some initial development of an SOW management initiative might simply focus on the inherent capabilities of a CW program, such as engagement tracking, talent administration and operating within the program’s existing geography for staff augmentation management. This can be described as an extension of the CW program’s current human capital management capabilities versus actually managing an SOW project or service.
Any initial first phase approach will eventually have to connect to a more comprehensive management services portfolio for the next phase of SOW engagement management in a CW program. Otherwise, there may not be enough of a value proposition for a program to take on SOW engagement activity management.
Partner & Technology Integration
Many staffing providers that also manage an MSP are establishing themselves as SOW solution engagement providers. To be clear, they are building significant capabilities to package their staffing talent as legitimate SOW projects and services engagements to meet clients’ evolving wants and needs. They are building significant understanding of SOW engagement management as a result, and their SOW management skill sets, techniques and methodologies are growing in many ways. However, one source of knowledge is executing business as SOW solutions providers, and transferring that knowledge over to their staff augmentation-focused MSP solution is not very hard to imagine. Especially when one considers that is exactly the same core source of knowledge that created the original MSP solution concept years ago with the initial “on-premise” workforce solution offerings.
There are many technology combinations to review and consider. Remember, the core concept of SOW management is services procurement, and proven management-enabling technology has been available to support that practice for some time.
The remaining question is how does one want to integrate the SOW management value, capabilities and skill sets of these evolving supply chain partners?
A key response to this lies in the maturity of the CW program itself and what capability gaps a supply chain partner can fill. This partner integration may occur with the current staff augmentation partners or with new ones because of the expanding program service requirements that need to be supported.
When all is said and done, elements included in the SOW management operation business model will be components that the CW program can capably participate and add value in the organization’s SOW engagement activity. There are a few exceptions to this rule for a few SOW engagement management services such as high-level tracking of SOW engagements across the organization, the onboarding and offboarding of talent for SOW engagements, and the invoice processing for SOW engagements. These services could have no type, size or complexity restrictions because they do not require high-level skill sets and expertise. But most SOW management operation business model elements will require certain levels of skills, expertise and resource capability to be included in a CW program’s SOW management strategy.