How much do you know about your invisible workforce?

New research presents four key actions organizations can take to better manage services providers to achieve better business outcomes, maximize ROI and mitigate risk.

Your workforce is larger than you think. Look beyond your employees and contingent workers and you’ll realize there’s another large, powerful force at play. One that probably isn’t on your radar.

Services providers, such as consulting firms, marketing agencies and IT outsourcers, play a crucial role in helping organizations get work done. They are a vital part of today’s workforce, comprising nearly one-fifth of workforce spend, and bringing much-needed skills to the table. They carry out mission-critical work, often operating at the heart of the enterprise.

In the oil and gas industry, services providers play a major role in shutdown/turnarounds, which cost millions each day and must therefore be completed as soon as possible. Many organizations rely on consulting firms to help them build and execute their strategies – particularly around digital transformation. Banks engage IT consultancies to improve their online and mobile banking platforms and call centers to support their customers.

In many organizations, services providers operate as an invisible workforce. How can management ensure that this often-unseen workforce consistently delivers maximum value? And how can organizations make sure that workers’ access to confidential data and systems is turned off at the end of the engagement?

SAP Fieldglass recently published first-of-its-kind research in collaboration with Oxford Economics investigating services procurement. The study found many organizations excel in managing the financial elements of their relationships with services providers, but they frequently fall short of managing the “people” aspects of these engagements. For example, who is doing the work? Are their certifications up-to-date? What sensitive data can they access, and is their access in line with security and compliance standards? Are they hitting deadlines? Do they work to a high standard?

As services providers play a bigger role in helping organizations get work done, business leaders need to pay more attention to this critical part of the workforce. Managers must evaluate not only the skills and value they deliver, but also the risk involved in these engagements. Under-management of services providers creates risks in security, compliance and more.

According to the new study:

  • One in four projects done by services providers is not completed on time or on budget.
  • 44% of executives experience digital security breaches with services providers sometimes, frequently or in nearly every engagement.
  • Only 27% of executives are highly informed about services providers’ progress against deliverables and/or milestones, and just 25% are highly informed about the work they perform. As a result, it’s hard for executives to judge whether they are achieving a good return on investment.

How can business leaders gain greater visibility and reap more value from this hidden workforce? Our research recommends concrete actions organizations can take to achieve better business outcomes, increase ROI and mitigate risk.

To take a deeper dive into services procurement, SIG members can access the on-demand webinar with SAP Fieldglass to learn how workforce leaders can realize more value from service providers. 

Molly Spatara, Global VP, Brand Experience, SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass

Molly Spatara is the Global Vice President of Brand Experience for SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass. She has extensive BtoB and BtoC marketing and product development experience across multiple industries as well as a strong track record of designing and accelerating digital-first, data-driven capabilities yielding robust business outcomes. Previously, Molly transformed global marketing and communications for SAP Fieldglass, helped build and scale Accenture Digital, created Accenture’s digital marketing capability across global market units, and led marketing for Accenture Analytics.

Molly inspires her teams and others to develop creative, omni-channel programs that drive measurable awareness, engagement, and preference across audiences, underpinned by compelling thought leadership. A strategist and business operator at heart, Molly has a passion for incubating and scaling new capabilities, developing her teams, leading large-scale change, forging consensus across stakeholders with oftentimes competing priorities, and simplifying complexity. She is curious and believes challenges more often represent untapped opportunities.