Innovations in Third Party Management: Sprint Corporation and Ivalua

Published September 12, 2019

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Written by: Future of Sourcing Awards
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Can you outline why your team embarked on this project and the problem that needed to be solved?

We embarked on the project as part of our larger digital transformation journey. In this case, we were seeking a configurable a flexible procurement platform to:  
(1) Manage our sourcing, contracting and other procurement projects;  
(2) Conduct masterful sourcing events (RFXs and eAuctions); and  
(3) Take advantage of other functionality like spend analytics to mine additional opportunities.   
For project management, we needed to be able to design the interface and workflow in a way that not only mirrored our business processes but provided the data needed to continuously improve our operations. For eRFX, we were looking for advanced capabilities and configuration options like conditional questions/sections and customized prices tables.  With regard for eAuctions, we desired scalability for very large events and the ability to do contemporaneous bidding and forward and reverse auctions simultaneously. Lastly, we wanted to create a robust spend cube based on our taxonomy that would provide spend analytics on demand, enabling impactful sourcing actions and reduced back office work cycles.   

How were things done originally and what was the inspiration to innovate the process?

Prior to the implementation of Ivalua, Sprint used a variety of relatively rigid procurement platforms over the prior decade or so. Project management, eRFX, and eAuction were implemented in previous tools, but functionality was comparatively limited. Spend analytics was never successfully stood up in prior systems and, as such, was previously conducted as a largely manual effort with a team that was well-versed in ERP queries. The process was bottlenecked and inefficient and virtually completely limited to analysis of supplier spend, as opposed to category spend as it is now. This shift towards utilizing Ivalua’s spend cube has enabled our entire organization to use spend analytics that is most optimal for them, as opposed to using canned reports.   

What KPIs did you use to measure success for this project? (For example: performance, customer satisfaction, revenue, sales or relevant financial gains?)

  • Total project volume  – count and value  
  • Total project request volume – count and value    
  • Utilization of Ivalua to manage projects and conduct sourcing events  
  • Average price improvement during eAuctions  
  • Uptime during large, complex eAuctions  
  • Spend Cube utilization 
  • Category Rationalization Benefits 
  • Work Cycle Time Reduction  

How do you plan to ensure that the new model remains relevant and adapts to the future needs of the market?

Sprint has developed a multi-year vision and roadmap for its use of Ivalua.  We’re continuing to enhance and fine tune the program, both in existing deployed modules and in expanding the breadth of the program across end-to-end functions.  Sprint stays abreast of Ivalua’s product roadmap and conducts market assessments of competing technologies to ensure its getting full technological benefits through our partnership with Ivalua.   Sprint is keen on leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Learning (NLL), machine learning, and Robot Process Automation (RPA) in our digital transformation journey.  We have a Digital Lab team assembled for just those aims.  As such, we’re looking forward to deploying AI features Ivalua is currently developing. 

What advice do you have for those who may want to implement this innovative approach in their own organizations?

Engage a third-party consultant with experience overseeing multiple Ivalua implementations that understands the downstream impacts of configuration changes being considered.  A change in one module could impact how other modules are utilized.   

How did your team assess the risks/potential for your third-party management strategy?

We had an overall implementation team and also sub-teams by module.  Teams comprised of various SMEs who (i) managed the underlying functions supported by Ivalua, (ii) had a lot of history with prior systems, or (iii) both and, at the outset, those teams identified challenges and pitfalls with prior procurement platform implementations.    
We knew we had to design all elements in a way that would provide great organization return without asking the end users for a lot of data (whether those end users were sourcing, our business stakeholders, or suppliers).  We didn’t want the end users to feel it was cumbersome to use the tool.  We wanted them to see the value over doing things the old way.    
We knew change management was going to be an issue, moving from one system to the next.  To address this, we conducted several mandatory training sessions and put together various job aids and held multiple voluntary demos and open houses as we transitioned to Ivalua and turned on new modules.     


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