I have a routine. Every so many months, I reach out to my old business contacts who aren’t my current customers.
Not all such phone calls are interesting. The one that I had last week was.
I struck up a conversation with the business connect who I had earlier sold research services. Over the years, this gentleman, who is a senior executive at a bank, has on-boarded vendors across multiple service lines. Our discussion, somehow, veered in the direction of the prevalent best practices for putting such services for a re-bid cycle.
The discussion got me thinking on what eventually drives business impact for clients at the end of a re-bid cycle. Is pricing the sole driver? Yes, maybe in the past. Now no more.
Business and procurement teams have to be cognizant of new delivery models, driven by a smart combination of domain and technology. Within research services (across investment research, business consulting, market research, operations support, etc.), service providers are increasingly leveraging technology and analytics to deliver results.
Until a few years ago, research providers applied technology on a case to case basis, based on specific client requirements. With time, service providers have developed packaged solutions that leverage technology and analytics to deliver desired outcomes.
For example, we had deployed analytics capabilities to generate trading signals from social media while delivering quantitative research work for an asset management client. Similarly, we applied techniques such as conjoint analysis, survival & behavioural analysis, and break-even analysis to a market research survey that helped a large media firm determine optimum price points for their subscription-based app.
The fact remains that technology and increasingly, analytics, is changing the way research services are delivered. As part of any re-bid exercise, procurement and business teams should evaluate the overall value delivered by service providers and not just price.
It’s indeed possible that headline numbers from some providers may not initially excite procurement teams. However, the overall value proposition delivered by the provider might offer greater business impact. An important point to note is the potential efficiencies that such providers can continue to deliver going forward, as technologies become more sophisticated.
I wish you well for your re-bidding process, just as I had wished my acquaintance on the call. Do let me know what primarily drives the re-bid cycle in your department.
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