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    eSourcing: Fishing Without a License


    "It only takes one bad wave to ruin your day." - Keith Colburn – Captain of the Wizard on Deadliest Catch

    There are many ways to fish. You can run down to the local store, buy the necessary fishing equipment, and head out to the lake and try your luck. More than likely, you will get pretty good at practicing casting and reeling.

    You could also just hire someone to do the fishing for you. Sure, you get the benefit of the fish - but at quite the cost. Yet another method is to hire a guide and get the satisfaction of guaranteeing you’ll catch a nice haul. Unfortunately, that’s a one and done, and can be pricey too.

    But what if you could bring someone in to stand alongside you and teach you to fish? As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

    The same holds true for sourcing. You can give it a go and do it on your own. More than likely, you will experience more struggles than successes. Sure, you can hire a consultant to fish for you. They will more than likely be successful, but for a high cost. Or, you can hire a sourcing guide to teach you the techniques needed to ensure success on every RFP. Then, you can do it for yourself and experience similar success to that of consultants.

    There is something seriously wrong with the consulting business today, especially as it relates to fishing – er, sourcing. They are not going to reveal the secrets to allow you to fish on your own, so you run back to them over… and over… and over again!

    When I first started sourcing, I acted as an investigator. I reviewed and interviewed others that were sourcing. I then created processes and refined them for over a decade. And, while I avoided any major catastrophe, there were dozens of RFPs I wish I had done differently.

    You are probably asking yourself, “What do I need to go fishing (sourcing) that will ensure I am successful and not wasting my time?” Heck, a day fishing is better than a day not, right?

    Well, not in sourcing. Improper RFPs and outright mistakes can and do lead to serious consequences.

    To get started fishing (sourcing), you need a license. By a license, I mean a license to fish (source) because you never, ever want to get caught fishing without a license. Getting a sourcing software license won’t guarantee that you will be successful. Most clients I work with would rather just attach their old, ugly template as a single question RFP and declare victory. Well, that’s not going to win any awards or even get you any additional savings. In fact, it’s probably a lot cheaper to just email the RFPs if that is the strategy.

    Some clients believe that getting sourcing tool training in the software will guarantee results. That couldn’t be further from the truth. A majority of the users often see sourcing software as another requirement and don’t take it seriously. Or, they find a way to not use it altogether.

    I can tell you from firsthand experience that sourcing software will provide so many benefits, you won’t ever want to “fish” any other way. In fact, I tell my clients if I am running a sourcing event for them, I would never run one without using sourcing software. The benefits and efficiencies gained are just too great.

    Once you have the software, I have found the best results using a hybrid approach. Running sourcing events WITH you, not for you. Initially, we do most of the work. Then, over the course of multiple events, the responsibility rolls over to your team. With each and every event, you get smarter and more comfortable using the software.

    The most important benefit is the savings your organization will achieve by utilizing best practice eSourcing RFPs, not best practice offline RFPs. With this approach, it’s like hiring a fishing guide to tag along with you, giving you the secrets from decades of trial and error thus securing your knowledge and understanding to secure success every time!

    The end result is having fun and enjoying success rather than being dropped in as  a greenhorn on the Deadliest Catch.  Don’t be that guy!



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