Turbocharge Your Procurement Capability Journey – Steer Clear of Bumps, Accelerate Benefits

by | Oct 16, 2022

The journey toward maturity of consulting procurement capability is infused with challenges. It’s all part of the process. However, there is always a better way to face the challenges ahead.

 “Strategy without process is little more than a wish list.” – Robert Filek

In this post, we will focus on helping you get a clear perspective on the stages of maturity of your consulting procurement capability – from the starting point to the best-in-class maturity level.

Setting Your North Star: Defining Your Aspirations

The key to a successful procurement capability journey is to know where you stand and decide where you want to go.

Think of it like packing for a trip; you wouldn’t take your snow boots to the beach, would you? Good news! The maturity grid serves as that nifty compass and roadmap combo.

But let’s keep it real – not every company needs to embark on a pilgrimage to the nirvana of consulting procurement. It’s all about your size, your style, and well, how deep you delve into those consulting coffers.

  • Large Enterprises: Being the stalwarts of the industry, you’re no stranger to Strategic Sourcing, Demand Management, or Category Management. Dipping into those deep corporate pockets to splash hundreds of millions on consulting projects? Surely, striving for the best-in-class maturity seems only… logical. A little efficiency here, some savings there – it all adds up, doesn’t it?
  • Mid-Market Entities: With a consulting spend that makes one raise an eyebrow (in a good way) – between $5M to $30M – your target should likely oscillate between Leading and Best-in-Class Maturity. And if you fancy a sprinkle of ambition, third-party services could offer that ‘extra mile’ touch.
  • For Smaller Companies: Spending under $5M might sound modest, but in the vast world of consulting, every dollar counts. If Category Management is still an item on your to-do list, then Leading Maturity level might just be the gentle nudge you need.

Maximizing your consulting ROI. It’s as straightforward as it sounds, much like expecting your espresso to be, well, express. Think of it as tuning into your financial portfolio, but instead of stocks and bonds, we’re talking millions in consulting.

Remember those staggering dollar figures we mentioned? It’s not monopoly money, and you’re not playing games. Best-in-class practices are like your grandmother’s secret sauce recipe – invaluable, with effects that linger long after the first taste.

They’re not simply a shiny badge on your corporate lapel; they’re tools in optimizing operational expenditures (OPEX). And let’s face it, in today’s business landscape where squeezing the OPEX seems as frequent as office coffee breaks, (and who doesn’t love those?) being efficient is no longer sitting in the ‘luxury’ column.

High OPEX pressure, looming crises? It sounds like another Tuesday. But with an enhanced consulting procurement capability, the game changes. Suddenly, you’re not stuck between a rock and a hard place when critical consulting needs arise.

No need to go full-on ‘freeze mode’ or halt pivotal projects. You’re not just throwing money at problems; you’re investing it wisely. You’re buying smarter, managing wiser, and using resources in a manner that might even make your CFO crack a smile.

Sounds enticing, doesn’t it?

Now that we’ve piqued your interest, it’s time to dive deeper. Ever tried gauging the depth of a pool by just eyeing it? Not the best idea, right? Similarly, to understand how adept (or perhaps, novice) you are in the realm of consulting procurement, you need a precise measure.

Enter the Consulting Procurement Maturity Grid. Think of it as your sophisticated yardstick – charting where you currently stand, illuminating the path forward, and underscoring the tangible benefits of the trek.

Not only does it serve as a reflection of your present capabilities, but it also casts a beacon on your potential future, revealing the milestones and the methods to reach them. And just like any great journey, knowing your starting point is half the battle.

The Maturity Grid – 4 Levels of Consulting Procurement Capability

Navigating the path to consulting procurement perfection? It’s not a mere stroll in the park. Like any meaningful journey, it’s riddled with various stages with distinct flavor and challenges. Understanding these stages is pivotal. Let’s break it down:

4 levels of consulting procurement capability

Basic or Operational Level

At this stage, the Consulting Category is somewhat the Wild West. While there’s immense potential value lurking, it’s often overlooked. Decentralized decision-making reigns supreme, and the Procurement Group might as well have an “Out to Lunch” sign. Supplier selection?

More about ‘who you know’ than ‘what you need’. There’s much room for growth, but hey, every hero’s journey starts somewhere.

Standard Level

Progress is afoot! Here, organizations begin to see the Consulting Category not as a necessary evil but a genuine asset. Processes emerge, demand management gets a seat at the table, and competitive bidding becomes less of a rarity.

The pendulum starts swinging towards strategic value, and teams begin getting their bearings about the nuanced world of Consulting. It’s like transitioning from crawling to taking your first steps.

Leading Level

Here we’re talking about the big leagues. Organizations have not just woken up to the potential of Category Management but have embraced it with gusto.

With robust market knowledge bolstering sourcing decisions and Procurement actively engaged, competition becomes the name of the game. The finish line of full maturity is in sight, with just the last stretch to conquer.


The zenith. Organizations here aren’t just playing the game; they’re setting the rules. With a Consulting Procurement Capability that’s humming like a well-oiled machine, every move is strategic, deliberate, and, most importantly, impactful.

Procurement is not just a department but a valued partner. Teams are in the vanguard of market trends, systematically reviewing supplier performances, and continually pushing the envelope. And the ROI? Let’s just say it’s music to the stakeholders’ ears.

It’s a roadmap, an evolution, and more importantly, a journey. Where do you stand today, and where do you aspire to be? The grid beckons.

Consulting Procurement Mastery: Key Areas & Questions to Ponder

Navigating the intricacies of the Consulting Procurement Maturity Grid? Here’s a pro tip: focus is your best friend.

There are certain pillars that hold this grid together, areas that truly define your organization’s proficiency in consulting procurement:

Key Areas to Zoom In On:

Strategy, Governance & Organization

This relates to the alignment of your procurement practices with your organization’s broader objectives and strategies. Effective governance means clear decision-making processes and accountability structures.

How your organization is set up to manage and oversee consulting procurement (both in terms of team structures and responsibilities) is also crucial.

Sourcing Process

It’s the structured pathway you adopt to select and engage with consultants. It encompasses everything from identifying consulting needs to negotiating terms and finalizing contracts.

A mature sourcing process is both systematic in its approach and flexible enough to adapt to different project requirements.


These are the tools and resources that assist in the effective management of consulting procurement.

Manuals offer step-by-step instructions, guidelines provide best practice recommendations, and systems (often digital) streamline and automate processes, ensuring consistency and efficiency.

Category Management

This concerns the strategic management of the Consulting Category, segmenting it into different areas of expertise or service lines.

Category management involves understanding the specific demands of each segment, the market conditions, and ensuring the sourcing and management of consultants is tailored to these unique requirements.

To gauge where you truly stand, it’s time for some introspection. Here’s a handful of questions to stir the pot:

  • Is your Consulting Spend aligned with your strategy?
  • Do you have a procurement team or person focusing on Consulting?
  • Do you have a collaborative approach to Consulting sourcing led by your procurement teams?
  • To what extent do you organize competitions between providers for your projects?
  • Do you implement differentiated sourcing processes by nature of the project for the consulting category?
  • Do you track the performance of your Consulting Providers?
  • Do you leverage category-specific digital solutions for the Consulting category?
  • How knowledgeable are your Procurement teams in the Consulting market?
  • Do you consider creative fee structures for your projects?
  • Do you have a make-or-buy strategy for the Consulting Category?

In the end, if you find yourself nodding more than shaking your head to the above, you might be closer to the ‘Best-in-Class’ title than you think. Bravo!

But remember, in this ever-evolving dance of the industry, the steps keep changing. So, while you can bask in your success, don’t forget to keep up with the rhythm. Because, unfortunately, complacency isn’t part of the grid. Sorry! 😀

In Conclusion

In the complex tapestry of business, self-awareness is as crucial as ambition. Recognizing where you stand not only shines a light on the path forward but also highlights the potholes you might have overlooked.

While not every organization needs to aim for the zenith of procurement maturity, choosing to remain blind to one’s strengths and weaknesses is akin to navigating a maze with a folded map.

It’s not about always striving to be the crème de la crème, but rather understanding your position, acknowledging gaps, and ensuring that you’re always operating from a place of informed decision-making.

Because in the dynamic world of business, complacency can be the most costly misstep of all.

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Turbocharge Your Procurement Capability Journey - Steer Clear of Bumps, Accelerate Benefits

How Consource Can Help?

Consource can help you to expedite consultant sourcing by 50% using our smart user interface, self-service portal, and templates libraries. With concource you can source the best value-for-money consultants through competition by combining your panel and our network.




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