Swedish telecoms equipment manufacturer LM Ericsson Telefon AB plans to subject the consultancy services suppliers to market forces by installing a system to automate the request, tender and requisition process. In October a sample group of Ericsson companies in Sweden will run a pilot on a software tool developed by the company called Click to Buy Consultant, which will operate as an extranet specifically for consultants to offer their services.
Peter Lageson, product area manager at Ericsson’s professional services division, developed the new software. The term ‘consultant’ is too widely used in Sweden, covering everything from outsourced staffing through to value added niche services, he explained. His plan, therefore, is to start categorizing consultants by the type and degree of value they add, with the more ‘commodity’ services being subjected to the forces of competition. We have perhaps 500 to 600 project leaders buying consultancy services, and these are not professional purchasers, so we want to get them into the habit of requesting bids from at least three potential suppliers, he said.
To this end, Lageson also wants to build up a competence database, which will interface with Click to Buy Consultant so that the project leaders will be able to log on, find out which service companies offers which service, then invite them to tender for the work they want done.
Lageson, whose PhD thesis, funded by Ericsson, was entitled ‘The purchasing of Technical Consultancy Services’, foresees a situation, further into the future, in which bid corporate buyers will share competence databases, with the market eventually moving toward a sort of Web-EDI network for IT services.