Corporates are where ineffective people and contractors can hide, still enjoying benefits with no outputs. Sirion wants to deal with that little issue.

In a former life, I spent a bunch of time consulting to various large enterprises. On a couple of occasions, the internal champion for the work I did resigned or changed roles and my work was left in limbo. But limbo doesn’t indicate ended and often payments and relationships carried on, even if the work entered a big corporate black hole, never to reappear.

It’s a function of these sort of large organizations which have huge numbers of different contracts and consulting arrangements, and very little organizational visibility around these agreements. This is a problem that Vodafone, the global Telco with branches in many countries, faces. Vodafone has mobile operations in 26 countries, partners with mobile networks in 52 more, and fixed broadband operations in 17 markets. As of 30 September 2016, Vodafone had 470 million mobile customers and 14 million fixed broadband customers. That’s a hugely complex business and it requires great complexity in terms of third party partners as well – Vodafone works with thousands of suppliers providing strategic and tactical services and goods. That is a good thing as it increases agility and innovation. But it really is a nightmare from a contract management perspective.

So Vodafone had a problem and wanted to build a technology-driven supplier management program that could track not only the contracts themselves but also performance, financial aspects, risks and relationship management. Which is where SirionLabs comes in. Sirion offers a cloud-based platform for the pre and post-signature management of supplier engagements. What that means is that by using Sirion, organizations reduce the cost of supplier management function by automating complex procedures across key disciplines – contract, performance, financial, relationship and risk management. Sirion offers embedded workflows which facilitate real-world buyer-supplier interactions within the system by using contractual obligations as the core language. It’s not enterprise resource planning (ERP) but rather Contract and Commercial Management (CCM).

Sirion is just part of a broader CCM initiative that Vodafone has put into place aimed at both streamlining the management of its supplier relationships and delivering higher levels of transparency across the business. Indeed, Vodafone has a standalone company that is in charge of procurement for the group:

“Vodafone’s suppliers are a source of competitive advantage for our business. The CCM program will enable us to strengthen these critical relationships by improving collaboration and transparency through a combination of industry best-practices and automation. With its rich supplier management functionality across the complete lifecycle of a supplier engagement, Sirion gives us the right technology platform to drive the CCM program.” Said Ninian Wilson, CEO, Vodafone Procurement Company.

Vodafone’s partnership with Sirion represents a departure from the traditional approach to supplier management. Most enterprises focus on leveraging technology during the pre-signature phase of the engagement – i.e. supplier selection, contract authoring etc. From my experience, a technology-driven segue from contract creation to post-signature management is either absent or implemented in a fragmented manner through multiple discordant systems. Which is where the problems lie. With Sirion, Vodafone is deploying an integrated supplier management model to enhance visibility and collaboration across enterprise functions (procurement, legal, operations, finance etc.) as well as with the supplier organization, aimed at minimizing value leakage and relationship issues during the entire lifecycle of the engagement.

“Contracts lie at the heart of strategic supplier engagements and are a source of significant value for all parties when actively managed from inception to the end of the engagement.” said Reinhard Plaza-Bartsch, Head of SCM Supplier Management Operations, Vodafone, adding “Sirion’s ability to bring contracts to life by combining contract management with performance, financial, risk and relationship management makes it the ideal technology for driving higher value in strategic supplier relationships.”

While there may be some contractors who enjoy doing nothing but still being paid thanks to a historical contract, it’s safe to say that with Sirion’s help, their days doing so within Vodafone may be numbered.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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