View from CWS Summit Europe 2018 – Day 2

KellyOCG’s Paul Vincent reflects on an exciting two days at CWS Summit Europe, discussions that threw up some big questions around MSP maturity and SOW and the impact of futurism on talent.

By  |  April 26, 2018

This year’s CWS Summit Europe has been exciting, thought-provoking, and a lot of fun. It’s been fabulous to have the opportunity to connect with so many new faces as well as catching up with some longstanding industry colleagues. What’s really impressed me is the high level of engagement, which has made for some insightful and interesting debates!

In this blog, I want to briefly highlight the discussions that have captured my attention the most.

MSP Maturity

I facilitated three round tables on day 1 that focused on how MSP programs in EMEA are maturing. Without doubt the ‘what’s next’ question is gathering more attention but what struck me most was how many of the participants see this as principally the responsibility of their MSP!  Whilst MSP‘s have a clear responsibility to continually innovate, without a corresponding level of increased transparency and collaboration with the client organization no manner of good ideas will achieve the necessary traction, adoption and impact. Much more to come from me on that topic!

SOW – The Strategy of Winners

Another high point from day 1 was taking part in a panel discussion, The Strategy of Winners – from SOW Efficiency to Effectiveness. Joining me on the panel were, David Swift, Novartis; William Johnson, Openside Group; and Sarah-Jayne Aldridge, M&G Prudential with our debate overseen by moderator, Peter Regan of SIA.

I spoke in a recent blog post, about getting the fundamental components of SOW strategy right in order to drive long-term success. There was a mixed audience for our discussion, ranging from people just starting out on their SOW journey to those who were adding layers of complexity to existing programmes. Given some of the questions we received I definitely feel that this ‘back to basics’ advice holds true for everyone. The most successful SOW approaches get the fundamental components right and build out from there.

Here are just a few of the broader topics we covered in the session:

Is a different skill set required to enable better SOW practice? 

Not necessarily but it is often hard for Procurement to afford sufficient time to stay on top of the frequently changing market dynamics and to learn more about the services being procured (rather than focus on the process). However, this is one of those areas where you can’t afford not to find the time. It takes discipline and prioritisation but the dividends will be enormous – the more insight you can provide to the engagement manager the more likely you are to be involved ‘effectively’.  

Is it realistic to think that we can move large, high-end consulting engagements into a programme?

In principle yes but it does come down to making sure the MSP offers demonstrable value throughout the engagement process – to both the engagement manager and the consultancy service provider. The challenge is identifying what that value is/should be and because many procurement teams see this as an automatic no-go area for MSP’s the discussion rarely happens.

How important is the role of data in building a successful SOW approach?

It’s crucial to collect data throughout an SOW based project. From planning through to engagement through to performance and through to post project learning there are some key indicators that will ensure and enhance value for money. This is where procurement teams can demonstrate their business partnering capability to their stakeholders. 

During the next couple of weeks my fellow panellists and I will be publishing a more detailed summary of our best SOW advice!


Finally on day 2 I was particularly interested in the keynote speech from Futurist Sophie Hackford. AI, technology, robotics, these concepts are impacting not only our industry but the entire world around us, with advances being made at an astonishing pace. Sophie walked through some innovations that are likely to have the biggest impact on our work and personal lives but she also posed the question of what this will mean to be ‘human’. This really struck a personal chord with me because talent management is a people business and I think we need to keep reminding ourselves of that. Technology advances will continue to make the surrounding processes quicker, easier and more seamless but at the end of the day it is all about connecting people with work in ways that enrich their lives. 

With CWS Summit Europe now wrapped for 2018, we have SIA’s Collaboration in the Gig Economy to jump into. I’m sure it will be every bit as thought-provoking as the last couple of days and I hope to see you there! 

Paul Vincent has global product management responsibility for KellyOCG’s Contingent Workforce Outsourcing services such as Managed Service Provider (MSP) and Statement of Work (SOW). He is also responsible for developing and articulating the company's go-to-market strategy around Talent Supply Chain Management (which embraces all forms of permanent and flexible resourcing).  

CWS Summit Europe is the premier conference for HR & Procurement professionals across Europe. Geared towards collaboration and innovation, the conference provides the opportunity for industry colleagues across the contingent talent community to learn, network, benchmark, and evolve.

View More Articles