A globally significant project helps NEOM harness the power of professional services.
Among mega-projects, NEOM is unique. It combines the characteristics of a tech start-up, sustainable city planning and a construction giga-project.
Realising such a grand vision requires expert skills.
NEOM’s demand for professional services is high, dynamic, specialist and global. NEOM’s Procurement Department endeavored to bring structure to NEOM’s largest annual spend category.
This meant addressing multiple challenges. Expenditure on professional services required improved control and discipline. Also, there were uncompetitive, deeply embedded supplier relationships and habitual use of direct awards. NEOM wanted a more competitive environment to obtain best value, while still meeting urgent business needs and establishing sound, long-term relationships.
NEOM teamed with Infosys Portland in early 2022 to design and execute a category strategy for professional services that:
- Ensures best value and support a growth strategy
- Establishes a qualified, global, competitive supply base across 13 subcategories
- Builds Saudi Arabian capabilities and raise the local content in the supply base
- Embeds a transparent governance process to yield ongoing benefits efficiently
- Implements category management to drive value over the life of each contract
One of the key operational challenges was the fast pace at which NEOM operates. That required the ability to rapidly engage professional services resource while ensuring compliance with governance.
Infosys Portland deployed an international team to bring best practice and shared learning.
During the delivery phase the core project team included members based in the UK, Saudi Arabia, Australia, USA and India. They effectively overcame the challenges of an international project spanning across multiple time zones, cultures and ways of working. Furthermore, the team applied a consistent and structured approach to communicate and engage the local and global market for professional services.
As a result of the project, NEOM established Consultancy Framework 2.0. Some of the key achievements of the project include:
- Increased compliance – as of March 2023, all professional services spend is going through the framework.
- Better value for money – estimated cost savings of 14%.
- Enhanced visibility – achieved firmer control over buyer and supplier behaviour, increasing the number of competitive bids rather than direct award.
- Improved customer experience – a dedicated buying team ensures that requests are fulfilled efficiently, complying with all governance and guidance. No process bottlenecks.
- Continuous improvement – quarterly panel refreshes across the framework suppliers to ensure competitive market rates and agility to fit NEOM’s rapidly evolving market requirements and challenges.
This project was key in ensuring NEOM has access to the best professional services providers that can bring the expertise required to realise its grand vision. In addition, it demonstrated the value of category management to NEOM stakeholders and has set a best practice example for future action in spend management.
View the Infosys Portland profile in the MCA Members Directory.