Merrill Lynch is in the process of a major domestic rollout to automate its procurement of IT consultants and contractors. Merrill expects to complete the implementation of Nitorum's Intelli-Gage software in three to four of its technology groups by the end of the year. The Intelli-Gage software allows users to hire consultants and manage their vendors more efficiently and cost-effectively by automating the process.
Merrill's annual IT consulting budget runs from $350 to $400 million dollars, says Neil Ostrower, first vice president of global procurement and services at Merrill. Using the Intelli-Gage system to hire and pay consultants, Merrill hopes to save at least $20 million per year, but could look to save up to $40 million per year, says Ostrower. He adds that the Intelli-Gage system also saves Merrill valuable time in the procurement of IT work, streamlining the process from weeks to days or hours. "The time it took to solicit our vendors and get appropriate resumes and skills to fulfill the hiring managers needs was getting out of control," says Ostrower.
The browser-based Intelli-Gage system is installed on both the user and the vendor end, explains John Ginelli, president and CEO of Nitorum. "We work with the business people in the user company and understand what they want their workflow to be and what their approval process is," says Ginelli. "So if the firm is hiring 10 people, the approval needs to go to a certain level of authority and if they're hiring a certain amount of consultants with more than X amount of dollars, then it would need to go through another level for approval." In addition to the approval levels for hiring and budgeting, Merrill has also specified certain skill sets and requirements that it looks for in IT consultants and has entered them into the Intelli-Gage system. Their preferred vendors have also entered these same customized business rules that Merrill typically looks for and in turn enters their consultants skills and proficiency levels in order to facilitate the matching. "The system does a skills match to what the vendor can supply and prioritizes, so if the hiring manager wants 10 resumes to come back Intelli-Gage would sort in order of the person with the highest skills or the best skills that match a job," says Ginelli. "That's all presented to the hiring manager and they would figure out which of those resumes they want to interview."
In addition to the selecting of IT candidates to interview and possibly hire, the Intelli-Gage system also automates the payment and evaluation processes to make procurement more efficient. "Once you select the person, hire the person and the person comes to do the work, the time card processing is also taken care of," notes Ginelli.
"Intelli-Gage integrates nicely with other ERP solutions within a company." The system also does talent pooling, or facilitating the movement of IT consultants from project to project within a company. The system keeps track of when a consultant has almost completed a certain job and could possibly move on to another within the same firm. "It's a huge benefit because in a large company, before you start any IT work, you have to get acclimated and understand the environment, which takes time. To be able to move from one project to the next within the same company with a smooth transition is a big advantage." In the future Merrill is also looking to roll out Intelli-Gage in the U.K., Tokyo, Hong Kong and Australia.