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As a Delivery Manager in Ariba's Global Services Organization (GSO) and the administrator of the GSO instance of Sourcing, I can address these questions from an Ariba GSO perspective:
Number of Templates: we have 16 RFx templates that are available for use to our global sourcing services teams. 16 may sound like a large number, however it really is not that many when you consider the breakdown and their uses:
- RFI - (1) one standard RFI template available for use.
- RFP - (3) - three RFP templates; standard RFP, RFP with Total Cost and RFP with Price Breakdown. I would estimate that the standard RFP accounts for 90+% of the RFP's we manage.
- Standard Reverse Auctions (6) - we have built out our reverse auction templates based on market feedback type. Given how frequently our Sourcing Project Managers build auctions, we want to make it easy for them to just pick the format they want with the rules preset and locked down, rather than have to remember how to answer a particular combination of questions to provide the market feedback they want. We have reverse auction templates for; 1st Place Visibility Only (supplier sees 1st place price only), Full Disclosure (supplier can see all market pricing), Rank Only (supplier only sees their own rank), Rank + 1st Place Visibility (supplier knows their rank and the 1st place bid), Transformation Bidding and Total Cost - Rank Only.
- Dutch Auctions (2) - we have templates for Dutch Reverse and Forward Auctions.
- Forward Auctions (2) - we have templates for Forward Auctions in both Full Disclosure and Rank Only formats.
- Index Bidding (2) - we have templates for Index Bidding by Amount and Index Bidding by %.
Training: depending on the team member's role, our sourcing professionals move through a structured, several week long training process before they are ever assigned their first sourcing project with a client. As part the the individual's training track, they are trained, tested and certified on their ability to build, quality-check, test, edit, participate in (from both the buyer and supplier perspective) and publish RFI's, RFP's and Auctions.
The auction portion of this training mainly focuses on the standard reverse auction formats. Team members are educated on why and when you might slect one format versus another, pros-cons, categories where certain formats are more frequently used/not usedand case studies.
Being that Transformation and Total Cost bidding hold their own unique opportunities and challenges, we have developed training content particular to just these two formats and the extensive possibilities that exist for their use in the Sourcing tool.
Finally, we have a training session dedicated to 'advanced bidding' formats, or those formats that may not be used quite as often. This session covers Dutch Auctions, Forward Auctions, Index Bidding and formats for which we do not have specific templates created, such as English bidding and Matrix Bidding.
Implementation: our training/implementation methodology has evolved over the years to where we are today. Our sourcing services arm of GSO has been delivering sourcing projects for 12+ years, so what we have today is the result of changing customer needs, team member training needs and the evolution of the Sourcing tool.
One aspect of templating that I did not yet mention was our use of the Full Project plan in Sourcing. Presenting a team member with 16 RFx templates at once could be overwhelming and the use of the Full Project plan helps control this. We have a single Full Project plan template built for our global sourcing services group, with tasks built in for every 'standard' sourcing service offering we deliver (and in addition the the ability to build an a la carte project plan). Based on how the team manager sets up the project plan, based on the service being delivered, the appropriate tasks and RFx placeholders are built out into that individual Full Project plan.
For example, if I tell our Full Project plan that we are doing supplier research, an RFI and presenting the results to the customer; when our Project Manager goes into their Full Project plan he or she will only have the option to select the RFI template as opposed to picking from all 16 that are active in the tool. That RFI template is also associated with an RFI checklist on our Documents tab, which details for the Project Manager the steps they should take to quality check and test their RFI prior to publication. That checklist is then in turn associated with an approval task on the Tasks tab. Basically, we have implemented a solid system of checks-and-balances to ensure that the RFx's we're publishing on behalf of our clients are built properly and to spec, the first time.
Of course, we have a training session for new team members dedicated the Full Project plan development and management that they become certified in prior to delivering their first live projects.
I hope this answer, while verbose, was useful. Please let us know if you have any other questions or thoughts.