One of the dangers of covering a sector that touches on many areas -- even subjects within a niche -- is that you get sidetracked. Earlier this year, I began my coverage of the services procurement vendor landscape, focusing first on ProcureStaff (you can read my initial write up on them here as well as some other insightful industry observations that they provided me with here). In this post and a subsequent final one in this three-part series, I'll provide some more details on the ProcureStaff offering including their differentiated approach to providing actionable business intelligence to help companies make better contingent spending decisions.
To understand how ProcureStaff compares to other providers in the market -- and where they fit specifically -- it's important to delve into how the technology and services components of the temporary staffing market fit together. ProcureStaff, like other solution vendors that grew up with a managed services provider (MSP) legacy, offers a complete turn-key solution to contingent staffing. A sampling of other providers that deliver integrated offerings include IQNavigator, Beeline, Tapfin and Provade (with admittedly different levels of technology). But what separates out Procurestaff is not just their ability to offer a flexible combination of technology and services, but also their ability to deliver actionable analysis and benchmarking insights on top of their platform. This combination of capabilities has appealed to a diverse set of the Fortune 500 across industries that ProcureStaff counts as clients, ranging from financial services organizations to some of the largest diversified manufacturers, high tech, CPG and pharma companies.
ProcureStaff provides both basic and more advanced types of intelligence based on how users are working with their applications and services. Like other providers, they offer more elementary benchmarks including bill rates relative to average market rates, showing the difference between what a customer is paying and the market average for different job types and descriptions. But even in this area, Procurestaff can go a step further, providing benchmarks based upon industry and best-in-class companies. Though it gets more interesting when ProcureStaff uses its data and BI capabilities to show organizations how their relative bill rates stack up based upon sourcing methodology (e.g., direct source vs. RFQ) and whether bill rates are accurately tied to job classification, creating predictability within hourly pricing windows. These types of analyses can also help organizations establish an optimal set of KPIs to measure and manage to.
ProcureStaff also leverages more advanced types of analysis and benchmarking that take into account a combination of factors including rates, spend, geography, industry, sourcing models, skill sector, headcount, RFQ usage, order and vendor management, quality of candidates, response levels, and time-to-fill metrics using multivariate analysis to determine correlations of "key factors and best practices" that drive cost and performance. ProcureStaff can also run regression analyses that can target individual areas for improvement or to help justify investments and focus in certain areas relative to others.
Ultimately, ProcureStaff believes that these types of efforts can help companies answer questions that fall into three fundamental areas: Do I have the right number of suppliers (e.g., based upon response levels, submittals per order and probability of success)? Do I have the right mix of suppliers (e.g., geographical and skill set coverage, supplier type, etc.)? And, do I have the right suppliers (based upon a number of factors)? While ProcureStaff is not alone in delivering benchmarking and KPIs both as a MSP and VMS provider, I believe their approach and level of analytical rigor provides them with an advantage in the market (as do customers that I have spoken with who chose their solutions over competing products).
Stay tuned for the final post in this series when we will examine the rest of the ProcureStaff solution set in more detail. After that, we'll continue this services spend journey, moving onto Fieldglass,IQNavigator and others.