Fieldglass: Expanding the Services Procurement Pie (Part 1)

Perhaps there is not much irony in the fact that two of the larger software players in the services procurement world have chosen to call Chicago their home (at least until the Emptoris acquisition of Click's services procurement solution). After all, Chicago is also the headquarters of a good many professional services firms (e.g., Accenture, Huron, AT Kearney, etc.). And nearly all the major staffing firms have a significant presence here as well. Still, the location of Click and rival platform provider Fieldglass less than a mile away diagonally across the loop is something I still get a chuckle over. But besides geography, you'd be hard pressed to find much in common between how both providers have focused on their respective businesses.

In the next couple of months, Spend Matters will continue to review a number of services procurement providers, including Click (now Emptoris). But the second provider in this series that I'll explore is Fieldglass, a vendor that has realized significantly more customer growth than Click in recent years, owing in large part to its strategy of tightly coordinating its go-to-market efforts with a range of MSPs (not to mention its success at scrounging up platform deals from Chimes after that now infamous provider went under). In the first post in this series today, I'll touch on how Fieldglass fits into the overall services procurement market as well as a few facts and figures. In subsequent posts, I'll dig into how Fieldglass works with MSPs in more detail, their solution footprint and overall direction (not to mention exploring what customers and others have to say about them).

First, to understand Fieldglass is to understand a provider that has made a strong bet on remaining an independent services procurement platform provider (call their capabilities a VMS if you will, but they're really much more than that). In contrast to another SaaS-focused provider and probably their closest rival, IQNavigator, Fieldglass has chosen to embrace the MSP ecosystem rather than compete against it. This has both positive and negative implications that I'll explore in my next post in this series (Fieldglass obviously believes that this is only a positive, but I'll leave that up to Spend Matters readers to decide once they hear both perspectives).

Regardless, Fieldglass must be doing something right when it comes to customer acquisition and overall growth. Fieldglass now counts over 130 employees among its ranks (including development efforts in India) and a regional office in the UK. But these numbers underplay the fact that Fieldglass has significant global ambitions and is already serving customers around the globe today. In fact, their customers are using Fieldglass to manage their services spend lifecycle in over 55 countries (with nine languages supported in the application). They currently claim 90 Global 2000 customers with a 100% customer acquisition growth rate in 2008 (which we can chalk up, in large part, to their success pursuing Chimes' legacy accounts). And in 2009, they've added 20 new customers so far.

From a capabilities perspective, Fieldglass helps companies manage a broad set of services procurement initiatives (not limited to contingent labor). In fact, they've told me that 30-40% of their total spend under management has statements of work (SOWs) associated with it. And they help companies manage this spend throughout its lifecycle, starting first with acquisition and progressing to on-boarding and long-term relationship and transactional management. Among some of the more interesting services categories they've tackled, Fieldglass has experience managing the services spend lifecycle for the following areas: management consulting, audit/tax, clinical research, executive search, engineering design, risk/regulatory services, marketing, waste disposal, offshore/outsourcing projects and a range of other areas. They're also working with recruitment process outsourcing providers (RPOs) to tackle the automation of talent acquisition and management for full-time employees as well.

Stay tuned as we dig into Fieldglass in more detail next week.

Jason Busch

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