5 Reasons Why the VMSA Live Talent Ecosystem Conference is the Future

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Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend VMSA Live in Phoenix, Arizona. Having attended nearly all of the contingent workforce industry conferences (there are not many to choose from), I would describe my experience at VMSA Live this way: It was not your grandfather’s contingent workforce conference.

Or to put it another way, as one of the nearly 100 contingent workforce managers in attendance said, “This is the conference of the future.”

Indeed, based on what I saw at VMSA Live 2017, this is absolutely the case. Here are the five reasons why VMSA Live is the conference of the future:

    1. The conference was not only representative and inclusive of all members of the talent ecosystem, it also enabled them to interact and learn.
      • Contingent workforce management executives
      • Staffing & SOW Suppliers
      • MSPs
      • VMS and other technology solution providers (FMS, Talent Clouds, etc.)
      • Independent contractor AOR/compliance and EOR/payroll providers
      • At least one professional services provider (EY was a major sponsor and moderated most of the sessions)
      • And one quixotic analyst (that would be me) and his Sancho Panza, Kendra Cato
    2. Unlike standard conferences, VMSA Live 2017 was multichannel and multimedia, geared to information exchange and learning:
      • First off, only one general session, keynote speaker and PowerPoint presentation (with a few videos mixed in)
      • More than 30 unique topic-specific breakdown sessions, scaled for interactive discussion and led by an industry “contributor” to prime the pump and a professional EY facilitator
      • A live video feed on TV monitors covering VMSA Studio interviews and profiles of industry practitioners in progress throughout the conference
      • Plenty of networking opportunities throughout with the facilitators actually encouraging you to leave a discussion early to take an important meeting
      • A daily 6 a.m. yoga session led by yogi master and host Jim Coughlin
    3. The conference provided a broad range of discussion topics from traditional here-and-now practical topics to topics covering developments at the leading edge (scores high on a balanced scorecard). A representative sample of sessions/topics:
      • Improving Supplier Performance in Your Wheelhouse
      • Program Maturation and the Journey Toward Global Expansion
      • Externally Managed Services or Internally Managed Programs
      • Vetting and Rationalizing Supplier Relationships
      • IC Compliance: An Internal Counsel’s Perspective
      • What are Buyers Demanding of Tomorrow’s Solutions
      • Deploying Talent Clouds into Your Ecosystem of VMS, MSP and Staffing Suppliers
      • How Does Self Sourcing Integrate with your VMS?
      • The Gig Economy: Here to Stay or Fleeting Fad?
      • Total Talent Management and Benefits … So What?
      • Machine Intelligence in Talent: Programs in Development
    4. Technology and other innovative solution providers were prominently threaded through the conference in the Tech Pavilion — not an exhibit hall, as the name might imply, rather a meeting room and parallel track where those providers presented and even demoed their solutions including:
      • Beeline
      • DCR Workforce
      • Elevate Direct
      • Talentnet
      • Upwork
      • Crowdstaffing
      • And others I also liked, but must exclude here only for the sake of brevity
    5. The risk taking and innovative orientations of the conference organizers, which makes for a conference with a consistent philosophy, purpose and character (inclusiveness, transparency, auction-based sponsorship pricing) as well as one that changes in different ways every year in attempt to improve the conference and enlarge the tent.
    6. BONUS REASON: The final and most important reason that VMSA Live is the conference of the future is that it must be. The conference alternatives in the talent ecosystem have been limited to one dominant player for many years. But monopolies tend not to benefit customers, and they tend to lead to higher prices and to stifling of innovation. Many ecosystem members are seeing the necessity for a conference alternative. And that alternative is now VMSA Live.

Having said all of that, there is very good reason to look forward to VMSA Live 2018. If you have attended before, I encourage you to return. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to attend.

Watch for registration opening at www.vmsalive.com or contact Jeannine Parise for more information at jeannine [at] vmsaccel [dot] com.

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