Field Nation: What Makes It Great (Independent Contract Workers Analysis)

talent management

Editor’s note: This “What Makes It Great” column is normally reserved for SolutionMap Insider Subscribers, but Field Nation has generously agreed to support access for readers who are not yet members.

Field Nation offers a specialized enterprise technology solution and online marketplace that enables the sourcing, dispatching management and payment of independent field tech contractors. The provider competes in the enterprise solution category that Spend Matters’ SolutionMap calls Independent Contract Workers (ICW), the most dynamic segment of the contingent and workforce and services (CW/S) procurement software market, which also includes the Temp Staffing (Vendor Management Systems/VMS) and Contract Services/Statement of Work solution segments.

Today’s ICW solutions have their roots in the so-called gig, freelance and peer-to-peer economies — the new world of platforms, like Uber and Airbnb, versus the established world of enterprise software applications inhabited for decades by the likes of SAP and Oracle. Field Nation is a specialized solution that supports organizations (mostly service management companies, in addition to value-added resellers and sometimes OEMs) that are responsible for installing and maintaining technology/equipment across geographically dispersed business locations of technology/equipment owners/lessees.

Field Nation’s clients typically maintain a W2-employee field installation and maintenance workforce, but — to an extent — supplement it by sourcing and engaging independent field tech contractors in different locations through Field Nation’s online marketplace platform. Field Nation has recently augmented its enterprise functionality and services, branded Field Nation ONE, which is also its blended workforce management software. And it has plans to expand its work/expertise categories beyond technology/equipment.

Where does that offering fit into the burgeoning ICW market? As of September 2018, Spend Matters’ SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 vendors within the procurement software market, including six providers in the ICW segment. To understand where Field Nation stands out most and helps set the bar for the ICW segment — and why should this matter for procurement and HR organizations — let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark and explore what makes Field Nation great.

“What Makes It Great” is a recurring column that shares insights from each quarterly SolutionMap report for SolutionMap Insider subscribers. Based on both our rigorous evaluation process and customer reference reviews, each brief offers quick facts on the provider, describes where it excels, provides hard data on where it beats the SolutionMap benchmark and concludes with a checklist for ideal customer scenarios in which procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should consider it.

Field Nation: Quick Facts

  • Founded: 2008
  • HQ (and support locations): Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Employees: 170
  • Total annual gross payment value: $150 million GPV (GTV)
  • Annual revenue: Undisclosed
  • Customers: Include Allover, Royal Services , Tech Data
  • No. customers: 1,000
  • No. independent providers: Not disclosed
  • No. active users (buy-side): 1,000
  • No. active users (supply-side): 15,000
  • Regions served: United States and Canada
  • Available modules: N/A
  • Other app integration: N/A

Where Field Nation Enterprise is Great (Independent Contract Workers SolutionMap)

Field Nation is a highly specialized ICW source-to-pay solution primarily for the sourcing, engagement, dispatching, management and payment of independent field tech contractors. It is a fit for third-party managed tech services providers and can be used by OEM businesses of any size. Here’s where Field Nation excels in the Independent Contract Workers SolutionMap:

Core ICW Functional Strengths

  • Field Nation delivers strong performance across most ICW technology solution requirements, albeit as a specialized solution in field services.
  • This includes delivering top-tier performance (based on a three-tiered ratings model) for Platform Self-Sourcing and Private Talent Pools; Field Nation also delivers average benchmark performance for Requisitioning/Sourcing, Compliance Assurance, Invoice/Payments, BI/Reports/Dashboards and Technology.
  • There are really only two third-party marketplace platforms for field services tech contractors (the other is the legacy part of the business of WorkMarket, an ADP company). Over the years, Field Nation has stuck to its own knitting and has honed its platform for this specialized use. Accordingly, it is a turnkey fit-for-purpose solution that is streamlined, offers a robust contractor marketplace and all the specific capabilities for an organization to source, engage and pay field services independent contract workers.

Lifecycle Management: The “Bookends” of Source-to-Pay

  • Field Nation covers the source-to-pay lifecycle (as understood in the ICW context). That is from requisitioning and selecting a contractor for a field service engagement to paying the contractor.
  • Field Nation’s strengths across the lifecycle include capabilities for clients to source contractors (individuals and micro-providers) by bid comparison and selection and to self-source from its own online marketplace and from a client’s own private talent pools. Invoicing-to-payment strengths include the capability for contractors to auto-generate an e-invoice within the platform and the capability for clients to establish payment terms, review and approve invoices, and execute payments. Field Nation also supports an escrow capability that reduces friction in spot marketplace transactions.
  • Field Nation delivered top-tier performance (based on a three-tiered ratings model) for its capabilities for Platform Self-sourcing (from both its online marketplace and clients’ private talent pools), creation and management of Private Talent Pools and Execution Management from project on-boarding to end-of-project approvals and ratings.

Turnkey Capability and Business Value

  • Field Nation is a quintessential “Turnkey” provider that delivers more than software to customers to drive rapid ROI and business outcomes.
    • Its solution delivers an integrated bundle of capabilities inclusive of specialized source-to-pay functionality and an online marketplace from which contractors (mainly across North American locations) can be sourced, engaged, dispatched via sophisticated mobile technology and tracked to task/project completion.
    • The provider also supports client-specific private talent pools and advanced search capabilities.
  • Field Nation delivers the highest overall score in the Q3 SolutionMap benchmark for the “Business Value” it brings to customers.
  • Beyond its functional strengths (some of which are noted above), Field Nation excels in delivering Services capabilities that beat the SolutionMap benchmark, including in System Integration (customization), Ongoing Solution Support (technical support/community), comprehensive/full-service MSP, AOR-Payrolling, Data Analysis, Talent Acquisition and worker-facing solutions.

Beating the Benchmark

Based on the Q3 2018 Independent Contract Workers SolutionMap benchmark featuring six providers, Field Nation scores above benchmark (or in the top tier) in the following areas:

Sourcing

Requisitioning micro-businesses
Specialized interface/workflow
PO process integration

Self-Sourcing (all areas)

From private talent pools
From online marketplace(s)
Put projects out to bid
Compare bids
Average

Engagement/Compliance Management and Contract Management

ICW access to business services
Contract details available in downstream workflows
On-boarding process

Execution-Management (including talent pools)

Project "workspace"
Blended external and internal teams
Project document storage
Tracking of interim milestones/deliverables
Issues detection/escalation
Change orders
Final deliverables approvals
End of project performance rating
On-boarding internal employees into talent pools
Off-boarding to talent pools

Invoicing, Settlement, Payment

Invoice-to-payment integrated process and visibility
Electronic invoices
IWC invoice creation capability
Review and approval of invoices
Payment terms
Escrow
Payment by check
Payment by ACH
International payments
"Alternative" payments

Mobile Devices, Mobility (all areas)

Mobile devices supported
Business end-user visibility into processes
ICW visibility into processes
Mobile ICW dispatch and tracking

Online Marketplace Integrations

Proprietary/captive marketplace

Independent Contract Evaluation/Compliance Enablement — Integration

Worker classification assurance (captive ICEC)

AOR/EOR Enablement — Integration

Payment services (captive AOR/EOR)
Worker classification assurance (captive AOR/EOR)
Payment services (third party AOR/EOR)

Reporting/Business Intelligence

Data captured/stored in database
User-defined searches/queries
User-defined reports
KPI tracking
Third-party reporting needs
"Spend analysis"

Technology/Solution

Data Technology and Management — database
Software Architecture/Platforms — type/stack
Access Control
Mobile — solution scope
Mobile — solution roadmap
Mobile — usage

Other solutions

Repurposing of an existing system
Stand-alone product
Searching and matching algorithms
Guided insights/decisions
AI (General)

  • AI/Machine Learning — application
  • AI/Machine Learning — team

Services

System Integration-Customization
Ongoing Solution-Technical Support — community
Comprehensive/full-service MSP
AOR-payrolling
Data analysis
Talent acquisition
Worker-facing

Customer Satisfaction Survey

Quick deployment
Ability to maximize spend under management
ROI
TCO
Business Value (highest score in the Q3 SolutionMap benchmark)
Supplier network
End-user experience/ease of use
Process expertise
Category depth
Innovation

Best-Fit Customer Scenarios

Based on its Solution and Customer Value scoring, Field Nation is a highly recommended fit for all buying personas (scoring in the “Value Leader” quadrant for Nimble and Turn-Key and the “Custom Leader” quadrant for Deep).

Best-fit shortlist scenarios will include any in which procurement, HR organizations or tech services managers require:

  • A total turnkey solution for efficient sourcing, engaging, tracking and paying of tech field services contractors in the U.S. and Canada.
  • A robust, active online marketplace with thousands of vetted, available field tech services contractors across a broad range of categories.
  • The ability to manage blended contractor and employee workforce on the platform.
  • Turnkey integrations with key customer service systems, including ServiceNow, Salesforce, NetSuite.

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