Author Archives: Andrew Karpie



New Upwork Enterprise Capabilities Support Adoption of Flexible Talent Programs

Upwork, the global online freelancer marketplace, announced Wednesday that it is adding capabilities to its Upwork Enterprise solution that will support businesses in their adoption of online freelancing and other alternative forms of flexible talent. The announcement of the Program Owner Experience capabilities came at Upwork’s second annual Work Without Limits Executive Summit, a gathering of Upwork Enterprise clients.  Upwork Enterprise is Upwork’s technology and managed services solution geared to support larger organizations. Program Owner Experience will provide Upwork Enterprise clients “with the resources and tools they need to drive flexible workforce adoption to build, scale and measure the impact of their flexible talent program,” according to a press release.   

The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List: August 2018

Welcome to the August edition of Spend Matters’ monthly feature, “The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List,” available to Plus and PRO subscribers.

While the months of May and June were on the cool side, we saw a return to hot technology and innovation temperatures in July. Perhaps it’s extreme weather patterns? CW/S climate change?

Indeed, new hotspots could be found across the entire space, from the established core of traditional suppliers and intermediaries to new solutions that either complement or challenge the core (or both). While there has been friction and overheating on the demand side, developments on the supply side have also been heating up, with the mercury rising in places across the globe.

Now that our warmup is complete, let’s begin our first routine.

Innovative Employee Solutions Spins Off Fulcrum: A New Enterprise Solution for Independent Talent is Open for Business

Coworks

Innovative Employee Solutions (IES), a San Diego-based outsourced payroll and human resources services provider, recently announced it had spun off enterprise freelancer platform Fulcrum into its own company. Fulcrum, which was incubated within IES, bills itself as “a first-of-its-kind hiring platform connecting enterprise companies with top online gig and freelance talent providers while maintaining full compliance,” according to the recent press release. The newly minted company “delivers a powerful, end-to-end gig workforce hiring platform, where enterprise companies can access the entire gig economy from a single, fully-compliant online point of entry with transparent pricing models.”

Beeline and New Mountain Capital: A Conversation With Doug Leeby (Part 1)

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Beeline announced Thursday it had been acquired by New Mountain Capital, a private equity firm that seeks to “acquire the highest quality leaders in carefully selected ‘defensive growth’ industries, and then to build those businesses.” The acquisition, which Beeline and New Mountain describe as a partnership, represents a key development within the traditional contingent workforce management technology (i.e, VMS) solution segment. To get a clearer perspective, we sat down with CEO Doug Leeby for a wide-ranging conversation on what the deal means for Beeline, New Mountain’s approach managing its portfolio companies and how the acquisition could ripple through the broader contingent workforce and services (CW/S) technology sector.

Beeline Acquired by New Mountain Capital — The Journey Continues

Beeline, a provider of workforce management software, announced Thursday it has been acquired by New Mountain Capital, a New York City-based private equity firm, for an undisclosed amount, according to a press release. Founded in 1999, Beeline represents, alongside SAP Fieldglass, one of the “Big 2” vendor management system (VMS) providers. Its current incarnation is the result of a December 2016 merger with IQNavigator (IQN), which saw Beeline, part of staffing giant Adecco, acquired by GTCR, the owner of vendor-neutral IQN. Following the merger, Beeline and IQN were combined into a single company, renamed Beeline.

Delivering AI-Powered Solutions to Contingent Labor Challenges: A Q&A with ZeroChaos CEO Jim Burke

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The contingent labor market is both a large and increasingly critical component of businesses’ growth strategies. Yet the procurement software tools and services providers that enable organizations to find, engage and manage external workers have changed little over the past decade, creating an opening for pioneering companies to disrupt the space. This opportunity is front of mind for Jim Burke, who took up in June the role of CEO at ZeroChaos. To learn more about his outlook and where he plans to lead ZeroChaos, we sat down for a quick Q&A covering his first impressions of the sector, where he plans to uncover new value for clients and how artificial intelligence will be an essential capability for his company going forward.

Strategic Technology Planning: A New Imperative for Contingent Workforce and Services Procurement (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this series, we provided a context and rationale for the adoption of strategic technology planning for contingent workforce and services (CW/S) procurement. We also began the discussion of what strategic technology planning explicitly means for an organization and how it can be enacted. Part 2 of this series continues that discussion.

By way of summary, we defined “strategic technology planning” as a specific type of strategic planning that lets an organization (i.e., CW/S procurement) know where it is now, where it wants or needs to be some time in the future, how technology can be leveraged as an enabler and what changes in resource allocation and investment must occur or what constraints will condition progress. We should emphasize that strategic technology planning is not the same as a tactical plan or roadmap, though ideally it would lead to these.

Strategic planning is more about high-level understanding (insight and foresight) than it is about immediate, direct action. We believe it must become a critical component to any CW/S procurement function and program that wants to avoid being caught flat-footed and aims to deliver a new (and necessary) level of business value over a reasonable planning horizon (e.g., three to five years). This type of planning effort may represent a shift of gears for many procurement practitioners. For this and other reasons, we suggest and outline a process in this Spend Matters Plus research brief that is intended to help practitioners get started and pointed in the right direction.

Strategic Technology Planning: A New Imperative for Contingent Workforce and Services Procurement (Part 1)

For many years now, planning for CW/S technology has been largely tactical, focusing almost exclusively on the capabilities and effectiveness of one VMS solution or another. Technology planning at a strategic level has been rare in CW/S procurement functions, in main part because it has not been necessary in a relatively static technology and supply chain environment. Need a core contingent workforce technology to manage processes, compliance, risk and cost? Adopt a VMS (or work through your MSP to get one). Seeking a specialized category solution? Work with the business owner (e.g., legal, telecom, facilities) to engage a vendor that meets everyone’s needs.

But in recent years, many aspects of the environment in which CW/S procurement executes its mission have begun to change significantly. Under these conditions, strategic planning becomes necessary. Because technology is now and will be presenting CW/S procurement functions with new opportunities to add value to their organizations in a variety of ways, allocating time and resources to conducting strategic technology planning is now an imperative. In most cases, this will mean starting from scratch. But foregoing strategic technology planning opens CW/S procurement to missed opportunities, core mission failure and possibly disruption.

In short: procurement, HR and IT organizations — not to mention line of business owners — need to work together to create their own CW/S technology information architecture through a strategic technology planning process. In Part 1 of this series, we build the case for strategic technology planning and provide an overview of what strategic technology planning means for a CW/S procurement function. In Part 2, we flesh out a targeted approach to CW/S procurement strategic technology planning and practical approaches for implementation within an organization.

MBO Partners’ 8th Annual State of Independence Report: What’s In It For Contingent Workforce Managers?

Coworks

MBO Partners has released its latest State of Independence in America report, which examines the size, trends, demographics and other information about the population of U.S. workers that, in effect, “work on their own” and earn income outside of traditional employment. The report, which was first published in 2011, provides a broad range of data and insights pertaining to this population that MBO estimates at nearly 42 million workers.

Online Work Platforms and Enterprises: Survival of the Fittest or the Fastest?

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In this Plus research brief, we provide an analysis of the complex dynamics that characterize the online work platform technology market, in particular with respect to large enterprise adoption (or, to date, the lack thereof). We also examine some promising platform strategies/approaches that may promote platform business viability and, over time, more success in achieving large scale enterprise penetration. Finally, we discuss the implications of our analysis for both platform providers and enterprise buyers.

(Note: To avoid possible perception that we are making endorsements or recommendations in this brief, we forego references to specific platforms. Platform providers are evaluated separately, in our Vendor Snapshot and SolutionMap series, with these strategies and approaches in mind.)

The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List: July 2018

Welcome to the sixth edition of Spend Matters’ monthly feature, “The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List,” available to Plus and PRO subscribers. As the mercury started to rise this summer, CW/S technology and innovation took a rest in the shade. Is this a seasonal fluctuation, or has the ongoing fire burned out? Most likely the former, but this month’s Hot List turned out more warm than fiery. Still, despite the tepidness of June, there were several developments and events that bear mentioning.

Solution Provider Product and Technology Roadmaps: Are They Important?

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The short answer to the question posed in the title is emphatically and definitively “yes” — now more than ever. When screening or evaluating technology solution providers for e-procurement, contract lifecycle management, vendor management systems (VMS) or any other solution, there is frequently an inherent present and backward-looking bias in evaluating and making decisions about these solutions. Considering only what solutions have done or are doing for their clients (and ex-clients) only tells so much about whether or not the solution is a good fit.

There are probably a number of reasons for this bias, including that it may have led to optimal decisions in the past because vendors often over-promised and only partially delivered. But in today’s world, this bias can handicap a procurement organization given the growing number of new solutions and rapid changes in technology. Whether intentional or not on the part of the solution provider, “adverse selection” may come into play here — to the detriment of all. By not knowing where a provider plans or intends to (or actually can) take its solution in the future, the buyer is missing crucial information that could result in a bad decision. Making sure that roadmaps are reviewed and analyzed is an important way to mitigate this risk.

In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, we explore this problem and make suggestions to support ways to move beyond it, including how to look at a provider’s product and technology maps from a 2017 cloud-era frame of reference. For those who are new to this topic, we start with the basics, providing an explanation of what vendor product and technology roadmaps are, what they should contain and what you should expect.