Author Archives: Andrew Karpie



The Digital Evolution of the Contingent Workforce Supply Chain: What Does It Mean? (Part 1)

contingent workforce

Driven by the effects of new digital technologies and other factors (talent availability, generational change, etc.), contingent workforce procurement — and the contingent workforce supply chain — will be noticeably evolving over the next 10 years. The last impetus to change in the supply chain and procurement was the advent of VMS over 15 years ago, a set of developments that is well known by now. Given how much the world of commerce has changed since that time, we probably should not be surprised that another round of change has now begun. This time, given the range of drivers — technical, economic and social — that are converging, we should also not be surprised if the new round of change may give rise to new kinds of technology-enabled labor/services intermediaries and technology-based innovation across the existing contingent workforce supply chain (staffing suppliers, VMS, MSP and others). This Spend Matters Plus brief helps contingent workforce and services procurement professionals form a broad, strategic perspective on how technology, specifically, may bring about changes to the contingent workforce supply chain and how that may unfold. However, as will discuss later in this series, this is not just the “long game,” as both specific opportunities and threats will arise along the longer path forward.

The Freelance Frontier: How the Future of Independent Work is Happening Now

On May 15, we will be joining the Freelance Frontier webinar to contribute our own perspective on emerging, alternative sourcing channels and ecosystems for independent-freelance contract workers.The webinar will also feature three young, innovative solution providers — IC PreCheck, Bunker and Genesys Talent — that have started their journeys across the Freelance Frontier.

In addition to developing their own digitally enabled solutions, these providers have chosen to partner and configure themselves as part of an ecosystem that can bring together organizations and independent-freelance workers in an efficient, fast, compliant and mutually beneficial way. In the webinar, the providers will discuss their own solutions as well as how they work together.

The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hotlist: May 2018

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

Today, based on our own observations and our discussions with supply chain participants, change in the CW/S space (both its scope and pace) appears unprecedented; moreover, it may also be accelerating. The staffing industry of 10 years ago was mature, stable, highly concentrated and hardly innovative. But between then and now, much has been happening.

Change, up and down the supply chain, is being driven not only by enterprises beginning to require more effective solutions in the current environment but even more so by other external forces (e.g., new technology/solutions, workforce demographics and so on). While it is important to consider these external factors/sources, it is also important to watch how the core/traditional supply chain is responding to them. There is little, if any, disruption occurring, but there are many signs of assimilation, adaptation and, in some cases, innovation. For more on this, see our discussion, under the heading “Wildfire? Or Slow Burn?," in last month’s Hotlist.

Given the above, the past month did not disappoint, with developments in both the core/traditional category and the external/innovation category. We’ll start with developments in the first category and then proceed to those in the second.

Is Corporate America Now Embracing the Future of Work? It’s Complicated

In this heady and confusing time of freelancers, digital platforms and the gig economy, there are different perspectives on the extent to which large enterprises are — or will increasingly be — sourcing and engaging independent workers, using new technology solutions, digital platforms and new internal processes to do so. In this PRO brief, we look at the state of affairs in 2018 by evaluating this question: When will enterprises, thus far reserved, recognize the tactical and strategic importance of leveraging the independent workforce and start deliberately taking steps to make the independent workforce a part of their total workforce strategies?

The answer is complicated, and predictions are impossible. But trying to answer the question offers procurement and HR practitioners insights, from which they can draw their own conclusions and form their own managerial perspectives.

Catalant’s Reimagining Work 20/20 Report: Good Imagination or Perfect Vision?

Catalant, a provider of innovative solutions to access and maximize the value of expert talent, recently released a report entitled “Reimagining Work 20/20.” In essence, the report focuses on the evolving relationships among organizations, expert workforce and the so-called future of work. Reimagining Work 20/20 examines why and how organizations are already or will need to begin a transformational journey (our words) to arrive at place where they can take full advantage of what Catalant calls the “radically agile workforce.” It also acknowledges and cautions that the journey to becoming an agile organization will be a challenging one.

The SAP Fieldglass Digital Network: What Is It and What Does It Mean?

SAP Fieldglass announced in March the first stage in the development of its Digital Network, a new way for businesses to access alternative digital suppliers of workforce and services. Prominent among these suppliers are online talent marketplaces, which engage and aggregate one or more general categories of talent, typically freelancers/independent workers. While larger enterprises have generally been slow to utilize these emerging digital suppliers — especially through a managed buying channel and a VMS — we’ve observed that levels of curiosity and interest have been trending upward. Within SAP Fieldglass, these marketplaces and other digital platforms are treated as additional contingent workforce suppliers within a “multichannel” sourcing framework.

We had an opportunity to connect with SAP SAP Fieldglass President Rob Brimm and members of his staff to discuss what the Digital Network is and what it means from the SAP Fieldglass perspective. Below, we share some of what we learned, as well our own perspective on how this development fits into a broader industry context.

The 2018 Beeline Conference: What Did We Learn?

Eved

The 2018 Beeline Conference, which officially wrapped up Wednesday, may in retrospect be a milestone event for the company. Not only was the conference well attended, well organized, informative and analyst friendly in terms of access and transparency, it also provided visibility into a company that has weathered a near-perfect storm in 2017 and is now unfurling its sails, looking toward the horizon. Realistically, on the voyage ahead, there will be both smooth sailing and rough seas — and as any seasoned mariner knows, that’s just how it is.

What’s New on the Beeline Technology Horizon: BeelineOne

Beeline Senior Vice President of Strategy Colleen Tiner made two important product announcements at the 2018 Beeline Conference Tuesday, providing a clearer technology roadmap for the company following its merger with IQNavigator. The first announcement concerned the completion of Horizon, Beeline’s name for its new underlying microservices platform. The second covered the development of BeelineOne, a user-facing product that delivers a common set of capabilities from both Beeline and IQN’s platforms.

To learn more about Horizon and BeelineOne, we spoke with the Beeline engineering team to understand what is complete, what is available and what is in the works.

2018 Beeline Conference: CEO Doug Leeby Talks Integration Hurdles, What Lies Ahead

Doug Leeby kicked off the 2018 Beeline Conference Tuesday with a talk on how Beeline has done over the past year and where it is headed. Given our interest in Beeline’s progress post-merger with IQNavigator, Leeby’s talk was very helpful. Compared with past years, Leeby’s keynote was notably more serious, focused on the here and now rather than technology and innovation. Specifically, Leeby emphasized Beeline’s increased “customer focus” — no doubt of critical importance given the typical challenges that come with integrating two companies.

The 2018 Beeline Conference: What Lies Ahead in a Changing World of Work

The 2018 Beeline Conference kicks off Monday in Amelia Island, Florida, the company’s second annual event since its merger with IQNavigator in December 2016. The conference will provide a good opportunity to review Beeline’s technology and product strategies, to be sure, but we at Spend Matters are also interested in the broader picture. In particular, we are eager to gauge Beeline’s progress as it evolves from simply a vendor management system (VMS) to something much bigger. 

What You Don’t Know Can’t Help You: Why Crowdsourcing Is Alive and Growing

Crowdsourcing is obscure concept for many, but one that is also widely in use. Large organizations ranging from Coca-Cola and Starbucks to AstraZeneca and NASA are increasingly experimenting with the approach, finding solutions for everything from sweetener development to answers to citizen science projects. And they’re not the only ones. In fact, there is considerable evidence that even midsize organizations are using and benefiting from crowdsourcing, too. To bring contingent workforce and services category managers and sourcing practitioners up to speed on these developments, we recently published “Crowdsourcing: New Trends and Developments” (Part 1 and Part 2).

Crowdsourcing: New Trends and Developments (Part 2)

crowdsourcing

In Part 1 of this two-part series, we provided an overview of crowdsourcing, defining what it is and how it is different from online freelancer marketplaces. We not only provided examples of different crowdsourcing platform providers (of which there are many) but also provided illustrations of real crowdsourcing in action.

Today in Part 2 of this series, we cover the emergence of practices and functions to effectively manage crowdsourcing across organizations and some of the segments where crowdsourcing has grown both on the demand (buyer organizations) and supply (platform providers) side. We also look at how the space is evolving and provide some highlights and suggestions for practitioners.