The Professional Services Category

Business Talent Group: A Specialist in Sourcing High-end Independent Talent [PRO]

Business Talent Group (BTG), which launched in late 2007, is a unique direct-sourcing, flexible talent intermediation solution focused specifically on “high-end” business talent and the organizations that need to engage this talent on a project basis. Over the past several years, online platform intermediaries of various kinds have captured the spotlight.

But BTG has not been trying to be one of the cool kids. Instead, it has been quietly refining its own talent sourcing and engagement model, its special blend of personal curation services and proprietary technology, which was designed from the start to service the unique needs of its F1000 client base.

Rather than being a “technology first” player in the developing segment of “next-gen alternative intermediaries” (i.e., neither a staffing supplier nor a professional services or consulting firm), BTG has maintained a primary focus on meeting the specific needs of hiring managers and organizations, on the one hand, and the specific expectations of highly skilled — often expert — independent professionals, on the other. For BTG, technology is critical, but always as a means to an end, like optimizing its specialized service and business models for clients and talent. And, more recently fueled by an $8 million funding round led by Next Equity in late 2016, BTG has been ramping up its investment in technology to create applications and tools to improve client and talent experiences and results.

At this time, BTG seems to have begun sharing the spotlight, recently attracting a minority investment from Kelly Services and becoming a part of SAP Fieldglass’ digital network. In this article, we try to provide some insights into where BTG is today and where it fits into the bigger picture.

Number of High-Earning Independent Workers Is Rising, MBO Report Says

workers

A select group of high-earning workers has been increasing, according to a recent research brief from MBO Partners, stemming from the firm’s eighth-annual 2018 State of Independence in America report. The report estimates that of the more than 15 million full-time independent workers, 3.3 million are high earners — defined as earning $100,000 per year or more. This group has grown nearly 70% since 2011, despite that the overall number of full-time independents in total actually declined over that same period.

ADP and the Future of Work (Part 3) — Strategy Explanation [PRO]

In Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO series, we summarized ADP’s business characteristics, its market and financial strength, and its increased investment in innovation R&D as a backdrop and foundation for the pursuit of its future-of-work strategy. In Part 2, we examined the significant technology developments and recent strategic acquisitions that make up key execution components of the strategy. In this third installment of this series, we will step back and provide our perspective on ADP’s future-of-work strategy, both our view of what it is and what it may mean in a broader industry context.

Give Your Company a Personality Test Before Contracting for Services

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Gary Weiss, Flash Global's vice president of pricing, procurement and inventory management.

If your company were a human who could sit down and take a personality test, how would it score? Every company is like a person, with an individual temperament, strengths, weaknesses and quirks. Instead of "personality," though, we call it "corporate culture." Company culture affects every aspect of business operations, including employee recruitment, retention, development, business practices and vendor relationships. These five questions will help you define your corporate culture and find a service vendor who is a good fit.

The Game of Professional Services: Procurement vs. Providers [Plus+]

Editor's note: This Spend Matters Plus brief is a refresh of our 2012 series on buying professional services, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO. 

Procurement executives are often their own worst enemy in this context. Too often they measure their success purely on some hourly or daily rates achieved from the professional services provider. So the negotiating goal becomes a simple one. Your list price for a lawyer with around three years post-qualification experience is $300 an hour – we want a rate of $200 an hour. Or last year we paid £2000 a day for a managing consultant — how much discount will you give me this year?

Corcentric Acquires Source One: Transaction Analysis (Part 2) — Customer Recommendations, Selection Checklist and Procurement Consulting Market Update [PRO]

Procurement consulting sector insiders might look at Corcentric’s acquisition of Source One as a rounding error representing what is most likely materially less than the revenue — both in terms of revenue contribution and valuation — that a single large client can bring to a Big Five strategy or operations firms over the course of a calendar year.

There’s likely some truth to this statement. But to dismiss the transaction along these lines would be to ignore the acquisition of one of the few remaining non-system integration procurement consultancies in North America of any scale. And perhaps more important, it would also require turning one’s back on a number of macro trends that are fundamentally shifting the dynamics of the procurement consulting, managed services and business process outsourcing sectors.

These trends matter for both for not only those interested in playing a part in sector consolidation (sellers and buyers) but also customers. This two-part Spend Matters PRO research brief provides insight into the transaction. Part 1 provided an overview of the acquisition and background on Source One. In Part 2, we explore Corcentric and Source One customer recommendations, provide a selection checklist for potential Source One customers to evaluate if the firm is the right "fit" and offer our analysis of what the transaction means for the broader procurement consulting and solutions market.

Corcentric Acquires Source One: Transaction Analysis (Part 1) — Background, Rationale and Deal Analysis [PRO]

Corcentric, a unique amalgam of accounts payable automation, order-to-cash, trade financing and group purchasing organization (GPO) software and services, announced earlier in May it would acquire Source One, a boutique sourcing and procurement consultancy. Terms of the transaction were not announced, but Spend Matters believes they are in line with the increasingly higher revenue and EBITDA multiples procurement consultancies and services firms have afforded themselves as of late.

For those unfamiliar with the closely held Corcentric, the name is the permanent rebrand of Corcentric and AmeriQuest. Both companies are based in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, arguably a critical factor for Corcentric to realize the full synergies from this targeted acquisition, especially given the relatively small size of Source One.

This two-part Spend Matters PRO research brief provides insight into the transaction. Part 1 provides an overview of the acquisition and background on Source One. Part 2 will provide an analysis of the transaction and our opinion on what it means for the broader procurement consulting and solutions market.

Insight Sourcing Group (ISG): Provider Introduction, Summary and SWOT [PRO]

consultant

Insight Sourcing Group (ISG) is likely the largest North American boutique management consulting firm providing strategic and operational solutions for procurement. But unlike similar firms, ISG offers more than just consulting services. Beyond its core business, ISG has three additional business units that form the nucleus of its offering: SpendHQ, a spend analytics platform; InsightGPO, a group purchasing organization (GPO); and ISG Energy, an energy supply and demand cost optimization practice.

This Spend Matters PRO Provider Introduction offers an overview of ISG, including quick facts on the provider. The brief includes an introduction to each of ISG’s four business lines, an overall SWOT analysis comparing it to other procurement consultancies and a selection checklist for companies that may consider the provider.

4 Ways Law Firms Can Evolve Their Procurement Strategies Beyond Savings

forced labor

Spend Matters welcomes this guest post from Clay Fox, senior director at HBR Consulting.

New technology and regulations, increased client scrutiny into risk management protocols and interest in supplier diversity programs, along with expectations around improving law firm operations and internal controls, have all spurred recent changes in law firms’ procurement functions, making one thing clear: procurement’s value can no longer be judged by savings alone. As we navigate the early months of 2018, law firms looking to set themselves apart in the market need to think well beyond the status quo. By focusing on four key areas in 2018, procurement can prove that its value extends far beyond savings.

Technology, Platforms, Disruption and the Transformation of the Consulting Industry [Plus+]

consulting

Few would disagree that the professional services industry is mature — business and delivery models and the actual industry structure have remained practically unchanged for decades now. This industry is not only mature but also massive and complex.

A long state of industry maturity is almost always a predictor of an approaching period of significant change — disruptive, transformative and most often both. As in other industries, technology and online platforms are already making their mark — and will do so increasingly.

The Services Procurement Machine is Broken — Here’s Why You Should Trade it in for a New Approach

Channel the original Apple Macintosh ad. Remember the people staring into the screen before our hero destroyed it? They weren’t just nameless faces in some Orwellian dystopia. They were procurement team members tasked with buying services. Category managers led astray by a misguided authoritarian philosophy. Call them part of the services procurement machine, if you will.

Cutting BigLaw Down to Size: New Alternatives for Legal Services Procurement (Part 3)

The dramatically changing legal services industry discussed in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series ultimately provides both challenges and exciting opportunities within legal services procurement. Alternative legal services providers (ALSPs), a main focus of this series, are just one component of these changes and still an emerging one in legal services procurement strategies and practice priorities. Growth in the corporate use of ALSPs, however, is expected.