The Services and Indirect Spend Category

How Companies are Using Labor Clouds to Transform Their Workforce

Mounting pressure to work smarter, faster and more productively is pushing companies to embrace a more flexible way to work: labor clouds. Businesses of all stripes — from a Fortune 50 retailer to a global media giant — are using labor clouds to work smarter, deploying a hybrid workforce of employees, vendors and freelancers into projects when and where they're needed. Using pre-set controls for skills, compliance and costs, labor clouds are helping businesses adapt to a changing world of work, enabling a nimble and skilled workforce better able to compete in a turbulent and fast-paced global economy. Curious how labor clouds can benefit your organization? To help you get started, here’s a guide to how companies are using them today, including criteria for when you should consider using them and recommended best practices for your own success.

Applying Strategic Sourcing to Talent Management: What You Need to Know


By 2020, more than half of the U.S. workforce will be involved in contingent work. Companies are rethinking their talent management strategies accordingly, and those that are familiar with strategic sourcing may already be a couple steps ahead. How strategic sourcing can be applied to talent management was the topic of a webinar that Spend Matters analysts Jason Busch and Andrew Karpie presented last month with NextSource’s chief executive, Catherine Candland, and senior program director, Jim Gallagher. NextSource has been in the contingent workforce business for the past two decades.

North American Staffing Sector Optimistic on 2018 Revenue, Concerned by Skills Shortages

North American staffing and recruiting professionals are overall optimistic on revenue, according to Bullhorn’s 2018 North American Staffing & Recruiting Trends Report, although challenges such as skills shortages remain salient. In a survey of 1,442 staffing and recruiting professionals, three-quarters anticipated an increase in 2018 revenue as compared to 2017 revenue. Twenty percent of the respondents predicted revenue to increase by more than 25%. Small firms were more optimistic than their larger counterparts.

SAP Fieldglass Introduces its Digital Network to Support Multichannel Services Sourcing and Engagement

SAP Fieldglass has announced the launch of its Digital Network, a new way for businesses to “find, hire and manage an array of workforce channels, such as freelancers, contingent workers, statement-of-work consultants and permanent employees,” according to an SAP blog post. The announcement indicates the Digital Network will provide enterprises with an end-to-end, digitally integrated, multichannel sourcing and engagement process, including access to third-party digital platforms and other solutions. The company introduced 11 providers of various kinds and said the number would increase over time. 

The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List: March 2018 [Plus+]

This is the second edition of Spend Matters’ new monthly feature, “The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List,” available to Plus and PRO subscribers. In the depths of the evolving and expanding contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space, innovations and emerging practices may be brewing but escape observation. To shed some light, at the top of every month, we select, summarize and provide some brief commentary on noteworthy development that have recently appeared on our radar.

February was mostly cool and did not bode well for the hot list. But fortunately, things really heated up late in the month.

Outcome-Oriented Contracts for Services: Should You Dangle the Carrot or Wave the Stick? (Part 2)


In Part 1 of this series, we provided an overview of services and outcome-oriented contracts, as well as introduced specific research on that subject. Today in part 2 of this series, we cover key findings of the research and explore some of the more practical implications and potential guidance for practitioners. Below we summarize the research findings published in the working paper “Using outcome-oriented contracts to foster performance improvements in logistics outsourcing relationships” and conclude with a set of takeaways from the series as a whole.

How Hiring Managers View the Changing World of Work: Upwork’s 2018 Future Workforce Report


Upwork, a global online freelancer marketplace and enterprise solution provider, announced Wednesday the release of its second annual “Future Workforce Report: Hiring Manager Insights on Flexible and Remote Work Trends.” The study is specifically concerned with “knowledge work.” The underlying survey, conducted by independent research firm Inavero, was based on a sample of more than 1,000 hiring managers within U.S. organizations, across 10 industry verticals and ranging in size from under 50 employees to more than 5,000. Because this is the second year of the study, year-over-year changes are indicated in the report. 

Outcome-Oriented Contracts for Services: Should You Dangle the Carrot or Wave the Stick? (Part 1)

In this two-part series, we dip into the topical subject of outcome-oriented (i.e., outcome-based, performance-based) contracts for managing service delivery and outcomes. Part 1 provides an overview of services and outcome-oriented contracts and introduces some specific research on that subject. Part 2 addresses the key findings of that research and provides a set of takeaways from the series as a whole. 

Catalant: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) – Competitive and Summary Analysis [PRO]


In the previous two installments of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot series (Parts 1 and Part 2), we provided an overview of Catalant and its solution offering(s) as well an analysis and evaluation of solution strengths and weaknesses. In Part 3, we provide a SWOT assessment and competitive analysis of Catalant in the context of an evolving contingent workforce and services intermediation industry made up of long-established providers and innovative new entrants.

Direct Sourcing of Independent Professionals: What Enterprises Need to Know in 2018 (Part 4)

The main purpose of this four-part series has been to provide corporate and functional decision-makers with guidance for identifying a technology-enabled direct sourcing solution that will be fit for the purpose of engaging skilled independent professional talent and will, at the same time, satisfy non-negotiable enterprise requirements.

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, we traced the development of the enterprise-oriented technology-enabled direct sourcing solution, from talent marketplace platforms (such as online freelancer marketplaces) through freelancer management systems (FMS) to the current state of development in 2018. In Part 3, we highlighted the crucial relationship between technology-enabled direct sourcing and the increasingly important independent professional workforce.

In the fourth and final part of this series, we provide executive decision-makers with criteria to identify a technology-based direct sourcing solution that is fit for purpose and that meets the high bar of enterprise requirements.

Beeline Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive and Summary Analysis [PRO]

Beeline remains one of the top vendor management system (VMS) brands in the contingent workforce market today, holding market share that is roughly equal to SAP Fieldglass following its merger with IQNavigator. The company, which operates independently of any larger software or staffing-related firm, has distinguished itself with a forward-looking strategy and innovative solutions to changing market requirements.

But in a sector marked by rapid change, including procurement’s continued interest in gaining greater control over complex services spend (e.g., professional services) as well as labor market alternatives (e.g., freelancers), the traditional VMS solution model is evolving and its scope widening. That can be both positive and negative. VMS, now becoming more of a broader solution suite, may be perceived in the market as transforming from a sharp, fit-for-purpose tool to a Swiss army knife. While Beeline is not sitting still in this market by any means, it faces — as do other VMS providers — dampened growth rates and narrowing margins, as well as the specter of continuing direct competition from other VMS providers, new competition in the VMS market and a range of alternatives and substitutes targeting different types of services and labor.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot provides a SWOT analysis of Beeline and offers a competitive segmentation of the complex landscape Beeline faces. It also includes recommended candidates that could serve as alternatives to Beeline, as well guidance for procurement practitioners developing a shortlist. Finally, it provides a summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering Beeline.

Direct Sourcing of Independent Professionals: What Enterprises Need to Know in 2018 (Part 3)


In Part 2 of this four-part series, we examined the emergence of purportedly enterprise-grade, fit-for-purpose, technology-enabled direct sourcing solutions over the past few years, beginning from the “first stab” of freelancer management systems (FMS) to today’s solutions, which are being developed and brought to market a range of different third parties: VMS providers, new software/technology providers, contingent workforce service providers and even some of the talent marketplace platforms.

But the emergence of a range of different solutions in this complex, evolving supply-side environment presents enterprise corporate and functional executives with the challenge of sorting through and identifying a direct sourcing solution that is fit for purpose and will satisfy enterprise requirements. However, fit for purpose may mean different things depending upon what type of independent workers are being sourced and engaged to perform specific kinds of work (e.g., low-skill gig workers compared with specialized, skilled independent professionals).

In this third part of our series, we focus on the crucial relationship between technology-enabled direct sourcing and engaging specialized, skilled independent professionals.