The Services and Indirect Spend Category

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List: December 2018 [Plus+]

Welcome to the December 2018 edition of Spend Matters’ monthly feature, “The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List,” available to PLUS and PRO subscribers. If you missed previous Hot Lists, you can find them all here. For those new to the Hot List, each edition covers the prior month’s important (and sometimes just plain interesting) technology and innovation developments within the CW/S space, where change may be accelerating or at least becoming more pervasive.

Despite the change of seasons, November was hot enough, with a continuing warm, steady stream of new developments like Spend Matters prepping the second contingent workforce comparison for SolutionMap (coming Dec. 4), an update on Upwork's stock performance since its IPO, Appen's aplomb with language, FlexJobs' map of jobs by states, and helping freelance workers help themselves.

Making It Real: Workforce Agility in Context

talent management

Organizations are increasingly being driven by market and competitive demands, new technology and other environmental factors to become more responsive to rapidly changing opportunities, challenges and threats — to become, in effect, more agile. The question of specifically how an organization can become agile is still being answered by executives, management consulting firms, framework creators and academic researchers. But what we do know is that how human capabilities are engaged, organized and used is a big part of the answer to the question. In this brief, we explore how workforce agility is connected to organizational agility, where most organizations actually are on the road to organizational agility and why the drive to agility is both urgent and incremental.

Number of U.S. Freelancers Dropped in 2018, But Talent Pool Still Deep

Crowded.com

A recent report on the state of freelancing in the U.S. shows that about 4 million more people are freelancing than in 2014, with a steady increase each year — until now. About 600,000 fewer workers were in the freelance pool in 2018, according to the Edelman Intelligence report, which was commissioned by Upwork, an online freelancer marketplace and enterprise solution company, and the Freelancers Union. Five years ago, about 53 million Americans did freelance work, and the number climbed to 57.3 million last year before tapering off to 56.7 million this year, the report shows.

ADP and the Future of Work (Part 4) — Strategy Assessment [PRO]

talent management

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 Part 3, we offered an explanation of how we see ADP’s future-of-work strategy, providing additional context and zeroing in on essential features. In this fourth and final part of this series, we step back to assess the strategy and what it may mean in a broader industry context.

FMS and Beyond: Filling in the ‘White Space’ of Sourcing and Engaging the Independent Workforce (Part 1) [Plus+]

services procurement

Editor's note: This Spend Matters Plus brief is a refresh of our 2015 series on engaging the independent workforce, which originally ran on Spend Matters PRO. 

Freelancer management system (FMS) is a vendor-driven term and concept that achieved buzzword status in staffing and contingent workforce management circles within just a year of its inception. It is a real and important technology solution development, one that has focused attention on an important expanding gap between talent-hungry enterprises and a fast growing, business-critical segment of the modern global workforce. While FMS is one catalyst of this focus and a way of beginning to bridge this gap — a procurement “white space,” if you will — it is also a part of a much larger set of developments, encompassing a range of incumbent and new services and solutions players as well as new technology infrastructures that will unfold and take shape in the coming years.

In Part 1 of this Spend Matters Plus series, we cover how a procurement white space has appeared between enterprises and an important growing labor population: the independent workforce. We also provide an understanding of what this independent workforce is and why it is important. In Part 2, we begin to identify the broad range of incumbent and new services and solutions players that are bringing together different approaches to connecting supply and demand in this emerging contingent workforce category.

TalentNet: What Makes It Great (Independent Contract Workers SolutionMap Analysis)

Lystable

TalentNet — a provider of talent acquisition, talent management and direct sourcing technology — enables organizations that are looking to source, manage and leverage independent contract workers (ICWs). TalentNet’s technology solution was recently evaluated in Spend Matters’ SolutionMap framework with the Independent Contract Workers (ICW) enterprise solution category. The ICW solution segment is the most dynamic part of the contingent and workforce and services (CW/S) procurement technology market, which also includes SolutionMap’s Temp Staffing (Vendor Management Systems/VMS) and Contract Services/Statement of Work solution segments.

Most ICW enterprise solutions have emerged over the past five years within the context of the so-called gig, freelance and peer-to-peer “economies” — a world of innovative platforms like Uber and Airbnb versus the establishment world of enterprise software applications inhabited for decades by providers like SAP and Oracle. While some new providers have stood up external platforms like online marketplaces that function effectively as third-party suppliers of talent, others have stood up enterprise software solutions that organizations can use to source and manage talent in ways that VMS, ATS and HRIS systems cannot. TalentNet falls within this latter category.

TalentNet provides a fit-for-purpose enterprise software solution that can be used within the context of contingent workforce management and/or talent acquisition programs. The “TalentCommunity” module enables enterprises to develop, scale and manage their own independent contract workforce using online private and public talent communities. The “TalentBench” module provides business users with a range of capabilities to manage and direct-source independent workers within those categories.

Upwork Reports Q3 2018 Financial Results: Trends Continue, But Q4 Growth A Concern

Upwork Inc., ​the global online freelancer marketplace and enterprise solution company that had a successful IPO in early October, reported its third quarter 2018 financial results Wednesday. Spend Matters hasextensively covered Upwork in past years, and the Upwork Enterprise technology platform made a strong showing in our Q3 2018 SolutionMap for contingent workforce technology.

Since the company’s Q2 2018 and earlier financial results became known shortly before the IPO, it was not a surprise that Q3 results reflected a continuation of mostly positive trends. Q3 2018 gross services volume (GSV) increased by 27% over Q3 2017 to $449.5 million, putting the company on track to cross the $2 billion annualized run-rate Q4. Total Q3 2018 revenue increased by 23% period-over-period to $64.1 million.

There’s one possible surprise to investors: Upwork’s guidance on Q4 revenue indicates a range of $64.5 million to $66.0 million. The lower end of the range would imply essentially no growth in revenue Q4 over Q3, and the high end would imply only 3% growth (compared to 8% over the last two quarters). And the stock price saw a slide in early trading Thursday. For now, financial analysts and investors are trying to gauge and understand a complex, entirely new type of business that has a vision of destination but is still working out the route to get there.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List: November 2018 [Plus+]

Welcome to the November 2018 edition of Spend Matters’ monthly feature, “The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List,” available to PLUS and PRO subscribers. For those new to the Hot List, each edition covers the prior month’s important and sometimes just plain interesting technology and innovation developments within the CW/S space, where the pace of change may be picking up or at least becoming more pervasive. The October Hot List covered a broad range of developments in September, ranging from Coupa’s acquisition of DCR Workforce to Upwork’s announcement that it would be going public; from Kelly Services’ investment in Business Talent Group to banking/payment innovation that just make freelancers and moonlighters easier; and more. This past month — with the Upwork IPO completed and developments in Uber Works, the importance of platforms, SAP Fieldglass' Digital Network and payments methods — we’re really wondering how high the heat will rise.

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.

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.

Sponsored Article

Building the MSP of the Future: The GRI Approach

digital business transformation

Managed service providers (MSPs) failing to adapt to evolving enterprise standards for contingent workforce management risk becoming obsolete before the end of the decade. To win and keep business, MSPs of the future have to reposition themselves as experts, becoming trusted advisors offering a consultative approach built on modern contingent workforce strategies. What does this look like in practice? To find out, we take a look at how Geometric Results Inc. (GRI) is tackling the contingent workforce challenges of tomorrow and examining how its solutions and services align with the three characteristics of successfully evolving MSPs.

ADP and the Future of Work (Part 2) — Innovation R&D, Acquisitions [PRO]

interest rates

In Part 1 of this PRO series, we laid out ADP’s business characteristics, its market and financial strength, and its increased investment in innovation R&D as a backdrop and foundation for its pursuit of its future of work strategy. In this second part of the series, we examine the significant technology developments and recent strategic acquisitions that make up key execution components of the strategy. Part 3 will bring the pieces together to describe this strategy and what it may mean in a broader industry context.