The Services Procurement & Contingent Labor Management Category

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.

Upwork Post-IPO Rising: A Next-Gen Staffing Industry Analysis [PRO]

On Oct. 3, 2018, Upwork became a public company listed on the Nasdaq exchange. Its stock was offered at $15 per share and has since been trading in the $19 to $21 range, giving it a market valuation on the order of $2 billion. This was a company that emerged from a new segment of innovative, online platform intermediaries, and just six years ago, was widely considered to be a non-starter, even dismissed as a “flash-in-the-pan,” by practitioners in the staffing industry. Now, based on gross revenue/gross services volume, it would rank among some of the world’s largest staffing companies. The Upwork IPO was not only an important milestone in the evolving and increasingly digitized contingent workforce space, it also presented an opportunity to look more clearly into the company and assess where it stands (and might eventually stand) in the space. In this Spend Matters PRO brief we take a look at both. We provide a snapshot of key Upwork information to highlight what the company actually is and what it represents in the industry vs. common industry perceptions.

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

Upwork Enterprise

WorkMarket, acquired by ADP in January 2018, offers an enterprise technology solution that companies can use to organize, manage and pay their freelance (independent) workforce. The provider competes in the enterprise solution category that Spend Matters SolutionMap calls Independent Contract Workers (ICW), the most dynamic segment of the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) procurement software market, which also includes SolutionMap’s 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 Uber and Airbnb versus the established world of enterprise software applications inhabited for decades by the likes of SAP and Oracle. WorkMarket originated as a vertically focused online marketplace that enabled the matching and spot engagement of field tech contractors. Over the past eight years, however, WorkMarket has significantly invested in technology development so it could evolve its business model from that of an online marketplace to a full-fledged enterprise software provider.

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 within the ICW segment. To understand where WorkMarket 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 WorkMarket 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.

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.

Procurement, C-suite Often Not on Same Page About Hiring and Development, Experts Say

marketing procurement

A frequent topic in procurement is how can CPOs get a seat at the chief executives’ table, but finding that sweet spot with the C-suite can be elusive. Some of the frustration comes from procurement departments and C-suites being misaligned on how to hire the best people, a study shows. And procurement veterans at a recent APICS conference said hiring talented people and developing the current staff can help with that high-level relationship.