SOW Content

Simplify Workforce: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

Because of recent M&A consolidation and multiple external drivers, the market for vendor management system (VMS) solutions has become fairly complex. Competing vendors have been absorbed or combined, draining the field of vendor choices that can be applied in a wide number of scenarios. Concurrently, businesses have shifted away from their focus on temporary staffing labor to a rising emphasis on statement of work (SOW) spend, while also exploring new talent engagement models that increase program complexity, to include the exploratory enterprise adoption of the “gig economy” in the form of independent contractors. Add in the typical challenges of effectively operating a temporary staffing program — from cost control issues to quality maintenance and the management of intermediaries like MSPs — and it’s easy to see why procurement organizations are finding the old paradigm for VMS solutions is no longer holding up.

Going against the grain of complexity is a newer VMS provider that incorporates simplicity (i.e., ease of use) into its name — and its solution. Founded in 2016, Simplify Workforce provides an end-to-end SaaS solution for managing the extended workforce.

The Jersey City, New Jersey-based provider enables this through separate modules for contingent workforce (or in our SolutionMap classification, Temp Staffing) and statement of work (Contracted Services/SOW), with an emphasis on configurability, adaptability and ease of use that has typically eluded past VMS solutions. In doing so, Simplify Workforce aims to address the long-underserved middle market — specifically, businesses with annual contingent workforce spend of $1 million to $100 million — with the ability to scale up or down on spend easily, with a VMS and SOW solution that can solve the majority of daily contingent workforce challenges without overwhelming users, implementation teams and budgets with unnecessary complexity.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Simplify Workforce and its capabilities. The brief includes an overview of Simplify Workforce’s offering, a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a SWOT analysis and a selection requirements checklist for companies that might consider the provider.

Q1 2019 SolutionMap Release Notes: Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) Enterprise Technology Solutions — Temp Staffing, Contract Services/Statement of Work (SOW), Independent Contract Workers (ICW)

Q1 2019 Spend Matters SolutionMap procurement software company rankings

Q1 2019 marks the third research cycle for Spend Matters’ Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) “enterprise technology” SolutionMap, the sourcing and management of three underlying spend categories:Temp Staffing, Contract Services/Statement of Work and Independent Contract Workers (ICW).

The providers in the Q1 2019 CW/S SolutionMap include Beeline, Coupa-DCR Workforce, Field Nation, Shortlist, SirionLabs, TalentNet, Talmix, TalonFMS, Upwork Enterprise, Vndly and WorkMarket (ADP).

Given Spend Matters’ procurement orientation, we evaluate “enterprise technology” vendors within a source-to-pay (S2P) reference model. In other words, we look at vendors in terms of their capabilities that address some or all enterprise requirements that arise within an S2P lifecycle (i.e., from supplier sourcing to worker or supplier payment).

In this third CW/S research cycle, there was again limited participation in the Temp Staffing and Contract Services/SOW SolutionMap categories. However, a good number of key vendors have expressed interest in participating in upcoming cycles.

There continues to be vibrant interest in participation by vendors in the emergent Independent Contract Workers (ICW) SolutionMap category.

We have gathered extensive business profile information, received well over 30 client reference surveys and have assigned scores to specific solution capabilities (RFI line items) ranging from well over 100 to about 300, depending upon how many SolutionMap categories a particular vendor participated in.

Coupa, Services and Coupa Contingent Workforce: A Progress Report (Part 2) [PRO]

In this two-part PRO series, Spend Matters provides a review and analysis of Coupa’s recent evolution in addressing the category of services spend, including Coupa Contingent Workforce. In Part 1, we provided an overview of where Coupa is at with the integration and leveraging of DCR Workforce.

First, we revisited the Coupa “services procurement” background/context leading up to the DCR acquisition last year. We also recounted our September 2018 briefing, in which Coupa discussed the acquisition and what to expect as far as integration (or “unification”) of the acquisition over the coming months. Additionally, we discussed what we learned from our most recent January 2019 briefing by Coupa on the current state of the integration.

Based on this analysis, we concluded that, six months in after the acquisition, Coupa’s integration at the organizational and product levels appeared to be on course. The priorities seemed reasonable even given the unique dynamics of the VMS market — and the plan, based on Coupa’s history of stamping out post-merger integrations, seemed on track.

But beyond this, what has happened to the DCR product under the Coupa umbrella? And how is it fitting into the changing world of services procurement — and potentially even help to shape it? In Part 2 of this research series, we will provide our own observations on where Coupa seems to be going, in terms of the contingent workforce technology solution segment and its increasing overlap with other procurement technology solutions.

Coupa CLM: Vendor Snapshot Update [PRO]

Coupa is a full suite provider of source-to-pay (S2P) applications (which Coupa calls Business Spend Management), but we’ve not yet included a formal analysis of its contract lifecycle management (CLM) application other than our ongoing coverage within the SolutionMap framework.

Coupa is a bit of a conundrum because, relative to its competitors, it has some unique functionality that no other competitor possesses, but at the same time, the provider is also missing a core aspect of CLM functionality that its primary competitors already have.

As Spend Matters’ Q4 2018 Contract Lifecycle Management SolutionMap indicates, Coupa does well with customer scoring across its various CLM personas, but it lags in its solution score due to the aforementioned functionality gap that we’ll explore later in this piece. Coupa acquired a small Canadian CLM startup named Contractually in 2016 that had some nice collaborative redlining functionality (and written within Ruby on Rails framework like Coupa), and that form of “collaboration” (i.e., technical collaboration between buyers and suppliers on the Coupa user interface) is supported as well by basic MS-Word integration.

Coupa doesn’t really try to differentiate itself as a best-of-breed stand-alone CLM application provider though (and certainly not beyond the bounds of S2P to support enterprise CLM functionality across all contracts), and the contract is really treated as the core commercial system of record that is at the heart of an S2P suite. It focuses on integrating the contract into all of the other elements of this suite, especially with its focus on operationalizing contracts via transactional P2P execution, including enforcement of buying/paying against contracts, and tying the spend back to contracts and budgeting (aka spend planning and control).

This Spend Matter Vendor Snapshot Update reviews its solution, Coupa Contract Management, and highlights the good, the not-so-good and the potential of its current product.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List: January 2019 (Special Focus Edition on Services) [Plus+]

Welcome to the January 2019 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 or interesting technology and innovation developments within the CW/S space, where change may be accelerating or at least becoming more pervasive.

This edition also marks the first 12 months of Hot List coverage, launched in the February 2018 inaugural edition (and covering January 2018). Our goal was to show that under the surface of the obtuse, clinical label of “contingent workforce and services” (CW/S) was a hotbed of technologically driven innovation. We sought to set the record straight, perhaps turn a few heads (maybe even provoke a double-take) and possibly prevent some unwary practitioners from getting burned. Hopefully we have fulfilled our promise.

To mark the first anniversary of the Hot List series, this month we will leave the usual format behind and seek a glimpse of the CW/S elephant in the room: complex services spend.

The real features of this spend category have (strangely enough) been obscured in the shadow cast by contingent workforce. And while there has been lots of talk about SOW spend in the CW/S world, in reality, that’s been a little bit like lighting a match in the dark to survey the full enormity of the elephant (possibly only seeing a foot or a tusk).

With that, we will now begin our safari, turn our searchlight toward the relatively unexplored territory of services spend and wrestle with questions like: What is it? How is it being addressed in different sectors? Is there a pattern emerging that may mean more and more effective ways for businesses to source and manage complex services?

Procurement Technology and Solutions M&A Outlook: 10 Predictions for 2019 (Part 2) [PRO]

In the first installment of our M&A predictions for 2019, I explored the deals that have happened already in 2018, as well as our first three of ten prognostications for next year. First, private equity firms will play an increased role in the sector. Second, valuations will be all over the map. And third, peripheral players will respond to the “Amazon” effect.

Our next three predictions have a common theme: modules and areas within the procurement technology spectrum that are heating up. (Incidentally, general situational awareness is more important than ever as more and more buyers — including strategic and financial, not to mention a new type: financial backing strategic — think about putting dry powder to work and sellers evaluate their options.) So, let’s dive right in.

Q4 2018 SolutionMap Release Notes: Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) Enterprise Technology Solutions — Temp Staffing, Contract Services/Statement of Work (SOW), Independent Contract Workers (ICW)

Q4 2018 marks the second research cycle for Spend Matters’ Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) “enterprise technology” SolutionMap, the sourcing and management of three underlying spend categories: Temp Staffing, Contract Services/Statement of Work and Independent Contract Workers (ICW).

The providers in the Q4 2018 CW/S SolutionMap include Beeline, Coupa-DCR Workforce, Field Nation, Shortlist, SirionLabs, TalentNet, Talmix, TalonFMS, Upwork Enterprise, Vndly and WorkMarket (ADP).

Given Spend Matters’ procurement orientation, we evaluate “enterprise technology” vendors within a source-to-pay (S2P) reference model. In other words, we look at vendors in terms of their capabilities that address some or all enterprise requirements that arise within an S2P lifecycle (i.e., from supplier sourcing to worker or supplier payment).

In this second CW/S research cycle, there was again limited participation in the Temp Staffing and Contract Services/SOW SolutionMap categories. However, a good number of key vendors have expressed interest in participating in upcoming cycles.

There continues to be vibrant interest in participation by vendors in the emergent Independent Contract Workers (ICW) SolutionMap category. There are two new participants, Shortlist and Talmix, in Q4, and there are several other vendors interested in participating in upcoming cycles.

We have gathered extensive business profile information, received well over 30 client reference surveys and have assigned scores to specific solution capabilities (RFI line items) ranging from well over 100 to about 300, depending upon how many SolutionMap categories a particular vendor participated in.

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.

SirionLabs: What Makes It Great (Contract Lifecycle Management SolutionMap Analysis)

Just when you thought the contract lifecycle management (CLM) software market fit within a neatly defined 2x2 graph, along comes a vendor that breaks the mold, offering top functional capabilities while also redefining exactly what a CLM provider is capable of.

Who is this vendor, you ask?

SirionLabs.

Although it is fully capable of competing in the “traditional” CLM sector, SirionLabs is a powerful, specialized CLM solution that organizations have used primarily to manage and optimize the performance of large, complex, often multi-year services contracts. The solution combines core CLM components with added supplier management capabilities, like  performance management, relationship management and risk management. And it works for contracts of all shapes and sizes, delivering Value Leader (upper right quadrant) performances across every CLM SolutionMap buying persona.

As of Q3 2018, Spend Matters SolutionMap consists of functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on more than 50 vendors within the procurement, finance and legal software markets. To date, Spend Matters’ analysts have evaluated 13 providers in the contract lifecycle management software segment, including SirionLabs. But where does SirionLabs stand out most, and why should this matter to procurement and legal organizations? Let’s dive into the CLM SolutionMap benchmark to find out.

“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.

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.

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.

Upwork Enterprise: What Makes It Great (Independent Contract Workforce Analysis)

Coworks

Upwork, the well-known, global online freelancer marketplace, is increasingly becoming known for its Upwork Enterprise solution, a combination of technology and managed services designed to enable enterprises to source and engage freelance talent. Upwork Enterprise was recently evaluated in Spend Matters’ SolutionMap framework with the Independent Contract Workforce (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 the Temp Staffing (Vendor Management Systems/VMS) and Contract Services/Statement of Work solution segments.

Today’s ICW enterprise solutions — many originating, like Upwork, as online marketplaces — have their roots (or at least their impetus) in the so-called gig, freelance and peer-to-peer “economies” (the new world of Uber and Airbnb versus the establishment world of enterprise software applications inhabited for decades by providers like SAP and Oracle). Some of these “gig economy” solution providers have been clawing their way into larger enterprises with new technology platforms to allow those organizations to scale up their use of freelancers sourced through online platforms. This is what Upwork has been doing with Upwork Enterprise, which goes go market now as a combined managed services and technology solution (analogous, up to a point, of traditional managed service providers with their own VMS technology).

In the ICW solution segment, Upwork Enterprise is a unique solution that provides a set of functionality and services that organizations of any size can use to source, engage and pay remote, online freelancers and agencies from Upwork’s global marketplace. It provides clients with robust capabilities that includes management of SOW projects and the organization of preferred providers (freelancers/agencies) in private talent pools. And the value of the platform also is being amplified by a growing set of managed services and solution offerings.

Where does Upwork Enterprise fit into the burgeoning ICW market? As of September 2018, the Spend Matters SolutionMap contains functional and customer satisfaction benchmarks on over 50 providers within the procurement technology landscape, including six providers within the ICW segment. But where does Upwork Enterprise stand out most and help “set the bar” in for the ICW segment? And why should this matter for procurement and HR organizations? Let’s delve into the SolutionMap benchmark to find out where Upwork Enterprise is 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.