SOW Content

What is a VMS today? Spend Matters’ SolutionMap helps define it 

work intermediation platform

Vendor management system (VMS) solutions have been synonymous with contingent workforce technology for the past two decades, but the functions associated with it have been evolving.

It began as a fit-for-purpose software application for managing temporary staffing suppliers and temporary workers, but over the past 10 years, most of these solutions have added functionality or modules to manage contract services/SOW suppliers and service delivery engagements. In the past five years, some providers of these solutions have grappled with the VMS term and concept. Today, most providers of these types of solutions still refer to themselves as VMS solutions, although their solution footprints vary.

When Spend Matters introduced its first SolutionMap for Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) enterprise technology in Q2 2018, it decided to forgo the use of the term VMS in favor of developing separate SolutionMap rankings for distinct technology solutions that addressed three extended workforce categories: (1) Temp Staffing, (2) Contract Services/SOW and (3) Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services (formerly named “Independent Contract Workers”). This was done in part to sidestep the growing variability of the meaning of the term VMS. But more importantly, it was done based on the belief that the three categories provided a more accurate way to analyze and compare solution capabilities (to be discussed further below).

This SolutionMap Insider brief examines the current status of VMS and how Spend Matters draws a tentative line around what constitutes a VMS solution today. It also provides a high-level view of the “VMS” capabilities and an anonymized analysis of corresponding SolutionMap scores. Lastly, it concludes with questions posed to practitioners and providers about the validity of the definition and concept of VMS presented in this brief.

Brightfield (TDX) Raises a Whopper of a Round: Analysis + Implications for Contingent Workforce/Services Technology [PRO]

Earlier today, Spend Matters reported that a $53 million Series A funding round was raised by Brightfield (TDX), formerly a consulting firm that became a provider of AI-derived market intelligence for the contingent workforce/services community. Spend Matters believes the size of the round — very large for a series A — is indicative of a number of factors beyond the fact that Brightfield (TDX) is a more mature organization in terms of product, customers and revenue than most companies going up for an earlier stage funding round.

Indeed, Brightfield “2.0’s” rapid data-driven success after its pivot — and the comparatively gargantuan investor vote of confidence at the Series A level — represent several converging trends. We will explore these in this Spend Matters Nexus research brief, which also provides overall analysis and key takeaways for services procurement providers, investors and practitioners. Our analysis begins with a company and solution overview of Brightfield and its TDX platform, Talent Data Exchange.

Jason Busch serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a membership, research and advisory organization serving technology acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and CEOs in the procurement and finance solutions marketplace (including contract management, B2B marketplaces/connectivity, indirect procurement, services procurement, direct procurement, commodity management, payment, trade financing, GRC/third-party management and related adjacent sectors).

Q3 2019 SolutionMap Release Notes: Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) Enterprise Technology Solutions — Temp Staffing, Contract Services/Statement of Work (SOW), Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services

Q3 2019 marks the fifth 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 Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services (formerly Independent Contract Workers, or ICW).

Beginning in Q3, Spend Matters has changed the name of the Independent Contract Workers (ICW) category to Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services, primarily to express the proper scope of the category’s coverage of those solution providers that enterprises use to source and manage both workers and small services firms in a relatively direct manner. (At the very least, a traditional supplier’s role is more limited and the technology solution enables more direct sourcing and talent management by an end-client.)

The full list of providers in the Q3 2019 CW/S SolutionMap includes:

  • Beeline
  • Coupa
  • Elevated Resources
  • Field Nation
  • Shiftgig
  • Shortlist
  • SirionLabs
  • TalentNet
  • Talmix
  • TalonFMS
  • Upwork Enterprise
  • VectorVMS
  • Vndly
  • WorkMarket (ADP)
Three new providers joined SolutionMap in Q3 for the first time:
  • Elevated Resources — participating in the Temp Staffing category
  • Shiftgig — participating in the Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services category
  • VectorVMS — participating in the Temp Staffing category
As noted further below, a vendor may participate in a SolutionMap category but may not necessarily appear on the SolutionMap comparative quadrant graphic.

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).

We have gathered extensive business profile information, have more than 100 active customer survey references 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.

VectorVMS: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on VectorVMS and its capabilities that help companies with their contingent workforce programs. The brief includes an overview of VectorVMS and its solution offerings, a summary solution evaluation, a SWOT analysis and, lastly, a selection checklist for companies that might consider the provider.

Shortlist: Vendor Introduction — Analysis, SWOT, Selection Checklist [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO research brief provides an introduction to Shortlist, which describes itself as an FMS (freelancer management system) or, alternatively, a software-as-a-service platform for businesses to engage, on-board, manage and pay independent/freelancers. Shortlist was covered in the Spend Matters SolutionMap for software solutions that enable businesses to manage their direct-sourced, independent contract workforce (where it was designated as a Solution Leader, the upper right quadrant for having high scores for capabilities and high customer scores, for all four buyer personas).

FMS solutions began to emerge about eight years ago, when the rise of the gig economy called attention to the lack of solutions designed to enable organizations to engage and manage their independent/freelance workers. Vendor management systems (VMS) solutions did not provide fit-for-purpose solutions; and many companies managed with spreadsheets, other kludged systems or nothing at all. In any case, it became increasingly clear that organizations of all sizes had neither adequate visibility into their independent/freelance workers nor the tools to manage and fully leverage that population of talent.

Over the past eight years, various solutions emerged to attempt to address these requirements. Today they now number on the order of 20 providers, depending on how the category is delimited, based in North America and elsewhere. These solutions have taken a variety of forms, often going beyond the classical definition of FMS[1]. Some arose in tandem with their proprietary, pre-populated online freelancer marketplaces (e.g., Upwork). Some were geared to enable mobile field contractors/gig workers (e.g., FieldNation, WorkMarket). Some, including Shortlist, began supporting small-scale service providers (like boutique creative agencies, small specialized consulting firms) in addition to individual independent/freelance workers.

In this Vendor Introduction, we will zero in on Shortlist and provide an overall understanding of the company and the solution. The brief includes a summary assessment of features and functions, a SWOT analysis as well as a selection checklist for companies that might be considering Shortlist. In this brief, we will abbreviate individual independent/contract/ freelance workers as ICWs and small-scale service providers as SSPs (collectively, we refer to them as “providers”).

Commercial Value Management (Part 3): Critical Commercial Use Cases to Align Extended CLM with the Enterprise [PRO]

change of control clauses

In our last installment of this CVM series, we highlighted a graphical framework to depict how commercial value management is about extending CLM into a more commercially enabling role in all enterprise areas where contracts (and value promises) are stored.

In this next installment of this series, we’ll highlight these areas and how to unlock some of that value for the benefit of the firm — and procurement.

Let’s briefly look at some of these areas to see how extending contract management to broader CVM approach is a practical way for procurement to get aligned with other areas (and with itself).

GoProcure: Vendor Introduction (Part 2 — Product Strengths and Weaknesses, SWOT and Selection Checklist) [PRO]

In our last Spend Matters PRO brief, we introduced you to GoProcure, a four-year-old provider based out of Duluth, Georgia, that is deploying a B2B marketplace and platform for tail-spend management. Bringing together basic RFQ and requisitioning tools, a marketplace for procuring goods and services, and complementary services like a buying desk, GoProcure is positioning itself as capable of covering the full range of tail spend in a market where most vendors address some but not all of the tail. And while its coverage is not necessarily exhaustive, GoProcure’s current iteration does encompass a lot of capabilities — albeit in a bit of a fragmented manner. Whether it’s a fit for a procurement organization’s unique challenges and needs, however, will come down to how exactly one conceives and chooses to tackle the tail.

Part 1 of this brief provided some background on GoProcure and an overview of its offering. In Part 2, we provide a breakdown of what is comparatively good (and not so good) about the solution, a high-level SWOT analysis and a short selection requirements checklist that outlines the typical company for which GoProcure might be a good fit. We also give some final conclusions and takeaways.

Q2 2019 SolutionMap: Contingent Workforce & Services Technology, SPT and S2P suite software providers’ scoring summary reports now available

As part of the Q2 2019 SolutionMap release, the Strategic Procurement Technologies (SPT), Source-to-Pay (S2P) suites, and Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) Technology Provider Scoring Summary reports are available today on SolutionMap Insider.

Q2 2019 SolutionMap Release Notes: Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) Enterprise Technology Solutions — Temp Staffing, Contract Services/Statement of Work (SOW), Independent Contract Workers (ICW)

Q2 2019 marks the fourth 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 Q2 2019 CW/S SolutionMap include Beeline, Coupa (formerly 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 CW/S research cycle, there were no new providers, and 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 75 customer survey references 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.

This SolutionMap Insider research note provides insight into our methodology and additional changes in the Q2 2019 SolutionMap release.

SirionLabs’ customer reviews are in the new SolutionMap Customer Insights report

This week’s SolutionMap Customer Insights report focuses on customer reviews for SirionLabs, a specialist in contracts. Its applicable SolutionMap categories for this report are in Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) and Contract Services/SOW.

SolutionMap Insider members can click here to read about SirionLabs in our latest report. In each Customer Insights report, we provide a one-page summary of feedback that includes ratings on how well the vendor meets user expectations, three key differentiators for the vendor and a list of quotes about the vendor’s greatest strengths.

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.