Talent Management Content

‘There is so much opportunity to leverage high-skill, high-value talent,’ MBO’s Bryan Peña says of independent workforce

Technology is changing the way people in the independent workforce find work, and companies face challenges finding that talent, says Bryan Peña, Chief of Market Strategy at MBO Partners.

"Technology is also becoming ubiquitous, and the discipline of managing a talent pool is becoming an organizational competency," he says. "So what we see is a lot of technologies that have been around for a while taking off because there’s more of an organizational demand for them as jobs become harder and harder to fill. And now that some of the basic problems are solved, you can point to more advanced ones. So many technologies are evolving to solve very discreet, unique problems — it's an exciting time."

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List: July 2019 [Plus+]

Hot List brings you a summer reading list that includes updates on Spend Matters' SolutionMap rankings of companies in the Contingent Workforce/Services space, insight into Japan's freelancer market by exploring an SAP Fieldglass deal, and a recap of Fiverr's IPO ups-and downs, as well as a raft of other suggested reading.

What I Learned About Coupa Contingent Workforce (CCW) at Coupa Inspire [PRO]

While at the corporate event Coupa Inspire recently, keeping a watchful eye on Coupa’s progress with Coupa Contingent Workforce (CCW) unification, I found myself thinking about something. It was just over two years ago that Coupa dipped its toe into the services procurement solution space with the limited release of Services Maestro. Among other things, that narrow solution component for sourcing and managing SOW projects of low-medium complexity and scale left few doubts that Coupa was serious about providing its customers with lifecycle source-to-pay capabilities for the procurement of contingent workforce/services (or CW/S, as Spend Matters abbreviates it).

I found it a bit amusing, in retrospect, that in a Spend Matters brief at the time (Coupa Unveils Services Maestro: Will the Student Become a Master of Services Procurement and Contingent Workforce Spend?) we somewhat playfully lectured Coupa about the complex nature of the space: “If Coupa decides to use the current iteration of Services Maestro as a jumping off point to enable procurement in this journey,” we sternly warned, “it will need to question, at the very core, how it opts to deploy its product development and product management resources to address the challenge.” And so it did, in September 2018, opting to buy (vs. make) a well-regarded VMS solution to “unify” into Coupa’s business spend management (BSM) platform.

So as I meandered in and out of the recent CCW sessions, demos, conversations with product development folks and, above all, clients and prospects, it became clear to me that Coupa was now looking like a maestro after all or, at least, certainly a very motivated and able fast learner. What my experience at Inspire brought home for me was that, in a period of just two years, not only had Coupa gone from nibbling on the edge of the CW/S solution space to actually being a major player in it. Coupa was also progressing steadily in realizing its vision of full contingent workforce and services capabilities woven into its unified BSM solution fabric.

This PRO brief will separate what I learned in terms of CCW progress and what I learned in terms of CCW challenges, and it will close with a brief analyst summary-commentary.

Post-IPO Perspective on Fiverr — What Lies Ahead? [PRO]

About two weeks ago, Fiverr — the online freelancer marketplace — priced its IPO at $21 per share. The first full day of trading opened at $26, and the share price had risen to $44 before closing out the day at $39.90 per share. That day, the media outlet Marketwatch brandished the headline “Fiverr breaks from gig-economy IPO curse, CEO says market ‘is like e-commerce 20 years ago.’ ”

Heady times, indeed.

As for the gig-economy IPO curse (a reference to the subpar IPOs of Lyft and Uber), so far so good. This week, Fiverr was priced at about $28 per share, two dollars more than the opening price of $26 and seven dollars above the original IPO price of $21.

As for the second assertion that Fiverr is addressing a market that is “like e-commerce 20 years ago,” we’ll have to wait and see (until 20 years from now, to be precise). But it is an interesting contention, and not the first time it has been discussed. About seven years ago, when I started the Online Staffing & Human Cloud/Cloud Labor LinkedIn Group, I asked: “Can we have an iTunes or Amazon of work and labor services?” At this point though, while we’re still waiting to see, Fiverr may be the closest thing like it today.

In Spend Matters’ earlier PRO series, “Fiverr, Online Services Marketplace, Is Going Public: What You Need to Know (Part 1 and Part 2), we looked at Fiverr in terms of its rise as a marketplace business, its unique go-to-market approach, to-date financials, and we offered a high-level comparison of Fiverr and the two other publicly traded freelancer marketplace companies.

In this PRO brief, an addendum to the previous series, we focus not so much on Fiverr’s specifics today. Rather, we ask the question “Where to from here?” We offer a situation analysis and strategy assessment based on our own industry/market perspective, our own research of Fiverr (which began several years ago). We wrap it all up with some comments addressed to services procurement practitioners.

Freelancer Management Systems: How Companies Can Find and Retain Independent Contractors via Direct Sourcing

As technology changes the work landscape, as companies seek more specifically skilled workers and as those workers push for non-traditional work arrangements, companies need to find effective ways to meet those changes. Direct sourcing is emerging as a viable, practical option to fill on-demand and other staffing needs.

When used alongside traditional hiring methods, including third-party staffing firms, direct sourcing allows companies to find and hire previously untapped independent contractors.

For decades companies have relied on staffing firms, managed service providers (MSPs), and other internal HR or procurement processes to handle their hiring, so how can they successfully integrate new technologies and methods? A readily available and reliable choice is to enlist a third-party technology provider that specializes in freelancer management systems technology (FMS). This technology can be integrated into an existing vendor management system, allowing companies to glean data from all sources to support the entire contractor management program.

Workers’ Digital Skills Gap a Key Challenge for Businesses, The Hackett Group Says

Digital transformation has and will continue to have far-reaching consequences in manufacturing, purchasing, compliance, advertising and just about every other function in the business world. Another function to add to the list, according to the April 2019 Hackett Group study, will be hiring and training of existing and incoming employees.

The Next-Generation Talent Profile: How Will You Fill the Digital Skills Gap focuses on how the procurement function in particular will need to train and improve their existing workforce, because the demand for skills and knowledge like strategic thinking, smart automation, social media, creativity and innovation, and process excellence will far exceed supply over the next three to four years. The Hackett Group notes that research by the World Economic Forum indicates that more than 50% of existing workers will need to be reskilled or upskilled by 2022.

Fiverr IPO launches at $21, and share price nearly doubles

procurement

Fiverr (NYSE: FVRR), the online marketplace for digital creative services, priced its 5.3 million IPO shares Wednesday night at $21 per, raising about $111 million in new funding. On Thursday morning, shares began trading at $26, but when the market closed in the afternoon, Fiverr’s share price had risen to $39.96 (nearly doubling). Based on the closing price per share and an estimated 31 million shares outstanding, Fiverr’s market cap would be about $1.2 billion, or 16 times revenue.

We will provide further analytic post-IPO coverage soon. In the meantime, check out our recent PRO series: Fiverr, the Online Services Marketplace, Is Going Public: What You Need to Know — Part 1 and Part 2.

Direct Sourcing of Labor, Total Talent Management Strategy Help Companies Improve Independent Contractor Success

talent management

When companies decide to engage contractors, the strategic approach should include methods for compliant engagement and management throughout the talent lifecycle, which incorporates sourcing and re-engagement.

So how can companies achieve this? Direct sourcing is becoming a more common option. This approach allows companies to seek out their own candidates to fill contractor roles, bypassing traditional third-party methods.

Will an Internally Managed Contingent Worker Program Work for Your Company?

It’s becoming an everyday occurrence: Businesses are hiring more and more freelancers, contractors and temporary staff — but they’re struggling to manage the process. Contingent labor experts talk about how in today’s workforce there are companies that have as many as 50% of their workers from non-employee sources. So how do companies determine the best way to locate and manage those workers while keeping a focus on what matters to the company: visibility, cost control, compliance and productivity?

Some companies still rely on more traditional externally managed programs, but the tide is changing. Companies using a managed service provider (MSP) often benefit from the provider’s expertise and broad supplier networks, but there can be difficulties with employee buy-in, staffing supplier relationships and costs.

Fiverr, Online Services Marketplace, Is Going Public: What You Need to Know (Part 2) [PRO]

Coworks

This two-part Spend Matters PRO series examines the online services platform provider Fiverr, which recently announced that it is going public (presumptively this month). The company — which has brought a fresh, distinct approach to the business market for freelancer-driven, platform-based work/services — will become the next business in the category to IPO after Freelancer.com (ASX: FLN) in 2013 and Upwork (NASDAQ: UPWK) in 2018.

Becoming a public company can be accompanied by opportunities for business validation, market awareness, access to capital, etc., but it brings new responsibilities, transparency and challenges (especially in a market that — despite getting kicked off in the mid-2000s — is still immature and evolving). Do these IPOs mark the start of a new stage of market development when businesses of all sizes may begin to accommodate and scale their new workforce models? If so, what do procurement practitioners and senior business executives know about Fiverr and the market that it and other work/services platforms operate in?

In Part 1, we examined Fiverr as an online work/services platform business (background, go-to-market strategy, solution offering and financial picture).

In Part 2, we will look at Fiverr in a broader industry context and provide a high-level comparison to Freelancer.com and Upwork. We also offer insights for procurement practitioners and executive leadership in larger organizations who are trying to get a handle on the potential supply channel of online/remote, freelancer-based work/services platforms.

Fiverr, the Online Services Marketplace, Is Going Public: What You Need to Know (Part 1) [PRO]

low commodity prices

Spend Matters recently reported that Fiverr, the Tel Aviv-based online marketplace for digital creative services launched in 2010, had filed its Form F-1 paperwork to go public with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Fiverr is the third online work/services platform to IPO, preceded by Upwork in October 2018 (NASDAQ: UPWK) and Freelancer.com in October 2013 (ASX: FLN). Among other things, the Fiverr IPO represents a new opportunity for analysts to get significant insight into another online freelancer marketplace’s financials and other business characteristics, including business strategy, business model and go-to-market approach.

Years ago, when Fiverr entered the market, some may have dismissed it as a low-end “5-dollar store” of online freelancers. But there was more than met the eye. In fact, Fiverr had begun executing its differentiated strategy of creating a unique marketplace based on its service-as-a-product model. According to Fiverr, it had “set out to design a digital marketplace that is built with a comprehensive SKU-like services catalog and an efficient search, find and order process that mirrors a typical e-commerce transaction.”

In this two-part PRO series, we will further discuss Fiverr and its SaaP model, including why it may align to procurement practitioner mindsets and e-procurement solution models. In Part 1, relying partly on Fiverr’s F-1, we will focus on Fiverr as a company and as a unique online freelancer marketplace platform. In Part 2, we will consider the broader context of evolving population of other online freelancer marketplaces, with special emphasis on the public companies, Upwork and Freelancer.

Automation, digitization, global trade pose challenges for business leaders, report says

A new report by The Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by Basware, is shedding light on how technology innovation and shifting global trade dynamics are challenging businesses.

The report considers three trends — automation, digitization and shifting trade dynamics — that finance and procurement executives expect to affect their companies most, what their impacts will be, and how business leaders are preparing for the developments. The report’s findings are based on a survey of more than 400 finance and procurement leaders in the U.S., the UK, France and Germany.