Today we conclude our analysis of Work Market by examining both the customer experience (from a user perspective) and final recommendations for those companies considering a freelancer management system (FMS) either alongside or separate from a vendor management system (VMS). In recent discussions with Work Market and other services procurement customers, we have been hearing some consistent patterns. It seems companies are hiring more non-affiliated freelancers and independent consultants, and the decision to use an “out-tasking” service or marketplace versus a mode that allows greater control and compliance from a FMS standpoint – for onsite ICs or otherwise – is often based on the category and strategic importance of the activity. Additionally, traditional e-procurement, VMS and MSP solutions are typically not up to the task or purpose-built for the effort. But the question remains: Will Work Market (independently or in a competitive environment) be a key provider to fill the void?
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Earlier today Field Nation announced it was acquiring Field Solutions for an undisclosed sum. The transaction represents the most recent M&A activity to hit the freelancer management system (FMS) and work intermediation platform (WIP) markets, related sectors still in their relative infancy. Even though, as one proxy, we estimate the combined size of Field Nation and Field Solution on an annualized volume/revenue basis is well below what most Fortune 100 companies spend on IT each year, there is an undeniable trend in the IT area (as well as marketing/creative services, media and related segments) toward hiring a larger numbers of freelancers or independent contractors that will only accelerate on a global basis. This Spend Matters PRO analysis provides both context and additional analysis exploring the combination of Field Nation and Field Solution and discusses expected market and consolidation trends in the various sub-sectors of the services procurement market – and what it all means for procurement and HR organizations alike. We ask, "What does the acquisition tell us about the emergence of 'platforms' in the contingent workforce supply chain?" Read the full article for more.
There’s an incumbent ecosystem in the services procurement universe that has made a business out of delivering the bare minimum to keep customers satisfied and maintain the status quo. No, we’re not referring to the “tools” providers, but the sad fact is that within the more capable vendor management system (VMS) tool sets today, much of the more advanced capability in these solutions goes untapped or is only partially used. Who is to blame? It’s easy to “shoot” the messenger – staffing firms and the incumbent MSP, but the blame rests with numerous other parties as well, including consultancies, outsourcing firms, staffing researchers and, perhaps most serious of all, procurement itself. In this 2-part Spend Matters PRO analysis, Founder and Managing Director Jason Busch highlights the contributing factors to how and why the staffing and contingent market is failing procurement.
Fueled by liquidity from Parthenon Capital Partners, Periscope Holdings recently announced it acquired BidSync. Both companies have a core focus on procurement in the public sector (state and local government – not federal), as well as in higher education. BidSync is headquartered in Utah with more than 1,000 e-procurement customers (presumably derived from umbrella deals with groups bringing multiple parties to the table). This Spend Matters PRO analysis, authored by Thomas Kase, vice president of research, provides initial background and analysis on the 2 providers and the acquisition, with a focus on the acquiring company and its strategy.
In a world where everything is becoming a service, including manufacturing itself and other core value chain processes, you’d hope that managing those services would be a core competency – even if many or most of those processes are increasingly outsourced. You would also hope that managing a portfolio of critical third-party service relationships with strategic advisory firms, BPO providers, third-party logistics firms, value-added distributors, managed service providers for temporary labor, and so on, would be coordinated just as rigorously as critical direct material suppliers in the supply chain. But, as you may have expected, it’s not. We find that while product supply chains are managed at Six Sigma levels, “services supply chains” for contingent labor (in the broadest sense) managed at about two sigma levels.
Earlier this week, two members of the Spend Matters research team, Pierre Mitchell, chief research officer, and Jason Busch, founder and managing director, spent a couple of days down in Amelia Island, Florida, at Zycus’ annual customer and prospect conference, speaking directly with dozens of Zycus customers and prospective clients. This two-part Spend Matters PRO brief provides a perspective on Zycus’ position in the market today – the good and the bad – and what types of procurement organizations are an ideal fit for what the provider has to offer.
In our discussions with Beeline and their customers earlier this summer, we learned about and explored a number of emerging priorities in global services procurement. A number of these customer requirements are already being partially or fully supported by Beeline and other leading VMS providers – other requirements are still on the roadmap or in their early days on the product release schedule. In the first installment in this series, we considered the increased scrutiny that companies are giving to specific geographies where they will or will not host technology, as well as related access permission issues. In the second installment of this Spend Matters PRO series, Jason Busch, Spend Matters founder and managing director, and Thomas Kase, VP of research, turn their attention to the following areas of emerging interest in global services procurement efforts: deeper technical integration between VMS and others systems; security in a mobile world; emerging audited processes and control mechanisms; regional requirements; and cultural observations.
Earlier this summer, vendor management system (VMS) provider Beeline updated Spend Matters on trends they were seeing in the global services procurement markets. This briefing came immediately after the Beeline customer conference, in which Spend Matters founder and managing director Jason Busch had the time to speak to numerous Beeline customers and partners tackling both local and global services procurement challenges. In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, we consider key lessons learned from the conversations, such as issues of VMS data security/integrity (including which countries organizations are comfortable having data hosted in – and which, like the US, are typically not preferred by non-North-American-based companies) and a range of other topics.
Reinvigorate Your Services Procurement and Contingent Workforce Program: A 10-Step How-To Guide [PRO]
To say that services procurement is becoming a top procurement initiative would be an understatement in most organizations. In fact for some companies, services procurement is procurement if you consider either the absolute dollars spent on it or the strategic value to the business. Some companies (e.g., Accenture) have even helped refine their core business model in certain markets based on their ability to look at the management of non-permanent labor from a buy/sell, almost trading-company-like perspective.
Here at Spend Matters, we often get mired in the weeds of services procurement – how does one VMS differentiate from another, what do specialized category solutions look like, what is inherently incorrect about the way typical MSP ecosystems look at the broader opportunity, and so forth. But in this Spend Matters PRO research brief, Jason Busch, founder and managing director of Spend Matters, takes things up at least one level, introducing 10 overall strategies that companies can take to reinvigorate their services procurement and contingent workforce programs. Today, we consider the first five strategies.
In the past few weeks, the Spend Matters analyst team has had the chance to meet or talk with management and/or customers from all of the major vendor management system (VMS) providers. In nearly all of the discussions, questions on the future of SAP/Fieldglass have come up and how the combination of the two providers may begin to impact selection decisions. At Fieldglass, it’s business as usual based on what we’ve learned. That’s a good thing for customers today. But no doubt, marketing, pricing and roadmap decisions will eventually factor into what current and future Fieldglass customers will expect. This Spend Matters Plus Research brief offers a “Quick Recommendations Selection Checklist” for customers either considering a VMS tool for the first time, or contemplating a switch to Fieldglass and SAP.
This topic has been brewing for a while. Back in 2006, I presented a simple version of this topic at an Ariba Live event. It was well received (and was how I got introduced to a long-time client who is now a CPO at “Top 25 Supply Chain” CPG firm) and is still relevant today. Procurement can be a full contact sport, but in the world of the Global Business Services (GBS) model for enterprise service delivery, it is also a services business. As such, procurement organizations need to adapt best practices from the CRM world to manage their diverse stakeholders. In this first part of a multi-part series, I will explore over a dozen CRM segments and begin to lay out how companies are applying CRM principles and practices to the “business of procurement.” Note, CRM for “supply” and suppliers is not the buy-side of “SRM” or supplier management – it’s a much bigger, hairier, and more encompassing beast. It’s also not just about tools and technology.
We’re in the process of starting our research and due diligence efforts looking at ZeroChaos, a provider that’s well known yet probably a bit misunderstood by many, given its outsider approach and status in the managed services provider (MSP) and vendor management system (VMS) sector. While we’ll report back on ZeroChaos in more detail in the coming months, we could not wait to share some more details about ZeroChaos’ views and approaches to services procurement – nearly all of which are owed to its roots as an outsider relative to other MSPs that came out of the supply side of the staffing industry. By the numbers, ZeroChaos represents a material portion of today’s overall MSP market with over 100,000 workers managed and 8,000 suppliers in its current network – serving over 300 customers in total. ZeroChaos has a global footprint today, with over 35 percent of its business coming from outside North America – nearly all if it from the EMEA area (Asia, inclusive of India, is a growing market as well). The big transition point for ZeroChaos came in 2010, when it went from being held by its founder to receiving an equity investment by outside PE firm Snow Phipps. In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, Jason Busch, Managing Director of Spend Matters, looks at what ZeroChaos brings to the MSP and VMS sector.