Spend Matters Premium Content:
Procurement Services

Services Procurement History: The Rise of the Staffing Industry Model [Plus +]


By just about anyone’s numbers, the staffing industry still maintains dominant market share when it comes to placing temporary or contingent labor at companies (and often government agencies and departments). In this multi-part Spend Matters Plus analysis we take a look at the growth of the temporary labor market and how staffing firms emerged as a dominant model — and the context with which they accelerated their growth in recent decades. Finally, we introduces the ideas behind why Spend Matters believes staffing firms will begin to increasingly share overall contingent market share with freelancer models, talent marketplaces, alumni and shared interest pools, independent contractors/consultants and related models in the coming decades and what this means for procurement organizations increasingly tasked with managing services spend.

Holding Managed Services Providers (MSPs) Accountable to a BPO-Based Standard (Part 3) [Plus +]

Consider that during the initial years of a services procurement outsourcing initiative involving legal spend, that pursuing e-billing programs that enable rate management and better invoice tracking along with formal rate management programs and related benchmarking, rate/value alignment and volume discounting is most likely to deliver optimal near-term results. Yet in most cases, in the out-years of a multiple-year legal spend management program, it makes sense to move to such areas as law firm selection, alternative fee arrangements, resource optimization and document discovery as the next areas to tackle.

Holding Managed Services Providers (MSPs) Accountable to a BPO-Based Standard (Part 2) [Plus +]

In the first post in this series, we explored the changing managed services provider (MSP) ecosystem and suggested what we believe will be a new battle between business process outsourcing (BPO) firms and traditional, often contingent-focused MSPs for the management and program oversight of broader services procurement initiatives for organizations looking for an outsourced services procurement option.

In our view, the more effective BPOs we track are making substantial investments in senior client-facing resources that become effective members of the company procurement team. These individuals often focus on opportunities to drive results that extend far beyond basic sourcing or compliance opportunities. In contrast, MSPs often bring limited subject matter expertise outside of contingent labor or basic SOW-type procurement initiatives.

Crowdsourcing: New Trends and Developments (Part 2) [Plus +]


In Part 1 of this two-part series, we provided an overview of crowdsourcing, defining what it is and how it is different from online freelancer marketplaces. We not only provided examples of different crowdsourcing platform providers (of which there are many) but also provided illustrations of real crowdsourcing in action.

Today in Part 2 of this series, we cover the emergence of practices and functions to effectively manage crowdsourcing across organizations and some of the segments where crowdsourcing has grown both on the demand (buyer organizations) and supply (platform providers) side. We also look at how the space is evolving and provide some highlights and suggestions for practitioners.

Crowdsourcing: New Trends and Developments (Part 1) [Plus +]


Back in mid-2015, we published a brief on crowdsourcing, “Clarifying Crowdsourcing: Contingent and Services Procurement Examples, Definition and Analysis,” to provide procurement professionals with a clearer understanding of this valuable, innovative tool kit for business problem solving. We’re not sure of how many practitioners took note at the time or, if they did, what they might have done about it. In any case, after a three-year hiatus, we’re back to review recent trends and developments.

Crowdsourcing, properly speaking, is still neither highly visible nor well understood, except for by the managers that use it. Yet, in some ways, it is also becoming a mainstream sourcing practice. Its use within large enterprises continues to grow, and the range of real, applied solutions crowdsourcing provides is expanding. And while crowdsourcing becomes a new normal, what it is and how enterprises are using it also continue to change.

This two-part Spend Matters Plus series explores what forms crowdsourcing is taking in 2018 and how this approach could continue to evolve. Part 1 provides a definition of crowdsourcing (and what it is not), as well as examples of how companies are currently using crowdsourcing platforms. Part 2 looks at how procurement functions are managing the use of crowdsourcing within their organizations and potential new ways in which they could soon be using the technology.

Holding Managed Services Providers (MSPs) Accountable to a BPO-Based Standard (Part 1) [Plus +]

Observing the broader procurement BPO market in recent years, we’ve seen a number of trends emerge among the leaders in the industry. When it comes to the world of managed services providers (MSPs), however, few firms, if any, mirror these trends, at least not consistently. Part of the reason for this is that many MSPs have long-standing relationships with their clients, often owning to the history of their staffing firm-based parent company. (Many MSPs work in either a stated vendor-neutral or non-vendor neutral manner, even if they are part of a staffing firm’s based P&L, indirectly or directly.)

From a foundational perspective, MSPs provide a number of core services that we explore in the report "The Managed Services Connection— The Evolving Roles of MSPs in Services Procurement." In this analysis, we suggest that on the most fundamental level, all MSPs should provide transactional management in the area of contracted services (or outcomes), including the area of cost reduction.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List: April 2018 [Plus +]

Welcome to the third edition of “The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List,” a Spend Matters monthly feature available to Plus and PRO subscribers. In the depths of the evolving and expanding contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space, innovations and emerging practices may be brewing but escape observation. To shed some light, at the top of every month, we select, summarize and provide some brief commentary on noteworthy developments that have recently appeared on our radar. In March we saw a warming trend, with a steady stream of steamy new developments. These ranged from those in the established core of the CW/S space to those on the bleeding edge. In this edition of the Hot List, we’ll cover the whole spectrum.

The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List: March 2018 [Plus +]

This is the second edition of Spend Matters’ new monthly feature, “The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List,” available to Plus and PRO subscribers. In the depths of the evolving and expanding contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space, innovations and emerging practices may be brewing but escape observation. To shed some light, at the top of every month, we select, summarize and provide some brief commentary on noteworthy development that have recently appeared on our radar.

February was mostly cool and did not bode well for the hot list. But fortunately, things really heated up late in the month.

The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List: February 2018 [Plus +]

This is the first edition of Spend Matters’ new monthly feature, “The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List,” available to PLUS and PRO subscribers. While for many the mention of “contingent workforce and services” may elicit a barely suppressed yawn or a semi-glazed look, others know that what is true is often more than meets the eye. Beneath a spend category associated mainly with traditional temp staffing and under the surface of the obtuse, clinical label of “contingent workforce and services” (CW/S) lies a hotbed of innovation (I kid you not).

Technology, new economic realities, and supply- and demand-side transformation are giving rise to new alternatives for sourcing and consuming workforce and services within enterprises. Some of these developments are obviously relevant and potentially applicable in an enterprise context, others simply represent innovations in the environment that may, in some form or another, become relevant and applicable down the line.

In this series, we try to set the record straight, perhaps turn a few heads (or at least provoke a double-take) and even prevent some unwary practitioners from getting burned. In the depths of the evolving and expanding contingent workforce and services environment, events and developments, technology-based innovations and emerging sourcing and consumption models, may be brewing and may escape observation and require illumination. To shed some light, at the top of every month, we will summarize specific events and developments that have recently appeared on our radar, and we will offer brief commentary on the significance.

Now, welcome to the February edition of The Contingent Workforce and Services Insider’s Hot List!

Coupa’s GA Release of Services Maestro: What Is It and What Does It Mean Today? [PRO]

Coupa recently announced the general availability (GA) release of its services procurement solution, Services Maestro. Spend Matters previously covered the company’s “early access program” release of Services Maestro to a limited set of Coupa customers in May 2017. Available now to all customers, Services Maestro essentially provides services spend-specific source-to-pay (S2P) capabilities integrated into the consumerized sourcing and buying experience familiar to Coupa’s customers.

As such, Services Maestro is perhaps more accurately viewed not as a standalone solution but rather as a branded set of function-specific capabilities built on and leveraging Coupa’s core platform. (Coupa describes Services Maestro as “a new platform application that helps organizations manage the spend associated with complex services.”) Nonetheless, Services Maestro offers not only new business functionality that will address Coupa customers’ expressed need to more effectively manage services spend. It is also part of Coupa’s “business spend management” strategy and will increasingly put the provider face-to-face with competitors in the space — such as VMS providers like SAP Fieldglass and Beeline — that are also competing for a piece of the still greenfield services spend management solution market.

ADP’s Acquisition of WorkMarket: Just Moving Pieces Around on the Board or Starting a Whole New Game? (Part 2) [PRO]

ADP is a top player in the employee payroll, benefits, tax and compliance, PEO and core HR software markets, where customer (buyer) profiles are conservative and tend to favor scale, efficiency and established brands. For years, ADP and its peers have served and competed in these markets, and almost as if in parallel universes, a distinct population of solution providers (ranging from Adecco to SAP Fieldglass) have served and competed in separate contingent workforce technology and services markets. But while the contingent workforce sector has many things in common with the human resource sector, there is one increasingly important deviation — and it starts with “g” (as in “gig”).

The freelancer and independent contractor management market segment — the contingent workforce solution segment home to WorkMarket — is about as different a solution market as one could imagine compared to both classic HR and staffing-based labor models. It is blossoming, dynamic and high growth, as well as fraught with disruptive dynamics, unsolved problems and evolving regulatory dilemmas. So, we ask, perhaps part tongue in cheek, “What the heck is ADP doing buying WorkMarket?”

Yes, WorkMarket: the first-to-market, leading-edge, “gigish” technology solution that has been enabling businesses to (a) compliantly pay and administer essentially any type of external, independent worker (b) digitally profile these contractor workers and employees of the organization in labor clouds and (c) allow an organization’s business managers to directly source and deploy those workers into projects and programs.

This Spend Matters PRO series attempts to answer this question, not only by looking at WorkMarket — a provider we have profiled and analyzed in past Spend Matters coverage (see here, here and here) — in a brand new context but also exploring ADP’s rationale to acquire and embed this capability alongside its other offerings (spoiler alert: possibly getting closer to payments and emerging compliance needs in its customer base). The first part of this series provided insight into the deal itself, where WorkMarket fits in the ADP organization and our own analysis of what the acquisition could mean for ADP customers, shareholders and the freelancer/IC solutions marketplace. In this second part of the series, we share perspective on what a “WorkMarket Inside” offering could be like for ADP and clients, along with some speculation on what ADP’s “opening move” in the contingent workforce space might mean longer term.

Is Total Talent Management Really the Next Big Thing? Or is There Something Else? [Plus +]


We hear the terms total talent management (TTM), holistic talent management and blended workforce bandied about with great frequency by analysts and writers these days. But when and how it will be achieved remain unclear. While some declare the time is right for such an approach and hazard conceptual roadmaps, others have wondered whether the idea is really feasible. This concept of a unified way of sourcing and engaging both permanent and contingent labor/talent is appealing and probably inevitable, but its realization is – even according to its promoters – admittedly still some ways off. Spend Matters believes there could be another, more near-term development, closer to home in the areas of contingent workforce and services that has already started to occur and is of more practical relevance to procurement. This is a trend toward a comprehensive independent workforce ecosystem and eventually workforce as a service, which will mean correlating capabilities and outcomes under an expanded services taxonomy. But what exactly is this other development? Read on...