Plus or PRO Content

The Leap From Contingent Workforce to Extended Workforce and Services [Plus+]

This Plus brief proposes that an organizational shift is taking place from (a) enterprises that source and consume a limited set of labor/talent resources (contingent workforce) through certain processes and technology solutions to (b) enterprises that are advancing to another stage (extended workforce) in which a broader array of labor/talent-based services can be accessed by internal business consumers. Some of the pieces of the extended workforce ecosystem are already present, but major gaps in technology and processes must be filled, and procurement must become interested in moving beyond its limited contingent workforce view and take an interest in making extended workforce a reality for their businesses.

How Procurement Can Contribute to Platform Sourcing Initiatives: There Are More Ways Than One (Part 2) [PRO]

As we observed in the Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO series, five years ago, “online work/services platforms were off the radar for large enterprises and most certainly off the radar for all but a few CW/S procurement organizations. But much has changed since then. Not only has awareness increased significantly but an increasing number of enterprises have piloted or have moved further up the adoption curve. Moreover, traditional staffing-related providers (e.g., MSPs, VMS) have begun to incorporate platform sourcing into their services and technology solution models, creating another way for enterprises to move along an adoption path.

We argued that, in this context, it was not only the time for procurement functions to take platform sourcing initiatives seriously but also to participate in positive ways. To do that, we argued that a different kind of mindset would be required: one where procurement could very well be a member of a team of equals that all had contributions to make to the initiative. In addition, by understanding that most procurement functions may not have the level of resources and maturity to assume a full-time leadership role, we showed how those procurement functions could participate in other ways, allowing them to both move up the learning curve and have an increasingly positive impact on the initiatives.

In Part 2 of this series, we turn our focus to how CW/S procurement can leverage its functional expertise and skills to make specific, concrete contributions to the advancement and success of direct sourcing initiatives. We also discuss how CW/S procurement may change over time to be much better aligned to supporting enterprise needs for new, increasingly digitally enabled sources and forms of work and services beyond the current focus on traditional contingent workforce and SOW management.

How Procurement Can Participate in Platform Sourcing Initiatives: There Are More Ways Than One (Part 1) [PRO]

Today, most contingent workforce and services (CW/S) procurement practitioners have some awareness of — or even some level of interest in — online work/service platforms (e.g., online freelancer marketplaces, contest/challenge crowd platforms, digital direct sourcing solutions). While the integration of these platforms into enterprise systems and processes is still a work in progress, many expect that they will increasingly become an important set of sourcing options in the years to come.

CW/S procurement, though typically time and resource constrained, cannot ignore or rationalize away these developments. On the contrary, the enterprise requires procurement’s involvement and contributions to pursue these new options successfully. But the question of how, when, where and to what extent procurement can or should participate in these new developments can be vexing questions. No doubt, some long-standing assumptions, philosophies and approaches to CW/S procurement may not align with these new sourcing options and opportunities, and adjustments will thus be required. It will also be necessary for procurement to learn about a whole new area of platform-based sourcing and a new landscape of platform suppliers.

In this two-part PRO series, we provide a focus, framework and suggestions to assist CW/S procurement organizations in understanding various options and opportunities for participating in online work and services platform developments/initiatives in their respective enterprises. In Part 1, we focus on (a) how the procurement approach to platform sourcing is different from typical contingent workforce program management and (b) what participation options (roles/orientations) are available to procurement organizations depending upon their state of maturity and resource availability. In Part 2, we discuss a range of procurement functional disciplines that are, with appropriate modification, highly applicable in platform sourcing scenarios. In addition to indicating where procurement can concretely contribute expertise, we also discuss how procurement’s role may change overtime. And, finally, we provide a set of key takeaways from this series.

Program Management: The Missing Link in Procurement Technology Modules and Suites (Part 1 — Design Building Blocks) [PRO]


This Spend Matters PRO series provides insight into what constitutes effective program management capabilities from design, platform and functional perspectives. We explore both what represents best-in-class program management components today and what users should expect tomorrow, including what we hope technology providers have on their roadmaps to build.

Part 1 of this series provides insight into the platform-level building blocks of effective program management capability, exploring user design as a central consideration of an effective system. User experience is critical to the acceptance and adoption of any source-to-pay (S2P) module and suite. Why? Without adoption and acceptance, there are no benefits, and the promised ROI will never materialize if the solution is not adopted by those that need to use it for the platform to work.

But maximizing user adoption is easier said than done. Users want a good experience when interacting with procurement technology. They expect not only the intuitiveness and ease of use of modern web-based platforms that they use to research products and buy in their everyday lives but also an ease of use that actually makes their job easier and more efficient. This is not what one typically achieved from an S2P platform designed in the ERP era, where green-screen workflows were often adapted as is to the GUI interface that came native with the advent of the world wide web.

This is one reason effective program management was rarely adopted, even when featured, in earlier-generation procurement technology solutions. And it’s why we’re going to tackle this subject first as our series begins.

Self-Sourcing Contingent Workforce: What it is and Why it Matters Now [Plus+]

Many services procurement and contingent workforce managers in mid-to-large enterprises are already at various stages of implementing supplier and spend management programs to control and enable their businesses’ consumption of the contingent workforce. These programs typically allow business users to submit a request specifying the characteristics of the kind of worker(s) or business outcome(s) they desire. From that point, it is typically the program — and its rules, processes and systems, like a vendor management system (VMS) — that will source the specified worker(s) or project(s) from third-party supplier firms, which are almost always temp agencies or statement of work (SOW) suppliers, and hopefully deliver what the business user specified and desired.

In effect, it is the program, not the business user, that sources the worker(s) or project(s) for the business user. And the business user directly engages with the worker(s) or project resources at the end of the sourcing process, which can go on for weeks, often with many repeated cycles, until the business user is satisfied with the program’s deliverable.

By contrast, self-sourcing, which will be discussed in this Spend Matters Plus brief, allows the business users to identify, engage, select and procure labor resources (today typically independent workers) on their own, directly. Self-sourcing will increasingly become a contingent workforce buying channel, driven by user demand and enabling technology, and procurement and contingent workforce managers must now begin to understand it and prepare to management it.

Comparing Jaggaer and BravoSolution: Contract Lifecycle Management [PRO]


Within the procurement technology suite market, acquired contract management solutions have a history of aging more like a Zinfandel or Beaujolais and less like a Cabernet or Merlot. But the greater problem is not how well the grape (or clause library) can stand the test of time; it’s that the best elements of CLM modules do not necessarily “blend” as well as other capabilities in a procurement suite that are easier to integrate or replatform.

One of the challenges is that the requirements to effectively tackle specialized CLM components from a development and innovation standpoint are specific to CLM. Said another way, the economies of scale in development are not the same as say delivering an integrated sourcing and supplier management capability. Another major challenge is that best-of-breed CLM vendors have innovated far more rapidly in recent years by introducing new capabilities.

Within this context, BravoSolution and Jaggaer both present somewhat average CLM capabilities, based on our Q4 2017 SolutionMap results. They are certainly not bad, but neither solution delivers the same capabilities as leading best-of-breed vendors, nor do they stir our enthusiasm the way other areas of each of the providers' suites do.

In this research brief, we answer the following questions:

  • Comparatively, how does each respective CLM module stack up on a capability basis?
  • What are the functional strengths of each supplier management module “under the surface”?
  • What are the “best fit” SolutionMap personas for each CLM module?
  • Who are alternative CLM providers?
  • What are disruptive forces in the CLM market that could affect both providers?
  • Is there a disadvantage to “going non-suite” in the CLM area?
This Spend Matters PRO brief is based on the following inputs: Q4 2017 SolutionMap datasets (analyst scoring) based on our SolutionMap methodology, demonstration notes and Spend Matters PRO research on alternative suppliers (Vendor Snapshots).

Technology, Platforms, Disruption and the Transformation of the Consulting Industry [Plus+]


Few would disagree that the professional services industry is mature — business and delivery models and the actual industry structure have remained practically unchanged for decades now. This industry is not only mature but also massive and complex.

A long state of industry maturity is almost always a predictor of an approaching period of significant change — disruptive, transformative and most often both. As in other industries, technology and online platforms are already making their mark — and will do so increasingly.

Predictive Contract Negotiations: Get Full Value From CLM Tools [Plus+]

Contract management is undergoing a transformation, moving from the back of the procurement kitchen to nearly taking center stage. A good part of the reason is the corporate transition from a more passive "risk viewed as lack of compliance" efforts toward a more dynamic and comprehensive approach to risk management. This approach doesn't just examine legal clauses as such. Nor does it merely ensure that agreed upon prices and SLA deliverables are met, although those reasons are obviously part of the equation. There’s more to it — much more. In this Spend Matters Plus research brief, we begin by reviewing the core components of CLM systems, and then we explore the path to predictive contract negotiations, delving into the intersections of big data, predictive analytics and contract management.

Comparing Jaggaer and BravoSolution: Supplier Management [PRO]

As Spend Matters defines it in terms of SolutionMap functional requirements, supplier management is a catch-all for a range of underlying capabilities. Said another way, it is not “single” supply market. Supplier management solutions combine varying depths of underlying technical capabilities with single or multi-initiative functional support capabilities. No one vendor is great at all of it — not even close — even if there are significant advantages to coupling supplier management with other modules in an integrated suite.

BravoSolution, Jaggaer and Jaggaer Direct each bring different capabilities to the supplier management equation that can make the individual modules a better fit for certain organizations and industries than others. It can also make comparing them (either directly or with others) confusing for those who are somewhat new to all of the areas that supplier management technologies support and enable.

In this research brief, we will answer the following questions:

  • Comparatively, how does each respective supplier management module stack up on a capability basis?
  • What are the functional strengths of each supplier management module “under the surface”?
  • What are the “best fit” SolutionMap personas for each supplier management module?
  • Who are alternative supplier management providers?
  • What are disruptive forces in the supplier management market (e.g., artificial intelligence, low-cost solutions) that could affect both providers?
  • Is there a disadvantage to “going non-suite” in the supplier management area?
This Spend Matters PRO brief is based on the following inputs: Q4 2017 SolutionMap datasets (analyst scoring) based on our SolutionMap methodology, demonstration notes and Spend Matters PRO research on alternative suppliers (Vendor Snapshots).

Comparing Jaggaer and BravoSolution: Sourcing [PRO]

The combination of Jaggaer and BravoSolution certainly brings together the broadest — and in nearly all areas the deepest — sourcing technology capabilities in the market today. This includes functionally best-in-class integrated sourcing, analytics, category and supplier management capability on the BravoSolution side, as well as Jaggaer ASO, one of the top-performing sourcing optimization solutions. Finally, even though much of the North American market is blissfully unaware of the manufacturing procurement capabilities of Jaggaer Direct, this solution tops the functional charts in specialized capabilities and adds to the unique sourcing footprint Jaggaer will have when the ink is dry on the transaction.

In this research brief, we will answer the following questions:

  • How does each respective sourcing module compare on a capability basis?
  • What are the functional strengths of each sourcing module under the surface?
  • What are the “best fit” SolutionMap personas for each sourcing module?
  • Who are alternative sourcing providers?
  • What are disruptive forces in the sourcing market (e.g., artificial intelligence, low-cost solutions) that could affect both providers?
  • Is there a disadvantage to “going non-suite” in the sourcing area?
This Spend Matters PRO brief is based on the following inputs: Q4 SolutionMap datasets (analyst scoring) based on our SolutionMap methodology, demonstration notes and Spend Matters PRO research on alternative suppliers (Vendor Snapshots).

20 Questions to Ask Stakeholders Before Implementing Your New Procurement System [PRO]

Implementing new procurement technology is like implementing anything. There is a ton of change management involved, and if you don't get stakeholder input upfront, you are asking for trouble. This is especially true with modern procurement systems that can enable new practices on process redesigns that may be disruptive to the status quo. So, you need to get input from a myriad of stakeholders:

  • C-level versus lowest-level end users
  • Procurement users versus internal stakeholders and supplier stakeholders
  • Functional partners such as IT and finance who are “special” stakeholders because they are both spend owners and have a key role in the overall implementation
  • Visionary stakeholders looking to drive change versus stakeholders just wanting to keep their jobs and keeping efforts to a minimum
But what questions should you ask your stakeholders? Fear not. We have written a list of 20 key questions for you to consider.

You may be in procurement. Or you may be in IT. Or you can be a technology provider or consultant. Regardless, these 20 questions will help you tease out key requirements, intelligence and downstream barriers that you want to identify as early as possible. Just as spend influence is best done as early as possible, spend management transformation is also best informed as early as possible.

What Makes a CLM Tool Special These Days? [Plus+]

What should you look for if you want to drive a more mature contract lifecycle management (CLM) approach, one that takes you beyond just getting all your contracts in one place? Getting a grip on the final, executed version of all your contracts is no small feat — it’s one reason behind the increasing demand for contract discovery and analytics solutions — but let’s assume you have checked that box already.

If we look at the CLM providers in the market over the years, several companies have been either acquired by or merged with firms originating from either sourcing or e-procurement in the pursuit of a suite offering, and these solutions are now being integrated into the broader offering. Among the remaining, or independent, providers in the space are companies that deliver decent contract repository functionality, which is to say they can take your executed documents and push them into the CLM tool, and they can track numerous data points well — although some need more manual work than others to get that part done — and most CLM providers also do a good job of negotiating contracts (the "check-in, check-out" process with versioning and document history).

Isn’t that good enough? What else might there be to CLM? What can we do to take CLM to the proverbial next level? This Spend Matters Plus brief aims to answer those questions and points out what features and tools ideal CLM solutions should have.