IQ Navigator – you say contingent labour, I say temporary staff…

After my introductory chat with Fieldglass (see here), I met with the IQ Navigator (IQN) team recently; they're another major player in the pure VMS software / services market.  The guys  were attending the Contingent Workforce Strategies Summit Europe in London which I didn't make – next year, maybe.  (We might call it a Temporary Staff Conference but that wouldn't sound so impressive...I hear it was a good event actually, mix of procurement and HR attendees).

I first came across IQN  when one of the CPOs interviewed for our book raved about the MI and control their software gave in the contingent labour category.  Ability to know exactly who was working where and when (in terms of contractors), tracing day rates and agency margins in order to negotiate better, and managing security issues were all big benefits this CPO had acheived.

As I've said before, VMS (vendor management systems) seems a daft definition because surely “Vendor Management”  could cover all and every supplier? The IQN focus, like Fieldglass,  is really contingent (temporary) labour, and other complex services, such as statement of works, or (an example they described) claims adjustment services.

Their solutions can replace simple requisitions with complex rate cards or similar; and can create self-billing solutions for providers that take significant effort and cost out of the process for the buying organisation.  Individual contractors can be tracked - with links to building or IT access control for instance - as well as monitoring of rates for both staff and the agency margins.

At the moment, IQ Navigator don't have much in the way of European infrastructure. But this is beginning to change on the back of global clients such as UPS and major US banks, and they are also beginning to pick up 'local' European clients. I asked them about the impending EU legislation on the use of temporary staff; I know it is seen as another constraint in the UK, but I hadn't realised that in some countries it is actually likely to lead to an increase in the use of contingent labour; and more opportunity for providers.

IQ Navigator offer services in this area as well as software; indeed, they act as a vendor neutral prime contractor in some cases.  They also support internal functions that in effect play that role; and they also work with other primes where appropriate.  (Does that bring them into 'conflict of interest' situations at times?  Something to explore further perhaps).

Jason has commented as you would expect in more technical detail on the firm; and as we've said before, there are other strong options in the specialist services procurement, including Emptoris and Fieldglass.  But if you are a big user of contingent labour, and feel there is more procurement could be doing in the category, (and I can think of a few who fit that bill in public and private sector), then you should be at least taking a look at what is on offer from this type of provider.  The benefits can be considerbale; and it will be a good play for many procurement functions, taking you as it does into wider business areas and away from 'traditional'' spend categories.

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