Why Contingent Workforce Buyers ‘Like’ the VMSA Live Conference: It’s Different

As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life. Doing the same thing day after day or year after year with the same people may not be the best way to discover and adopt new perspectives and learn new things. Now contingent workforce procurement managers have begun to realize that a conference like VMSA Live, which brings together all the parts of the contingent workforce supply chain in an intimate setting designed for interaction and practical learning, is different and can lead to entirely new insights and learning.

If learning by lecture is what you prefer, there are other places to do that. But if you prefer something different — experiential learning and discovery, based on interaction with all constituencies of the contingent workforce ecosystem — then VMSA Live is the place for you. (The event will be held Feb. 8-11 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.)

Similarly, we at Spend Matters, a leading research and advisory firm that covers the whole range of procurement, are different, too. And that is why we and VMSA Live are “friends,” and why we are pleased to once again be the analyst/media firm covering the VMSA Live conference.

Now that we’ve gotten the niceties out of the way, let’s give you a quick picture on what VMSA about and what’s in it for you.

Who Should Attend?

The answer is a broad one, as can be seen here:


The 2015 VMSA Live event had just shy of 300 attendees from 25 enterprise customers, 43 managed service providers (MSPs), 15 vendor management systems (VMSs), 190 suppliers and 20 providers of ecosystem solutions and services.  The February 2016 event will also be a microcosm of the entire contingent workforce ecosystems but with increasing participation by enterprise procurement and HR professionals and some additional international participation. The conference is also now becoming attractive to other kinds of industry players, including investors.

Contingent workforce practitioners should definitely find the idea of attending compelling.  The conference offers the opportunity to grapple with practical issues and explore solutions in a total ecosystem environment that combines lots of cross-constituency interaction with constituency-specific learning tracks and sessions.

What’s in it for Enterprise Professionals?

Apart from the unique, all-parts-of-the-ecosystem environment for interactive learning, there are ample segments of the conference that will have significant, direct appeal for contingent workforce management professionals. Here are just some of them:

  • A session by Steven Kekich, the global contingent workforce program manager at Uber, where he will review the challenges and experiences of his first 30 days at Uber. (Let’s face it — this should really be interesting and informative.)
  • A session led by Jon Dudley, senior manager category procurement, and Shyrl Hoover, senior manager talent acquisition and flexible recruitment programs, of Abbott Laboratories, that will address joint procurement and HR challenges in managing staffing and statements of work (SOW).
  • A session led by Steve Silver, senior director contingent workforce management and IT recruitment at Kaiser, and Greg Muccio, senior manager people department at Southwest Airlines, on rethinking what they call the “human capital equation.”
  • A case-study session, “How we Tried to Implement a $500 Million Global MSP and Failed: Pitfalls and Lessons Learned,” presented by Jim Holcomb, global head of contract staffing, Wipro.
  • An SOW case study session, “How Oracle Leveraged its VMS Technology for Global Expansion,” with Wendy Patience-O’Brien, director of global procurement and contingent workforce at Oracle.
  • A session entitled “Category Management Deep-Dives,” featuring: (1) for management consulting spend, Mike Schiappa, associate vice president of global labor and consulting, and Melanie Temkin, the global labor and consulting lead, at MetLife; (2) for marketing spend, Keith Wulffraat, initiative leader for global procurement at Caterpillar; and (3) for IT spend, Bob Hicks, CWS strategy and deployment manager at Shell.

Mix it up a Little

As you can see, what goes on at VMSA Live is very “practice oriented.” The conference is almost entirely about how the whole contingent workforce management ecosystem can deal with the here-and-now challenges and improve performance and outcomes going forward. Most contingent workforce professionals should feel both at home and challenged. It’s different, and it’s definitely in a good way.

As we said at the start, variety is the spice of life—don’t keep doing the same thing.  It may be time for you to think about mixing it up a bit and consider participating in VMSA (where attendance is not mandatory—but almost).

To learn more about VMSA Live in Ft. Lauderdale and how to register, go to the event website.

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