Author Archives: Andrew Karpie

Contingent Workforce/Services Technology: Considerations for 2021 and Beyond COVID-19 (Part 1)


We are entering a new year full of uncertainty driven by the coronavirus pandemic. Over the course of 2021, the coronavirus vaccine may gradually lift most COVID-19 restrictions across the economy. But organizations will continue to be redesigning and reconfiguring themselves through and beyond 2021.

With respect to Contingent/Workforce and Services (CW/S) in 2021, major questions loom:

  • What have organizations learned from forced adaptation to COVID-driven uncertainty, disruptions and constraints?
  • What longer-term changes will organizations take forward as they eventually emerge in a post-COVID world?
  • How will this impact their technology decisions and deployments?

To provide some CW/S technology context for decision-makers, this PRO analysis will — using a broad brush — examine trends in five main contingent workforce/services technology solution categories and suggest what to expect in 2021. Additional readings are also suggested for each of the categories.

PRO Unlimited acquires PeopleTicker in bid for more contingent workforce market data

PRO Unlimited, the contingent workforce management services solution provider, announced its acquisition of PeopleTicker, the workforce rate benchmarking and analytics platform. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to today’s announcement, by acquiring PeopleTicker, PRO Unlimited “has expanded the capabilities of its contingent workforce management platform.” The announcement also noted that PeopleTicker uses “machine learning and industry-expert crowdsourcing” to assemble an extensive market rate database global, covering labor markets in 160 countries.

Tell us about your experience with complex services procurement using technology: A Spend Matters and SIG Survey

Each year, organizations spend over $20 trillion globally on all kinds of services, according to some estimates. Services in the US make up, on average, nearly 60% of organizations’ total non-payroll external spend (and that can be significantly higher in some industry verticals). The effective management of services spend has been a perennial topic of discussion (and limited action) over many years. And technology used to address complex services in an organization is not well understood.

Spend Matters and SIG, the Sourcing Industry Group, have partnered to field a survey of procurement professionals (CPOs, procurement directors, category managers, etc.) that is described briefly.

The purpose of the survey is to better understand how and to what extent procurement is using enterprise procurement technology and other solutions to process and manage an organization’s service categories and with what level of satisfaction.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insiders’ Hot List: December 2020 ‘Special Edition’

Spend Matters has been publishing the monthly CW/S Insiders Hot List — our monthly look at new technology and innovation in the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space — since the start of 2018. Today we are publishing this “Special Edition” to mark a change in our publishing schedule and look back at the key trends and themes that emerged over the course of this year.

For nearly three years, we have published the Hot List at the beginning of every month and covering developments of the previous month. As such, the November Hot List would cover the developments that transpired in October. To align titles and converge periods, starting next month, the January Hot List will be published at the end of January and will cover the developments that took place in January. We will maintain that convention going forward.

In this December 2020 Special Edition, we will also be looking at and discussing some of the key trends that the Hot List covered over the months of 2020. But before turning to that discussion, we will provide a summary round-up of notable events/developments in December.

MBO Partners’ 10th annual ‘State of Independence in America’ report about independent workers gives COVID-era snapshot

public spending

MBO Partners — which describes itself as “a deep jobs platform that connects and enables independent professionals and microbusiness owners to do business safely and effectively with enterprise organizations'' — announced the release of its 2020 “State of Independence in America” report. The report provides a COVID-era snapshot of the characteristics and trends associated with independent work in the US, based on survey data collected in August of this year.

The Direct Sourcing of Workers/Services (DSW/S) Solution Market Landscape

direct sourcing contingent workforce

Spend Matters Contingent Workforce/Services SolutionMaps are made up of three maps covering the main enterprise software solutions used by organizations to manage contingent workforce and services (CW/S) procurement.

These three maps represent purpose-built solutions for:

  • Temporary Staffing (solutions known originally as VMS (vendor management system) has been the key enterprise technology for over 25 years)
  • Contracted Services/SOW (solutions — whether suite modules or stand-alone — designed to variously enable the management of corp-to-corp, third party services)
  • Direct Sourcing of Workers/Services (DSW/S) (solutions designed to enable enterprises to directly source and manage independent workers and small service providers or SSPs)

This Spend Matters PRO market landscape report covers the Direct Sourcing of Workers/Services (DSW/S).

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insiders’ Hot List: December 2020

Welcome to the December 2020 edition of Spend Matters Insiders’ Hot List, a monthly look at the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space. For those new to the Hot List, each edition covers the prior month’s important or interesting technology and innovation developments in the CW/S space.

In the last Hot List we covered key events and developments that took place in November 2020. These included the arrival of a new VMS solution, ProcureWise, two direct sourcing/MSP partnerships (WillHire and Yoh, Shortlist and NextSource), Mailchimp’s new freelancer community, the launch of a diversity-based freelancer marketplace, Ebuynee, and more. 

Turning to November, what was for many a complicated and stressful month, we observed an industry that was very much alive and well (despite being bruised up a bit). In November, the industry continued to recover and some sub-markets grew quickly. The staffing industry continued its steady climb from its cave-in this March (on 11/15, the ASA Staffing Index was just 9% under the index value one year earlier). And online freelancer platforms seemed to continue to benefit from COVID-19 tailwinds (or are they structural shifts?). The app-based gig economy also continued its robust expansion. We also discovered at least one new company that impressed us. So, all in all, not bad!

ProcureWise: Vendor Analysis — Solution Overview, Roadmap, Competitors & Market, Customer Feedback, Commentary

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an overview of ProcureWise and its extended workforce solution.

In the past few years, a number of new extended workforce solutions have emerged to challenge incumbent VMS providers and/or look to penetrate lower, underserved mid-market tiers. We refer to them as “extended workforce solutions,” rather than VMS, because the long-standing term, VMS, carries a connotation of being anchored to temporary staffing. That said, today, both new solution providers and evolved VMS providers address a broader set of extended workforce channels.

ProcureWise is the newest kid on the block, having officially launched its solution in early October (the solution was previously running in beta). The company itself was founded by the founder and CEO of CEIPAL, a staffing agency recruitment and HRMS software business launched in 2011. CEIPAL reports that it serves over 1,400 client companies.

Like others in its category, ProcureWise’s extended workforce solution, which is built on a state-of-the-art, API-open technology platform, addresses enterprise requirements to source and manage staffing and non-staffing contingent workers as well as SOW-services. It provides direct sourcing capabilities, and it is aimed at “total talent” scenarios. The solution appears to leverage some CEIPAL technology platform components for at least direct sourcing, where AI enables talent sourcing — a unique, special twist to this solution.

This Vendor Analysis provides a high-level analyst perspective on ProcureWise, including a business snapshot; overview of platform, solution and supporting services; competitive market overview; and key analyst takeaways.

Digital B2B platforms for work/services: Are we at a COVID-19 inflection point?

COVID-19 has impacted businesses in many fundamental ways. Perhaps most visibly, it has brought about what seems to be a structural shift from predominantly office-based work to significantly more remote work. Many large companies are shutting down entire offices, having made the decision to move to a much more remote workforce model.

Now there seems to be some evidence that COVID-19 has had a notable and positive impact on at least some B2B online work/services platforms that enable businesses and freelancers to engage and transact with one another online. These engagements and transactions can occur without spatial limitations (no meeting in offices necessary, access to a potentially worldwide talent pool).

Though not central in our focus, B2C platforms like Instacart, Grubhub and others have also gotten a boost from the surge in online ordering of everything from meals to consumer goods.

The growth of transactions across these platforms and a new law in California may add to the potential momentum.

This Spend Matters PRO brief examines if COVID-19 may be leading to an inflection point for the B2B work/services platform economy. It looks at developments over the past months, including those at the two publicly traded online freelancer platforms, Fiverr and Upwork. The brief concludes with our own views of where things stand today and what enterprise executives should expect and do.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insiders’ Hot List: November 2020

Welcome to the November 2020 edition of Spend Matters Insiders’ Hot List, a monthly look at the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space. For those new to the Hot List, each edition covers the prior month’s important or interesting technology and innovation developments in the CW/S space.

In the last Hot List, we covered key events and developments that took place in September 2020. These included MBO’s acquisition MindSumo, Fiverr’s new subscription-based solution, Fiverr Business, a range of indicators of very active online freelancer platforms in the midst of COVID-19 and more.

Turning to October, we observed a changing of seasons as COVID-19 has become — for the time being — something of a fixture in the economic landscape. It may be cold and gloomy in the northern hemisphere, but the CW/S space has been heating up.

The industry (or parts of it) seems to have climbed a substantial way out of its April 2020 crater. The core of the industry continues to evolve (perhaps with greater haste), and the flow of new developments in the industry seems as robust as ever. One stands out: the online freelancer platform segment continues to exhibit a rational exuberance (both in terms of the platforms and the developing ecosystem that support freelancers and other contract workers).

VNDLY: Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — In-Depth Solution Overview 

In this third and final part of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, we provide a complete VNDLY solution overview, looking at each main module in the VNDLY offering.

Part 1 of the series provided an overview of VNDLY and its solution and what we pointed out as notable solution strengths and qualifications. Part 2 focused on VNDLY’s competitive position in the space as a solution provider, as well as use case conditions where VNDLY would be a good fit.

In this final section of our coverage, we provide a more detailed look at VNDLY's solution.

VNDLY: Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — SWOT, VNDLY Competitors & Market Overview, Tech Selection Tips

In Part 2 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, we'll look at VNDLY’s competitors, examine the market in which they compete and provide a company SWOT assessment.

Over the last five to seven years, the market for technology solutions that enable the sourcing and management of contingent workforce and services has become increasingly active and diverse in terms of new providers/solutions. But for many years, legacy VMS providers anchored in temp staffing ruled the contingent workforce segment, while complex service purchasing was shoe-horned incompletely into source-to-pay/e-procurement solutions.

Technology-driven innovation and changes in both the supply- and demand-sides of the market are calling into question legacy solution footprints and architectures. VNDLY was the first new solution that challenged legacy VMS providers, and other new entrants have appeared on the market. Organizations have begun to assign greater importance to managing their large and growing non-employee workforces (agency temps, other contract workers and those that work for service providers of various kinds). Organizations seemed to be looking for a modern alternative to their legacy VMS solutions, and VNDLY’s entry into the market seems to be well-timed.

In Part 1, we focused on company details, a brief solution overview, and VNDLY solution’s strengths and weaknesses. In our third and final installment, we will provide a more in-depth overview of VNDLY’s platform capabilities.

Let’s now look at VNDLY’s competitors and market/industry position.