The Services and Indirect Spend Category

Direct Sourcing of Independent Professionals: What Enterprises Need to Know in 2018 (Part 4)

The main purpose of this four-part series has been to provide corporate and functional decision-makers with guidance for identifying a technology-enabled direct sourcing solution that will be fit for the purpose of engaging skilled independent professional talent and will, at the same time, satisfy non-negotiable enterprise requirements.

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, we traced the development of the enterprise-oriented technology-enabled direct sourcing solution, from talent marketplace platforms (such as online freelancer marketplaces) through freelancer management systems (FMS) to the current state of development in 2018. In Part 3, we highlighted the crucial relationship between technology-enabled direct sourcing and the increasingly important independent professional workforce.

In the fourth and final part of this series, we provide executive decision-makers with criteria to identify a technology-based direct sourcing solution that is fit for purpose and that meets the high bar of enterprise requirements.

Beeline Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Competitive and Summary Analysis [PRO]

Beeline remains one of the top vendor management system (VMS) brands in the contingent workforce market today, holding market share that is roughly equal to SAP Fieldglass following its merger with IQNavigator. The company, which operates independently of any larger software or staffing-related firm, has distinguished itself with a forward-looking strategy and innovative solutions to changing market requirements.

But in a sector marked by rapid change, including procurement’s continued interest in gaining greater control over complex services spend (e.g., professional services) as well as labor market alternatives (e.g., freelancers), the traditional VMS solution model is evolving and its scope widening. That can be both positive and negative. VMS, now becoming more of a broader solution suite, may be perceived in the market as transforming from a sharp, fit-for-purpose tool to a Swiss army knife. While Beeline is not sitting still in this market by any means, it faces — as do other VMS providers — dampened growth rates and narrowing margins, as well as the specter of continuing direct competition from other VMS providers, new competition in the VMS market and a range of alternatives and substitutes targeting different types of services and labor.

This third and final installment of this Spend Matters Vendor Snapshot provides a SWOT analysis of Beeline and offers a competitive segmentation of the complex landscape Beeline faces. It also includes recommended candidates that could serve as alternatives to Beeline, as well guidance for procurement practitioners developing a shortlist. Finally, it provides a summary analysis and recommendations for companies considering Beeline.

Direct Sourcing of Independent Professionals: What Enterprises Need to Know in 2018 (Part 3)


In Part 2 of this four-part series, we examined the emergence of purportedly enterprise-grade, fit-for-purpose, technology-enabled direct sourcing solutions over the past few years, beginning from the “first stab” of freelancer management systems (FMS) to today’s solutions, which are being developed and brought to market a range of different third parties: VMS providers, new software/technology providers, contingent workforce service providers and even some of the talent marketplace platforms.

But the emergence of a range of different solutions in this complex, evolving supply-side environment presents enterprise corporate and functional executives with the challenge of sorting through and identifying a direct sourcing solution that is fit for purpose and will satisfy enterprise requirements. However, fit for purpose may mean different things depending upon what type of independent workers are being sourced and engaged to perform specific kinds of work (e.g., low-skill gig workers compared with specialized, skilled independent professionals).

In this third part of our series, we focus on the crucial relationship between technology-enabled direct sourcing and engaging specialized, skilled independent professionals.

Word of Mouth May Dominate Legal Services Procurement, But Practitioners Want Better Options

When it comes to legal services procurement, a contradiction emerges in what businesses want and what they do. Although in-house lawyers at companies across the globe value sector breadth and expertise most in a search for law firms, the majority still make their choices based on personal connections rather than a neutral assessment of skill and fit, according to Global Trends in Hiring Outside Counsel: Exploring the Need for a Better Way to Identify and Appoint Law Firms, a new report commissioned by Globality.

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.

Direct Sourcing of Independent Professionals: What Enterprises Need to Know in 2018 (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this four-part series, we traced the development of the current generation of technology-enabled direct sourcing solutions from the first online freelancer marketplaces through the rise of the on-demand gig economy and the rapid proliferation of business-oriented talent marketplace platform to the more recent emergence of technology-enabled direct sourcing solutions for enterprises. In 2018, this new technology-enabled direct sourcing space can be viewed in terms of two high-level (now sometimes overlapping) groupings of solution providers: online marketplace platforms on the supply side and direct sourcing solutions on the demand side. In this second part of our series, we focus on the emergence of these enterprise-grade, fit-for-purpose technology-enabled direct sourcing solutions over the past few years.

Coupa Announces First General Availability Release of Services Maestro

Coupa announced Tuesday the general availability (GA) release of its complex services procurement solution, Services Maestro. The news comes as a part of the company’s R20 platform release, where Services Maestro is described as “a new platform application that helps organizations manage the spend associated with complex services.” Last spring, an earlier version of Services Maestro was made available to a limited group of customers within the company’s “early access program.” It is now available to all Coupa customers. Coupa will continue its development of Services Maestro, and new capabilities and enhancements influenced by customers will be made available in subsequent tri-annual platform releases.

Direct Sourcing of Independent Professionals: What Enterprises Need to Know in 2018 (Part 1)

services procurement

In this four-part series, we focus on what enterprises need to know about the direct sourcing of specialized, skilled independent professionals going forward into 2018. Direct sourcing — engaging contingent workers without the use of a traditional staffing agency or consulting firm — is not a new phenomenon. Based on a several emerging factors, however, the idea and the practice have taken on an increased importance over the past several years.

Because enterprises will be increasingly engaging independent professionals as a source of critical skills and expertise, it is crucial for services procurement, HR and executive management to (1) understand the importance of a direct sourcing solution in this context and (2) be in a position to identify a fit-for-purpose solution that is fully suited for enterprise use.

In Part 1 of this series, we provide background on direct sourcing and the emergence of technology-enabled direct sourcing solutions and online marketplace platforms for work and services. In Part 2, we will focus on the rise of enterprise-oriented, technology-enabled direct sourcing solutions, which began with the appearance of freelancer management systems (FMS). In Part 3, we will explain why the right (fit-for-purpose) technology-enabled direct sourcing solution is indispensable for enterprises to successfully source and engage independent professionals. And in Part 4, we provide executive decision-makers with criteria to identify a technology-based direct sourcing solution that is fit-for-purpose and that meets the high bar of enterprise requirements.

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.

Talent-to-Value (T2V): What Enterprises Need in Today’s Dynamic, Digital, Knowledge-Based Economy (Part 1)

In this three-part series, we look at a new human capital model that businesses are adopting to derive value from specialized, expert talent in today’s knowledge-based economy. We refer to this model as talent-to-value (T2V). In Part 1 of this series, we explain T2V in the context of the current knowledge-based economy, and we highlight the various ways that enterprises can realize value by adopting the T2V model. In Part 2 of this series, we will unpack and discuss some of the key ingredients of the T2V model, and in Part 3, we will examine some concrete examples of the T2V model in action.

ADP’s Acquisition of WorkMarket: Just Moving Pieces Around on the Board or Starting a Whole New Game? (Part 1) [PRO]

ADP, the global payroll and human capital management solution provider, recently announced its acquisition of the enterprise workforce management platform business WorkMarket. Founded in 2010, WorkMarket has evolved over time as a pioneer and key player in the emerging and evolving “enterprise-meets-gig-economy” solution space, without, however, reaching breakout market traction and scale revenue. In juxtaposition, ADP’s broad, global footprint of payroll, HR, benefits and talent management services/technology solutions for both small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and large enterprises has squarely rested on the payroll and other human capital requirements pertaining to its clients’ full and part-time employees, as opposed to external contingent workers.

Given the rise of the so-called “gig economy” and the increasing importance of external independent contract workers — variously termed independent consultants, freelancers, ICs or gig workers — there would seem to be an obvious inner logic to the match, even though most of the details about the transaction and the rationale for the acquisition are still absent. Taking that into account, this two-part PRO brief examines what we know about WorkMarket and why ADP made the acquisition. It also attempts to discern more of the detailed ingredients in the mix behind the scenes. Finally, this brief provides a viewpoint on what the acquisition could mean for WorkMarket going forward and what it could indicate about evolving market and competitive dynamics within the human capital management — employee and contingent workforce — solution sector.