Services Procurement & Contingent Labor Management Content

Sourcing and Engaging the Independent/Freelance Workforce — An Emerging Ecosystem? (Part 5) [PRO]

This Part 5 is the conclusion of a Spend Matters PRO series that has explored different aspects of the state of an independent contract workforce (or ICW) ecosystem and its current importance for contingent workforce/services (CW/S) procurement practitioners and executives in enterprise organizations.

Part 1 of this series was published a year ago, and an impetus for this series was a research brief published in late 2015 (“Sourcing and Engaging the Independent Workforce: FMS and Beyond — Filling in the ‘White Space’ ”). That post first raised the question of whether we could expect the formation of a new type of digital ecosystem that enabled enterprise organizations and IC workers to engage in a sustainable, mutually beneficial way. Three years later, the question was taken up again, but in the context of whether enterprise CW/S procurement practitioners should be paying more attention to — or doing more to leverage — ICWs.

The final part of this series summarizes the research in Parts 1-4. It also presents our thinking on whether CW/S procurement practitioners should become more serious about ICWs as a part of their contingent workforce programs. Part 5 concludes with some suggestions for practitioners.

VNDLY — A different breed of VMS or a different solution species altogether? [PRO]

VNDLY, the cloud-based workforce management system (WMS) provider that has been creating waves in the VMS solution market, recently announced a $35 million Series B round. The equity funding to date of $49 million since the company’s inception in 2017 features some big hitter investors such as Insight Partners and Battery Ventures (and ServiceNow — but more on this later). According to the announcement, the $35 million from the Series B will be used “for continued product innovation, global expansion, and the continued investment in customer service and support” (a somewhat vanilla description of what is to come for a self-proclaimed innovator in the space). Nonetheless, VNDLY’s recent news has, in effect, thrown down a gauntlet to incumbent VMS providers — and also thrown up a flare to attract the interest of contingent workforce and services procurement managers looking for a next-generation platform (not just applications) to quickly build out diverse use cases.

The investment ramp up seems to confer increasing confidence in VNDLY, its next-generation platform, business strategy and its ability to execute. Moreover, the company has reported traction in the marketplace, having added “multiple new clients (over the past) year, including 12 Fortune 500 companies.” VNDLY’s co-founder and CEO, Shashank Saxena, has stated, “we've not only been able to validate the market’s readiness for a new and modern cloud-native VMS platform, but also validate that large enterprise customers are willing to replace their legacy VMS solutions to upgrade and modernize with VNDLY.”

In this Spend Matters PRO brief — keeping contingent workforce and services procurement practitioners in mind — we provide some information about the VNDLY solution and approach to the market. Note: We have already covered VNDLY extensively in the past year in the Temp Staffing SolutionMap as well as related SolutionMap and PRO content (see VNDLY: What Makes It Great (Temp Staffing/VMS SolutionMap Analysis) and VNDLY Closes $11 Million Series A Funding Round: A VMS Category Buster in the Making? [PRO]). We will also discuss the bigger picture — the coincidence of VNDLY’s emergence and seemingly accelerating evolution in the contingent workforce and service technology space and what practitioners should be aware of as they think about addressing contingent workforce and services in the future.

So what is VNDLY? Let's find out.

VNDLY raises $35 million in Series B to try to outsmart VMS

VNDLY, a cloud-based workforce management system (WMS) provider that has been causing waves in the VMS solution market, announced a $35 million Series B round today. Insight Partners led this round, with participation from Battery Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, EPIC Ventures, Bowery Capital, and the Cintrifuse Syndicate Fund. Perhaps raising a few eyebrows, ServiceNow — which provides digital solutions to structure and deliver services for enterprise operations — also participated in the funding round.

VectorVMS says its revamp gave the veteran provider ‘freedom to work in startup mode’

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“We’re an established company with the mentality and freedom to work in a startup mode, which is uncommon in our industry,” said Marc Husain, Managing Director of VectorVMS, which has 20 years of experience but recently refocused on one core mission. 

After only a year of being fully focused on the VMS marketplace, VectorVMS has made a name for itself. Formerly a division of PeopleFluent, the company boasts more than two decades of know-how establishing VectorVMS as an industry leader. PeopleFluent, established in 1999 as itiliti, was purchased by UK-based Learning Technologies Group (LTG) in 2018.

To find out how VectorVMS’s first year went and to get a glimpse into the future, we talked to Husain for a Q&A.

Basware: Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 2) — Product Strengths & Weaknesses [PRO]

contingent workforce

Basware, a Nordic procure-to-pay (P2P) provider that until recently adopted a conservative global growth strategy, is not as well known outside its customer base for its set of differentiated and robust capabilities, especially in the AP automation, e-invoicing and supplier network areas. Through its acquisition of Verian, it added sufficient e-procurement capability to compete against other best-in-class purchasing technology providers (previously, its cloud-based Alusta platform, which forms the basis of its AP automation and invoicing capability, was not competitive in the e-procurement market against specialized providers). In the trade financing area, we have applauded Basware in the past for taking a highly strategic approach in partnerships to both payables and receivables financing. And we now applaud its more competitive approach in adding partnerships to its multi-funder capability and “on demand” programs.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Update (Part 2) explores Basware’s strengths and weaknesses in the P2P, supplier network and trade financing areas, providing facts and expert analysis to help organizations decide if they should shortlist the vendor as a potential provider. Part 1 looked at updates since our 2016 brief, offering a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommended fit suggestion for what types of organizations should consider Basware. Part 3 will include analysis and commentary.

‘Dark CapEx’ and ‘orphan’ business processes are top challenges as lease spend moves onto balance sheets, expert says

“There is a growing amount of ‘dark CapEx’ hidden in outsourcing contracts, ‘as-a-service’ arrangements and traditional leases,” said Ingemar Lanevi, LeaseAccelerator’s VP and GM of Global Sourcing Solutions, in an interview focusing on the problems with leasing spend.

The issues with lease spend have been hot topics since accounting rules changed this year for some companies, and that change has exposed how businesses don’t really understand how much they’re spending on leases, how much they’re overspending and who in the business is in charge of all those deals.

“Equipment leasing is an ‘orphan business process’ that begs for oversight and leadership,” said Lanevi, in a Spend Matters Q&A where we asked him about the issues with lease spend to shed light on the big picture.

Afternoon Coffee: U.S.-China deal advances; Brexit win; Qwil completes double financing round; Bill.com goes public

Two sagas concerning world trade — Brexit and a U.S.-China trade deal — saw major developments that give clarity to months of uncertainty. In other news: Qwil, a San Francisco-based startup that provides financing to freelancers and small businesses, has raised $24.4 million in equity and $200 million in debt funding, Reuters has reported. Bill.com has a strong IPO on day one, indicating that AP automation and payments are a hot area. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

Workforce Logiq’s acquisition of ENGAGE Talent: On the innovation path beyond MSP [PRO]

In October, Spend Matters reported on Workforce Logiq’s acquisition of the workforce data and analytics firm ENGAGE Talent. The acquisition of ENGAGE capped a big year for a company that, under the leadership of staffing industry outsider Jim Burke, has been innovating beyond the boundaries of the traditional — some would say commoditized — MSP model.

This Spend Matters PRO brief analyzes the acquisition of ENGAGE Talent as a key milestone in the execution of Workforce Logiq’s innovation and transformation strategy. Taking a closer look at ENGAGE Talent (and what it does) is important, but it is at least as important to put the acquisition in the broader context of where Workforce Logiq is heading. Consequently, much of the brief will focus on that context.

This brief should provide a useful update for contingent workforce and HR executives who are thinking about where to go next with their existing MSP/VMS vendors.

Afternoon Coffee: USMCA on way to Congress vote; Degreed grabs Adepto; Payoneer acquires optile

Congress announced its plans to vote on the USMCA next week. Payments platform Payoneer nabbed optile, a Munich-based tech company "that streamlines payment acceptance processes for merchants worldwide, to boost merchant control of payments." And in the workforce tech platform space, Degreed acquired Adepto. Afternoon Coffee: your source for procurement and supply chain news.

Afternoon Coffee: USMCA clears hurdle; WTO paralyzed; Tariff delay; new Upwork CEO; SAP partners with project44

U.S. House Democrats have worked out a USMCA trade deal with the White House that could lead to the NAFTA replacement moving forward. In other trade news, the WTO's Appellate Body, which acts as the highest court for international trade, will in effect be paralyzed by losing more panel members. Also, new U.S. tariffs against China could be delayed from taking effect Sunday, the WSJ reports. In contingent workforce news, Upwork names a new CEO. In logistics news, SAP today announced a partnership with project44, which provides visibility for shippers and service providers. And former Boeing manager Ed Pierson told NBC News that he had warned the company about problems at its main factory in Washington state, prior to two of its 737 MAX airplanes crashing in separate incidents that killed 350 people. Afternoon Coffee: Stay safe out there.

A new species: Specialist providers of contingent workforce rate benchmarking/analytics [PRO]

Specialist providers of contingent workforce rate benchmarking/analytics services have emerged over the past several years. Based on our market scan, we have identified three such standalone, vendor-neutral providers — PeopleTicker, Brightfield Talent Data Exchange (TDX) and HCM Strategies. All three will be profiled at a high level in this Spend Matters PRO brief. A secondary goal of this brief is to begin to explore a broader, systematic research approach to understanding and comparing different rate benchmarking and analytics capabilities.

The estimation, or benchmarking, of contingent workforce “market” labor rates by job category is certainly not new, and rate benchmarking is widely used — or made available as a service — in practically every part of the contingent workforce supply chain (e.g., staffing suppliers, MSPs, VMS solutions, et al). But rate benchmarking data sources and methodologies have remained somewhat in the shadows for years.

Rate benchmarking produced within — and as just a part of — those contingent workforce supply chain providers has not made it easy to assess what lies behind the many different benchmarking approaches that are in use today. However, the emergence of third-party, vendor-neutral rate benchmarking and analytics service/solution specialists may help in doing so.

To compound the problem, there is currently no established framework that would allow for a comparison of different providers’ rate benchmarking approaches and allied capabilities (e.g., self-service, scenario-building and other capabilities). And, as “advanced analytics” (based on techniques such as data/text mining, machine learning, pattern matching, semantic analysis, simulations, etc.) provide a new foundation for rate benchmarking, the differentiation of approaches becomes more important over time.

Now, let’s take a look at PeopleTicker, Brightfield Talent Data Exchange (TDX) and HCM Strategies and then make some high-level observations about the group.

Lease spend is a hidden category worth millions in savings, strategic value for business

procurement

In most businesses, their millions of dollars in leasing spend represent a hidden opportunity for procurement and finance departments to find savings and create strategic value.

With every department in a business juggling leasing terms, financing and renewals for things like warehouses, offices, computers, supplies, furniture and fleets, it’s a daunting task to think any single department could manage it all. These are some reasons why lease spend isn’t managed well. But technology has developed to the point that it would be unthinkable to leave all of that spend unmanaged.

So it's clear that lease spend should be its own category, but why is that becoming apparent now?