Services Procurement & Contingent Labor Content

Upwork is Loved on Valentine’s Day — Shares Hit All-Time High

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On Valentine’s Day, Upwork shares reached an all-time high of $23.50 before closing at $23.18 on the Nasdaq. Upwork’s market cap rose to $2.46 billion, up from $1.96B on Jan. 2, 2019 (an increase of half a billion dollars). In one respect, this makes clear that Upwork is truly part of the contingent workforce solutions pack of companies, and some kind of rising tide is raising all boats in the sector.

Afternoon Coffee: Freelance Platform Fiverr Acquires ClearVoice; Sears Plans Smaller Stores, Less Apparel

Eddie Lampert’s winning bankruptcy bid for Sears is taking shape, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that his plan to save the ailing retailer includes opening smaller stores and reducing the focus on selling apparel. And Fiverr, the fast-growing online platform that connects businesses and freelancers who specialize in digital creative services, announced Wednesday that it had acquired the content marketing platform ClearVoice. Afternoon Coffee brings you the latest in procurement and supply chain news.

Independent Workforce and Online Platforms —  What’s a Services Procurement Practitioner to Do?

In 2019, services procurement practitioners in mid- to large-sized enterprises most likely have some awareness of — or even some level of interest in — independent contract workforce (ICW) and online work/service platforms (e.g., online freelancer marketplaces, contest/challenge crowd platforms, digital direct sourcing solutions). But for the most part, the new opportunities presented by platforms to source and engage ICWs are viewed as having an uncertain ROI, not being ready for prime time — or worse. Andrew Karpie, Spend Matters' research director of services and labor procurement, says it's worth your time and has some advice.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List: February 2019 [Plus+]

Welcome to the February 2019 edition of Spend Matters’ monthly Hot List, a look at the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) that’s available to PLUS and PRO subscribers. 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.

Perhaps overcome by the polar vortex, for many, January turned out to have been a frigid month. But the CW/S space continued to percolate, with a number of developments and changes and a few new third-party reports that offered insights into various aspects of this evolving space.

Technology, Talent Strategy Needed for Business Growth, Study Says

Advancements in technology are changing nearly everything about the way people work across various industries, and a new report highlights how this transformation also pertains to the inner workings of talent acquisition. During the past few years, the way employers source, screen and hire new talent has changed vastly, and experts say this change is for the better. Business leaders’ concerns about the global economy are causing organizations to regard talent as the key to value creation, according to the 2019 Talent Trends report from Randstad Sourceright.

Are Organizations Using More of the Independent Workforce? [PRO]

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Several years into the gig economy hype cycle, much has happened and many questions remain unanswered (the least of which is: “What are we talking about?”). A handful of survey-based studies — using different population definitions, methodologies and time intervals, — have focused on the population of people in the U.S. engaging in some kind of full- or part-time alternative work arrangement, temp work, freelancing and/or independent contract work. The result, not surprisingly, has been widely varying estimates of population size and rate of change.

But trying to answer questions about the independent workforce population may be missing the point. A more relevant and important set of questions for procurement and HR practitioners in organizations may be: Have organizations been sourcing and engaging more workers in non-traditional work arrangements? Why or why not? And so on. To get at some of these questions, we have surveyed a panel of executives of contingent workforce technology solution and service providers and analyzed the results.

Field Nation: Vendor Snapshot (Part 3) — Summary and Competitive Analysis [PRO]

Field Nation — as discussed in this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot Part 1 and Part 2 — provides an online marketplace and an enterprise solution that enables companies and their managers to conduct “on-demand” sourcing, engagement, dispatch, management and payment of IT field services contractors, services providers and even their own company employees. Today, Field Nation still largely plays in the narrow/niche of online marketplace/work execution solution segment of IT field contractors/providers (what might be considered a niche, duopoly market where it competes against WorkMarket, now an ADP company). But it has recently launched its broader, enterprise-level Field Nation ONE solution, which implies a considerably wider competitive context. If one expands the potential market to include larger, enterprise-level field service management (“FSM”) solutions (or further, to address other on-demand, on-site project work categories), the addressable market would be much larger and the industry competitive landscape and dynamics would be significantly different.

Part 1 provided a company and detailed solution overview, as well as a recommend fit list of criteria for firms considering Field Nation. Part 2 discussed Spend Matters’ perspective on solution strengths and weaknesses along with a rating of UI/UX for firms considering solution options. In our third and final installment, we provide a SWOT overview of Field Nation as a whole, a high-level, comparative competitive analysis, key fit criteria and, lastly, brief commentary and suggestions for organizations that might consider Field Nation as a potential solution partner.

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The Past, Present and Future of the MSP Industry: A Visual Guide for Procurement

procurement consulting

As the world of work changes rapidly, so too must managed services providers (MSPs). The “same old” execution of a traditional contingent workforce program that includes VMS technology is no longer cutting it, and MSPs that fail to realize this risk being replaced by new entrants intent on disrupting the old industry model.

In a world of accelerating change, enterprises expect their service providers to be right there with them, successfully navigating those changes. Enterprises cannot compete with an eye on the past — they need value-added solutions that help them to succeed now and into the future. What does this look like? Check out the infographic below to learn how the MSP industry is evolving today and tomorrow.

Field Nation: Vendor Snapshot (Part 2) — Product Strengths and Weaknesses [PRO]

In the first of this three-part Spend Matters PRO series, we introduced you to Field Nation, a digital platform that enables companies and their managers to conduct “on-demand” sourcing, engagement, dispatch, management and payment of technical field services contractors, services providers and, recently, employees.

For a number of years, Field Nation has been providing what was basically a many-to-many online spot-buy marketplace. But last year, the company launched an enterprise-level, blended-workforce sourcing and management platform solution called Field Nation ONE, and that is the focus of this product evaluation.

Among other enterprise technology solutions that address independent contract workers (ICWs) and are featured in the Spend Matters ICW SolutionMap, Field Nation ONE stands out with laser-like focus in the field services vertical and its integrated proprietary marketplace of roughly 15,000 field service contractors in the U.S. and Canada. But while Field Nation ONE is an enterprise, S2P solution addressing the ICW work category, it is nonetheless a specialized one and needs to be evaluated on that basis. It also bears noting that Field Nation ONE is at the very beginning of its product maturity curve.

Part 1 of this Spend Matters PRO series provided company background and a detailed solution overview, plus a set of solution-fit considerations. In Part 2, we now cover what we see as the strengths and weaknesses of the solution as well as a rating of UI/UX. Part 3 will provide competitor and SWOT analyses, and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Freelancers and Fintech — Follow the Money

Companies’ use of freelancers has become a hot topic of discussion as well as a source of considerable confusion among contingent workforce professionals and other human capital personnel in procurement and HR over the past several years.

It is a chaotic discourse. But there does seem to be something of a consensus that the number of individuals performing some type of at least “part-time” freelance or short gig-work has been materially increasing.

While there has been discussion of various potential drivers of this trend (e.g., business cycle, technology, personal income sufficiency, etc.), less attention has been paid to the state of ICW payments and financial services as a potential driver of ICW supply-side growth. And this is the case, despite that multiple surveys of workers have shown that payments is one of the top problems (along with development of new business and securing health insurance) that is gating ready-and-willing workers’ propensity to engage in part-time or full-time independent contract work.

But despite the lagging attention in the industry, market forces have been at work on solving the problem of payment and financial limitations that may be constraining the growth of part- and full-time independent work being performed. Developments in this particular area have become visible over the last year, as we will discuss in this article.

5 Areas for Services Procurement Professionals to Watch in 2019

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As we start off 2019, more procurement professionals may want to be on their toes with respect to the changing contingent workforce and services environment. With that in mind — and recognizing the wicked challenge of making even short-term predictions in this space — we are not offering predictions per se but rather commentary on several broader trends. No promises, no New Year resolutions. Instead, we’d like to point to some areas we will be (and perhaps you should be) watching in 2019. To avoid being caught flat-footed as new developments and opportunities arise, practitioners need to keep their eye on five areas in particular.

TalonFMS: What Makes It Great (Independent Contract Workers SolutionMap Analysis)

Lystable

TalonFMS is a provider of talent management and direct sourcing technology that enables organizations that are looking to source, manage and leverage independent contract workers (ICWs). TalonFMS’s technology solution was recently evaluated in Spend Matters’ SolutionMap framework with the Independent Contract Workers enterprise solution category. The ICW solution segment is the most dynamic part of the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) procurement technology market, which also includes SolutionMap’s Temp Staffing (Vendor Management Systems/VMS) and Contract Services/Statement of Work solution segments.

Unlike solutions for Temp Staffing or Contract Services/SOW, most ICW enterprise solutions have emerged over the past five years within the context of the so-called gig, freelance and peer-to-peer “economies.” While some new providers have developed external platforms like online marketplaces that function effectively as third-party suppliers of talent, others have developed enterprise software solutions that organizations can use to source and manage independent contract talent in ways that VMS, ATS and HRIS systems cannot. TalonFMS falls within this latter category.

TalonFMS provides a fit-for-purpose enterprise software solution that organizations can use to source and organize, gain visibility into and establish control over their external workers they engage as contract independents and not as employees of staffing suppliers. A young company launched in 2015, TalonFMS already covers most of the important ICW management requirements cost-effectively for any size and type of organization, and it boasts the highest client survey score among its peers in the ICW solution category.