SOW Content

CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE: Contingent Workforce and Services Solutions — How to find the right workers, services in a crisis [PRO]

In this installment of our “Coronavirus Response” series, Spend Matters will focus on contingent workforce and services issues now that it’s not business as usual. In the COVID-19 crisis, the level of uncertainty in worker availability drives an increased need for workforce agility and, perhaps, new trade-offs between time, cost and risk. This may be a time when relying only on existing sourcing channels and suppliers will come up short.

External platforms or networks for remote and online workforce/services can be used to find and engage freelancers and small service providers across the globe who can perform activities totally online. Work can be managed, accepted and paid for online. In its basic form it can be up and running in a number of minutes with a credit card.

These new kinds of technology-based CW/S solutions from providers like Upwork, Fiverr and Topcoder may yield important benefits over and beyond what might be provided by a VMS. This is not to say a VMS solution is an unimportant contributor in the current crisis. On the contrary, it is critical.

The overall mission of this PRO series is to examine categories of relevant solutions (and example providers) that professionals in procurement, finance and supply chain organizations should investigate to reduce, and even mitigate, coronavirus supply risk. And even if the solutions are only addressing a subset of the issues, the ability to respond intelligently in the short term can also help set organizations up for the future when sanity returns to the world.

This article addresses the seventh category of the seven we currently have outlined:

1. Supply risk management solutions that include supply chain risk, CSR risk, supplier financial risk, etc.
2. Sourcing and commodity management, including advanced sourcing, direct sourcing, automated supplier discovery, and commodity management to help dynamically plan and source.
3. Advanced procurement analytics to enable direct procurement and/or to perform “spend planning” when demand drops out or spikes. (Its profile for this series is here.)
4. P2P that emphasizes working capital, dynamic discounting, payment control and related finance priorities to help inject cash into the P2P process — especially for many cash-starved suppliers. (This category is discussed in-depth here.)
5. Fraud, P2P and vendor management safeguards when new suppliers need to be set up quickly, and also when lowlife fraudsters try to use the pandemic as a way to steal money and IP.
6. Providers with deep contract analytics that can analyze a contract portfolio for affected contracts from suppliers (and customers) for not just force majeure clauses, but other related clauses that tie to the multiple risks popping up at once in the pandemic.
7. Contingent workforce and services solutions that are able to, at a minimum, help rapidly ramp up on-demand workers to deal with massive resource shortfalls. We are looking at four categories of solutions for sourcing remote/online work; solutions for sourcing and managing contract workers at geo-specific capabilities; solutions to “direct source” and manage contract workers; solutions for data management and analytics.

Owing to the magnitude of the crisis, Spend Matters recently made the series introduction available for free to all readers. PRO subscribers can see our follow-up pieces that profile the other categories and their solutions in that market. We will include a lot of information on each category PRO brief that readers can see without hitting a paywall, but since we also draw heavily from our existing deep-dive analysis of the providers from our SolutionMap database, some information will be available only to our PRO subscribers.

For workforce management, organizations should rely on their VMS solutions to manage the sourcing and management of temporary staffing suppliers and workers as well as SOW/services, as existing suppliers will be important sources of flexible workers (for example, to fill gaps in administrative or customer-facing jobs when regular workers must take a PTO day or just don’t show up). Perhaps organizations could use their trusted staffing suppliers as employers of record and payrollers to allow specific laid-off workers to return to work on a temporary basis. These are substantial channels of supply that should be maintained/sustained. A VMS can help with that.

Organizations should also collaborate with their VMS providers to find or optimize applications of solution capabilities unique to the crisis environment. For example, exploiting supplier management capabilities and increasing frequency of monitoring could be important, as staffing and SOW supplier capacities and performance may change quickly in a crisis environment.

Indeed, organizations that are not using a VMS today should perhaps be thinking about it, if they anticipate using more contingent workforce or having a more unpredictable contingent workforce requirements going forward. Spend Matters’ SolutionMap rankings cover enterprise solutions for Temp Staffing (and Contracted Services/SOW) and can provide an accelerated research path for zeroing in on appropriate solutions (e.g., VMS solutions that can be put in gear rapidly and so on).

In this Coronavirus Response series, the CW/S category has four types of solutions that need to be explored:

1. External platforms/networks for remote or online workforce/services (such as Upwork and many others) can be used to find and engage freelancers and small service providers across the globe who can perform activities totally online. For example, if an organization required a data analyst with R skills to analyze a large date set tomorrow. Work can be managed, accepted and paid for online. In its basic form it can be up and running in a number of minutes with a credit card.
2. External platforms/networks for geo-specific, locational workforce/services (such as Field Nation and others) can be used to deploy mobile technology-enabled field contractors on demand across wide geographies (individually or a groups). For example, if a company’s employee field technician must care for a family member and can no longer leave the house to make onsite repairs in a particular geographical area, contract field technicians can be engaged through such a platform. Workers can be sourced and work product accepted and paid for online.
3. Direct Sourcing solutions for workforce/specialized, small service providers (SSPs) such as (ShortList and others) can be used to directly engage a company’s contract workers such as consultants already in use, alumni or directly sourced fresh. For example, alumni with crucial knowledge/skills may be built up in reserve in a private talent pool, ready to activate at any time (this is something that healthcare systems are doing with retired personnel). The SaaS solution enables much of the Source-to-Invoice cycle for workers and service providers and is typically integrated with a company’s invoice/payments system. These solutions are typically subscription fee-based.
4. Data Management/Analytics solutions for workforce/services (such as Brightfield TDX and others) can be used to optimize contingent/extended workforce costs through market rate benchmarking, existing workforce configuration and market/trends analysis. If an organization will need to substitute contingent workers for a particular segment of its full-time employed workers (or simply augment them) a Data/Analytics can help to establish accurate contingent workforce rate benchmarking to ensure market prices are being paid. These solutions can be subscription or unit fee-based.

In this PRO brief, we focus on how external platforms/networks for remote or online workforce/services — which are not yet widely adopted by larger enterprises — may be leveraged to open up new pathways to needed labor/talent and services and to enable workforce flexibility and agility. All of which will be important in navigating the current crisis as its stages unfold.

This issue, like each category-specific PRO piece in this series, will be discussed in three sections:

1. Problems and Use Cases. In this section, we’ll highlight the problems in force (which will vary through different phases of the crisis) and the various scenarios where solutions can provide deeper insights, intelligence and scalable workflows.
2. Solution Rationale and Value. In this section, we’ll outline how various solutions can help solve the problems and list what value they can add to your business.
3. Example Providers. In this last section, we’ll highlight the solution providers that can address the problems and deliver some value.

OK, let's dive into workforce solutions that can help.

Through April 2020, a special PRO Expert Survival Pack is available to procurement practitioners only* at up to 50% off — Learn more

Spring/Q1 2020 SolutionMap release note: Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) Enterprise Technology Solutions — Temp Staffing, Contract Services/Statement of Work (SOW), Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services

The Spring/Q1 2020 SolutionMap release marks the seventh research cycle for Spend Matters’ Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) “enterprise technology” SolutionMap, the sourcing and management of three underlying spend categories: Temp Staffing, Contract Services/Statement of Work and Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services (formerly Independent Contract Workers, or ICW).

This release note updates SolutionMap Insider subscribers on the changes since the last release. Also, SolutionMap is shifting from quarterly updates to spring and fall updates. This is the last quarterly release and the first spring release, so you’ll see it labeled “Spring/Q1.”

Changes to Spring/Q1 2020 Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) SolutionMap

New Provider
One new provider joined SolutionMap:

* Workforce Logiq — participating in the Temp Staffing category

New Persona
The Turn-Key persona has been added to the Temp Staffing SolutionMap because, as the persona definition states, some TCO-oriented, 80/20 rule businesses favor “a combination of software capability and supporting services to contractually deliver results and a defensible ROI; pre-loaded capabilities, content, and know-how” over a powerful technology tool that may also be complex relative to their needs. Read more about the Turn-Key persona here.

Full List of Providers in Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S)

The full list of providers includes:

* Beeline
* Coupa
* Elevated Resources
* Field Nation
* Shiftgig
* Shortlist
* SirionLabs
* TalentNet
* Talmix
* TalonFMS
* Upwork Enterprise
* VectorVMS
* Workforce Logiq — NEW
* WorkMarket (ADP)

Get a first look at the Spring/Q1 2020 SolutionMap comparative quadrant graphics here.

(Insider members: Access the latest Provider Scoring Summary reports right here.)

SolutionMap update for Spring/Q1 2020 ranks 69 procurement technology vendors and adds AP Automation category

Spend Matters today has updated its free SolutionMap benchmark rankings for the new Spring/Q1 2020 release. The latest SolutionMap compares 69 procurement technology providers across 13 categories — which includes a new ranking map for Accounts Payable (AP) Automation vendors.

Six providers are featured in the first AP Automation category, which reflects the growing importance that vendors are placing on payments.

SolutionMap began in 2017 and has become the definitive procurement technology benchmark. It will now be updated in the spring and fall instead of each quarter.

Click on the headline above to find out which vendors are in the new AP Automation category — and to learn about new vendors to SolutionMap.

SAP Ariba Live online: Integrated, Intelligent ‘Services Procurement’


First, I wanted to congratulate SAP and its Intelligent Spend team for making Wednesday’s online event happen so soon after its coronavirus-driven decision to cancel its annual event in Las Vegas. Kudos, too, for the professional and informative presentations and very usable infrastructure, which included immediately available recordings.

Now for my conference report: I spent a good part of the morning “attending” virtual sessions (with my services procurement filters turned on, of course). I had expected to hear a more specific update on the SAP Fieldglass solution suite. However, solution migration and integration seemed to be the main themes of the day, as the SAP Intelligent Spend movement continues its process of integrating solutions, like SAP Ariba and SAP Fieldglass, onto a single cloud platform, through CIG (Cloud Integration Gateway) on top of HANA (an application appliance in-memory database).

Revisiting ‘SOW Lite’ (Part 2) — Changes in enterprise adoption, solutions, the law since 2017

In Part 1 of this series, we revisited the problems that SOW management technology faced in 2017. Today, it’s time to catch up on the current state of SOW Lite, a conceptual model that we defined this way:

“While we use the term SOW Lite, we are not simply referring to contracting. Contracting is a kind of linchpin in a whole lifecycle process that is analogous to that of large-scale SOW management. As such, we are really talking about a lifecycle process — call it SOW Lite management — which runs from sourcing, through contracting, onboarding, project management, and all the way to invoicing and payment. Moreover, this process, and the technology that supports it, must be fit-for-purpose.”

Here we are in early 2020. So, what has changed?

Revisiting ‘SOW Lite’ — What’s changed in two years? (Part 1)

Back in the fall of 2017, we made the case for “SOW Lite” when we wrote about “a mismatch between what is required for contracting projects with freelancers, independent professionals and small service providers, on the one hand, and the current SOW framework for larger scale projects provided by larger, incorporated service providers, on the other hand.”

We also implored procurement “to take the bull by the horns and give business users some new tools to do what they need to do to tap into these resources — and at the same time meet many of the goals of procurement.”

Since then, direct sourcing and multi-channel sourcing have been emerging as mainstream models and practices. And laws and technology solutions have been evolving. In this two-part brief, we revisit the topic to see how it has developed.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insider’s Hot List: January 2020 [Plus+]

Welcome to the January 2020 edition of Spend Matters Insider’s Hot List, a monthly look at the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space that’s available to our 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. Let’s catch up on developments in December as we head into a new year. Seasonally not an active month, December was punctuated by a few key investments in CW/S solution innovators and a number of developments, which indicates that innovation continues to gather steam in the CW/S space.

Transforming from Contract Management to Commercial Value Management (Part 1): Setting the Table for Digital Transformation (especially for procurement) [PRO]

Are you looking to find that perfect business area for digital transformation this holiday season?

Well, look no further than contract management.

We know what you’re thinking: Improve the efficiency of processing legal documents? That doesn’t sound very festive, or even high impact! However, contract lifecycle management (CLM) itself is being transformed toward a more strategic and business-focused commercial approach that puts revamped contract information (which itself is being transformed to contract intelligence/knowledge through AI) at the commercial core of nearly all business processes. And yes, blockchain is obviously very relevant here too, but that’s a story for another day.

At Spend Matters, we use the term “commercial value management (CVM)” to denote this type of “CLM on steroids.” The word “contracts” (legal documents) is purposefully replaced with the term “commercial” (commerce / business) and “lifecycle” (of the contract) is replaced with “value” to denote the maximization and protection of monetary value embedded within all process lifecycles (e.g., source-to-pay, order-to-cash/configure-price-quote, plan-to-report, forecast-to-fulfill).

So, this area has a little something for all departments across a business to see and manage: spend (procurement), financial assets/liabilities (finance), legal obligations (legal department), service/asset management (IT), revenues (sales/marketing/CEO), risk/compliance (GRC), service-levels (supply chain/ops), vendors/suppliers (procurement, VMOs, etc.), SOW-based services (including contingent workforce), and all-of-the-above (global business services).

Most importantly, it’s an area that you can actually start small and increasingly collaborate cross functionally and generate hard-dollar financial value (although there’s still plenty of organizational land mines here). It’s also an area where artificial intelligence is being developed and implemented aggressively because of the money that is at stake and because of how broken the current processes and systems are.

In this Spend Matters PRO analysis, we will discuss:

* Priorities of more than 450 CPOs where CLM/CVM has direct relevance
* Why CLM/CVM is a critical competency for procurement professionals to master within source-to-pay (S2P) for planning your work strategically, doing better deals, eliminating value leakage, managing suppliers, etc. It also works hand-in-glove with sourcing, category management, and supplier management (relationship management, performance management, risk management, and information management)!
* Why CLM/CVM is also a critical influence tool to better engage stakeholders who are both spend owners and functional partners with a vested interest here. In later posts, we will share some stakeholder/category specific playbooks that you can use.

In subsequent Spend Matters PRO articles, we also will provide a detailed capability maturity model (and supporting digital capabilities/functionality of leading solutions) that practitioners can use to help plan their capability development, and, yes, their digital transformation.

OK, let’s dive in …

Q4 2019 SolutionMap Release Notes: Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) Enterprise Technology Solutions — Temp Staffing, Contract Services/Statement of Work (SOW), Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services

Q4 2019 marks the sixth research cycle for Spend Matters’ Contingent Workforce & Services (CW/S) “enterprise technology” SolutionMap, the sourcing and management of three underlying spend categories: Temp Staffing, Contract Services/Statement of Work and Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services (formerly Independent Contract Workers, or ICW).

Beginning in Q3 2019, Spend Matters changed the name of the Independent Contract Workers (ICW) category to Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services, primarily to express the proper scope of the category’s coverage of those solution providers that enterprises use to source and manage both workers and small services firms in a relatively direct manner. (At the very least, a traditional supplier’s role is more limited and the technology solution enables more direct sourcing and talent management by an end-client.)

The full list of providers in the Q4 2019 CW/S SolutionMap includes:

— Beeline
— Coupa
— Elevated Resources
— Field Nation
— Shiftgig
— Shortlist
— SirionLabs
— TalentNet
— Talmix
— TalonFMS
— Upwork Enterprise
— VectorVMS
— Vndly
— WorkMarket (ADP)

As noted further below, a vendor may participate in a SolutionMap category but may not necessarily appear on the SolutionMap comparative quadrant graphics (get a first look here).

Given Spend Matters’ procurement orientation, we evaluate “enterprise technology” vendors within a source-to-pay (S2P) reference model. In other words, we look at vendors in terms of their capabilities that address some or all enterprise requirements that arise within an S2P lifecycle (i.e., from supplier sourcing to worker or supplier payment).

We have gathered extensive business profile information, have more than 100 active customer survey references and have assigned scores to specific solution capabilities (RFI line items) ranging from well over 100 to about 300, depending upon how many SolutionMap categories a particular vendor participated in.

Q&A: Keith Hausmann on joining Globality: ‘This is what I’d been looking for’

Globality, an artificial intelligence-powered platform that facilitates the efficient and effective buying and selling of enterprise services, hired a new chief revenue officer this fall, and we caught up with Keith Hausmann about his role as the new leader of business development and sales for the rapidly growing company.

Hausmann started as the CRO in September after years at Accenture, where he led supply chain and procurement business process optimization and built a technology ecosystem network.

In his new role at Globality, his focus is on leveraging AI to help clients with the sourcing of high-value B2B services, including marketing, consulting, technology, legal and more, to create a new ecosystem for global trade.

"This is what I'd been looking for,” Hausmann said of Globality’s mission.

What is a VMS today? Spend Matters’ SolutionMap helps define it 

work intermediation platform

Vendor management system (VMS) solutions have been synonymous with contingent workforce technology for the past two decades, but the functions associated with it have been evolving.

It began as a fit-for-purpose software application for managing temporary staffing suppliers and temporary workers, but over the past 10 years, most of these solutions have added functionality or modules to manage contract services/SOW suppliers and service delivery engagements. In the past five years, some providers of these solutions have grappled with the VMS term and concept. Today, most providers of these types of solutions still refer to themselves as VMS solutions, although their solution footprints vary.

When Spend Matters introduced its first SolutionMap for Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) enterprise technology in Q2 2018, it decided to forgo the use of the term VMS in favor of developing separate SolutionMap rankings for distinct technology solutions that addressed three extended workforce categories: (1) Temp Staffing, (2) Contract Services/SOW and (3) Direct Sourcing of Workforce/Services (formerly named “Independent Contract Workers”). This was done in part to sidestep the growing variability of the meaning of the term VMS. But more importantly, it was done based on the belief that the three categories provided a more accurate way to analyze and compare solution capabilities (to be discussed further below).

This SolutionMap Insider brief examines the current status of VMS and how Spend Matters draws a tentative line around what constitutes a VMS solution today. It also provides a high-level view of the “VMS” capabilities and an anonymized analysis of corresponding SolutionMap scores. Lastly, it concludes with questions posed to practitioners and providers about the validity of the definition and concept of VMS presented in this brief.

Brightfield (TDX) Raises a Whopper of a Round: Analysis + Implications for Contingent Workforce/Services Technology [PRO]

Earlier today, Spend Matters reported that a $53 million Series A funding round was raised by Brightfield (TDX), formerly a consulting firm that became a provider of AI-derived market intelligence for the contingent workforce/services community. Spend Matters believes the size of the round — very large for a series A — is indicative of a number of factors beyond the fact that Brightfield (TDX) is a more mature organization in terms of product, customers and revenue than most companies going up for an earlier stage funding round.

Indeed, Brightfield “2.0’s” rapid data-driven success after its pivot — and the comparatively gargantuan investor vote of confidence at the Series A level — represent several converging trends. We will explore these in this Spend Matters Nexus research brief, which also provides overall analysis and key takeaways for services procurement providers, investors and practitioners. Our analysis begins with a company and solution overview of Brightfield and its TDX platform, Talent Data Exchange.

Jason Busch serves as Managing Director of Spend Matters Nexus, a membership, research and advisory organization serving technology acquirers (private equity, corporate development, etc.) and CEOs in the procurement and finance solutions marketplace (including contract management, B2B marketplaces/connectivity, indirect procurement, services procurement, direct procurement, commodity management, payment, trade financing, GRC/third-party management and related adjacent sectors).