Talent Management Content

Afternoon Coffee: Catalant raises $35 million; Amazon, DHL, 9 others join electric vehicle alliance; president to sign USMCA

Catalant Technologies, which enables organizations to leverage external talent and services in an agile way, announced its closing of a $35 million Series E equity round. In other news, an electric vehicle alliance gets the attention of some heavyweight companies like Amazon, DHL, Ikea North America and eight others. And the USMCA trade deal that replaces NAFTA will be signed into law Wednesday in Washington. Afternoon Coffee: A Friday jolt of procurement and supply chain news. Have a good weekend!

2020 Predicaments in Services Procurement — No Light at the End of the Tunnel

(Editor’s note: Spend Matters’ analysts are taking on the new year by looking at their areas of procurement technology to see what’s broken and what can and should be fixed this year. Here, analyst Andrew Karpie lays out problems in services procurement. In another piece also published today for our PRO subscribers, he lays out his predictions for 2020.)

In some industry verticals, services is the largest and most poorly managed non-payroll spend category. But the buying and consuming of services is nearly always poorly managed and controlled within enterprises — leading to potentially billions of dollars of unnecessary spend and opportunity costs (lost value). A problem of such enormous scale and complexity is not going to be addressed overnight.

Various estimates suggest that, in the U.S., spend on temporary staffing services represents an average of only about 33% of total services spend across all enterprises (though that percentage can vary widely, depending upon the type of business/industry). But outside of spend on temporary staffing services, most enterprises have had, at best, fragmented and limited visibility into their non-staffing contingent workers and their complex services spend — to say nothing of control over the whole services source-to-pay lifecycle.

Part of the problem is organizational, as procurement and HR often view the contingent workforce segment of services spend very differently in terms of priorities and the strategies (and service/solution providers) used to manage it. Technology solution fragmentation is also a major problem. The inadequacy, fragmentation or absence of complete, fit-for-purpose technology solutions for managing the broad range of different services spend types represent one set of obstacles to making major gains in management of services spend in the short run. This set of obstacles is tied to the non-technological barriers of legacy enterprise architecture (i.e., silos, etc.), run-of-the mill organizational inertia and the difficulty of changing, even as the services world evolves.

As we head into 2020, thinking about the future of services procurement, what should we know about the technological obstacles and non-technological barriers to significant progress on addressing what must be overcome?

2020 Predictions for Services Procurement: Scenarios and Black Swans [PRO]

As discussed in “2020 Problems in Services Procurement — No Light at the End of the Tunnel,” services constitutes the largest and perhaps most poorly managed non-payroll spend category. It covers an expansive set of sub-categories, from temporary staffing to other forms of directly sourced contingent workforce to a multitude of contracted B2B services (consulting, MRO, travel, IT management, legal, marketing).

“Human performance,” usually connected with the use of tools and resources/assets, has traditionally been the basis for the production and delivery of services. But services also have been becoming more digitized, both in terms of production and delivery. And there are now pure digital services, the production and delivery of which involve little or no human performance. Many are familiar with IBM Watson, but for nearly every form of human-based service, there is some type of digital/augmented solution that exists or is being worked on by an upstart firm. Look no further than the legal services industry, transportation or BPO industry and the impact that AI is having on those services.

There is no hiding the fact that gaining control over services represents a massive, complex undertaking — without exaggeration, a new frontier — for procurement. And obstacles and barriers to making significant, rapid progress abound, including inadequate (incomplete, fragmented) technology solutions and legacy enterprise architecture as well as organizational inertia. Still, there is hope — and there is innovation afoot.

This outlook and backdrop strongly conditions our view on what is likely to happen in 2020. Most of us would probably place our bets on a continuation of recent trends in the space (see “Incremental Scenarios” below). But we cannot rule out unexpected events/developments over the course of the year, either (see “Disruptive Scenarios” below).

PeopleTicker: Vendor Introduction, Analysis and SWOT [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on PeopleTicker and its capabilities — features that help companies establish market-based salary/pay-rate and contingent labor rate benchmarks and gain related insights into the market and their own business patterns. The brief includes an overview of PeopleTicker and its solution offerings, a summary solution evaluation, a SWOT analysis and a selection checklist for companies that might consider the provider.

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.

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A Holiday Gift Your Team Will (Actually) Appreciate

This time of year, giving presents to your team members and colleagues can be awkward no matter how well you know them. Look beyond the restaurant gift cards, trending gadgets and dried-out fruitcakes to a gift that will deliver an actual return on investment — an industry-recognized certification. By coming together in a virtual classroom, you’ll avoid those awkward, gift-giving faux pas and delight your team with an investment in their professional development to sharpen their skills, boost performance and credibility with both stakeholders and management, and contribute to the overall success of the organization.

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’


“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.

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 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.