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Contingent Workforce/Services Technology: Considerations for 2021 and Beyond COVID-19 (Part 1) [PRO]


We are entering a new year full of uncertainty driven by the coronavirus pandemic. Over the course of 2021, the coronavirus vaccine may gradually lift most COVID-19 restrictions across the economy. But organizations will continue to be redesigning and reconfiguring themselves through and beyond 2021.

With respect to Contingent/Workforce and Services (CW/S) in 2021, major questions loom:

  • What have organizations learned from forced adaptation to COVID-driven uncertainty, disruptions and constraints?
  • What longer-term changes will organizations take forward as they eventually emerge in a post-COVID world?
  • How will this impact their technology decisions and deployments?

To provide some CW/S technology context for decision-makers, this PRO analysis will — using a broad brush — examine trends in five main contingent workforce/services technology solution categories and suggest what to expect in 2021. Additional readings are also suggested for each of the categories.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insiders’ Hot List: December 2020 ‘Special Edition’ [PRO]

Spend Matters has been publishing the monthly CW/S Insiders Hot List — our monthly look at new technology and innovation in the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space — since the start of 2018. Today we are publishing this “Special Edition” to mark a change in our publishing schedule and look back at the key trends and themes that emerged over the course of this year.

For nearly three years, we have published the Hot List at the beginning of every month and covering developments of the previous month. As such, the November Hot List would cover the developments that transpired in October. To align titles and converge periods, starting next month, the January Hot List will be published at the end of January and will cover the developments that took place in January. We will maintain that convention going forward.

In this December 2020 Special Edition, we will also be looking at and discussing some of the key trends that the Hot List covered over the months of 2020. But before turning to that discussion, we will provide a summary round-up of notable events/developments in December.

The Direct Sourcing of Workers/Services (DSW/S) Solution Market Landscape [PRO]

direct sourcing contingent workforce

Spend Matters Contingent Workforce/Services SolutionMaps are made up of three maps covering the main enterprise software solutions used by organizations to manage contingent workforce and services (CW/S) procurement.

These three maps represent purpose-built solutions for:

  • Temporary Staffing (solutions known originally as VMS (vendor management system) has been the key enterprise technology for over 25 years)
  • Contracted Services/SOW (solutions — whether suite modules or stand-alone — designed to variously enable the management of corp-to-corp, third party services)
  • Direct Sourcing of Workers/Services (DSW/S) (solutions designed to enable enterprises to directly source and manage independent workers and small service providers or SSPs)

This Spend Matters PRO market landscape report covers the Direct Sourcing of Workers/Services (DSW/S).

Digital B2B platforms for work/services: Are we at a COVID-19 inflection point? [PRO]

COVID-19 has impacted businesses in many fundamental ways. Perhaps most visibly, it has brought about what seems to be a structural shift from predominantly office-based work to significantly more remote work. Many large companies are shutting down entire offices, having made the decision to move to a much more remote workforce model.

Now there seems to be some evidence that COVID-19 has had a notable and positive impact on at least some B2B online work/services platforms that enable businesses and freelancers to engage and transact with one another online. These engagements and transactions can occur without spatial limitations (no meeting in offices necessary, access to a potentially worldwide talent pool).

Though not central in our focus, B2C platforms like Instacart, Grubhub and others have also gotten a boost from the surge in online ordering of everything from meals to consumer goods.

The growth of transactions across these platforms and a new law in California may add to the potential momentum.

This Spend Matters PRO brief examines if COVID-19 may be leading to an inflection point for the B2B work/services platform economy. It looks at developments over the past months, including those at the two publicly traded online freelancer platforms, Fiverr and Upwork. The brief concludes with our own views of where things stand today and what enterprise executives should expect and do.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insiders’ Hot List: November 2020 [PRO]

Welcome to the November 2020 edition of Spend Matters Insiders’ Hot List, a monthly look at the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space. 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.

In the last Hot List, we covered key events and developments that took place in September 2020. These included MBO’s acquisition MindSumo, Fiverr’s new subscription-based solution, Fiverr Business, a range of indicators of very active online freelancer platforms in the midst of COVID-19 and more.

Turning to October, we observed a changing of seasons as COVID-19 has become — for the time being — something of a fixture in the economic landscape. It may be cold and gloomy in the northern hemisphere, but the CW/S space has been heating up.

The industry (or parts of it) seems to have climbed a substantial way out of its April 2020 crater. The core of the industry continues to evolve (perhaps with greater haste), and the flow of new developments in the industry seems as robust as ever. One stands out: the online freelancer platform segment continues to exhibit a rational exuberance (both in terms of the platforms and the developing ecosystem that support freelancers and other contract workers).

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insiders’ Hot List: October 2020 [PRO]

Welcome to the October 2020 edition of Spend Matters Insiders’ Hot List, a monthly look at the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space. 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. Find details on platforms, Fiverr — and one site that helps source workers for evictions.

An Executive’s Guide to Direct Sourcing of Contract Work/Services (Part 3) — What To Pay Attention To [PRO]

supplier network

Direct sourcing of contract work/services is an emerging, alternative way of tapping into pools of contract workers and service providers that are not available through established sourcing channels provided by procurement. Senior executives may be hearing more about this phenomenon, or their organizations may already be embarking on an initiative. As such, a clear understanding of today’s direct sourcing of contract work/services may be needed. This three-part series is intended to help executives to get a leg up.

Part 1 of the series discussed how direct sourcing today is different from the past and what it is now. Part 2 reviewed the landscape of direct sourcing solution providers and looked at some of the purpose-built technology solutions available today. This final Part 3 offers executives suggestions on what to pay attention to if they or a part of their organization begins moving in this direction.

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

Welcome to the July 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.

In the last Hot List, we covered key events and developments that took place in May, a pivotal month in the COVID-19 crisis. Among those were the first damage-control numbers reflecting the dramatic cut earlier this year in contingent workforce jobs by organizations across the U.S.

June seemed to start with a high level of business optimism, and the Dow reached a peak of 27,572 on June 8. But by the end of the month, large parts of the country have started to reapply COVID-19 restrictions, and the economic recovery could be heading for its first major bump in what is going to be a long road.

In the CW/S space, there was a lot going on, which we’ll dig into now before heading into the Independence Day weekend.

Spend Matters previews Everest Group’s contingent workforce management (CWM) best-practices study [PRO]

supplier network

The management consultant and research firm Everest Group recently conducted a survey to get a clearer picture of how well organizations manage their contingent workforces, what practices they have adopted and to what extent.

Spend Matters assisted in the survey design, and Everest Group completed the survey and analyzed the data using its Pinnacle Model framework. The firm will soon be publishing its Pinnacle Model report, “How Best-in-Class Organizations Manage Their Contingent Workforce.”

Earlier this year, Spend Matters and Everest Group joined forces to produce three online sessions based on the findings (video recordings are available for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

In this Spend Matters PRO brief that has been unlocked for our readers, we preview a subset of the survey results. The brief begins with a short explanation of Everest Group’s data methodology. It then discusses the five areas that provide a representative picture of and key insights into the current environment. The brief concludes with some of our thoughts on where things stand today — not so much for high-performing organizations, but for low-performing ones.

Extended Workforce Tracking Solutions: Can They Fill Your Gap in Visibility, Control? (Part 3) — Analyst Perspective [PRO]


Today, we’ll take a big-picture view of the sector for extended workforce tracking solutions, and we’ll offer some tech selection considerations.

Part 1 of this three-part Spend Matters PRO series outlined the three general types of potential solutions (VMS, FMS and EWS, extended workforce systems). And Part 2 presented overviews of three providers/solutions that gave concrete examples of those types.

The examples showed that there are solutions that offer capabilities that could enable extended workforce tracking and management for an organization. They also showed that solutions vary in different ways that will impact suitability/value of a solution for a given organization (e.g., whether an organization is using a particular enterprise solution like Beeline, SAP Fieldglass, WorkMarket; the extent of requirements for a mobile solution, etc.). From the standpoint of organizations thinking about their current options, it is a complicated and evolving solution space.

Part 3 will now close the series with an analyst perspective on the current state of extended workforce solutions and suggested considerations for business executives and practitioners seeking technology solutions for the comprehensive tracking/management of their extended workforces.

Extended Workforce Tracking Solutions: Can They Fill Your Gap in Visibility, Control? (Part 2) — A Look at 3 Providers [PRO]


In Part 1 of this three-part Spend Matters PRO series, we asserted that amid the COVID-19 crisis, some organizations may be focusing their attention on and gaining visibility into their external or extended workforces (comprised of temporary staffing workers, independent contract workers and service provider workers). Considering that business practitioners might be thinking about available options for enabling technology, Part 1 also examined the landscape of solutions that could potentially enable companies to track, gain visibility into and control their entire extended workforces.

The landscape was broken down into three general types of solutions:

  • VMS (related to or based on vendor management platforms)
  • FMS (based on freelancer management systems/direct sourcing solution platforms)
  • EWS (extended workforce system designed as a platform for managing all workers)

Part 2 of the series offers summary overviews of three providers that serve to illustrate one of the three types.

Part 3 will close the series with an analyst perspective on the current state of extended workforce solutions and suggested considerations for business executives and practitioners.

Three vendors have been chosen only to highlight the issues and give concrete examples of what’s in the market. Let’s look at the providers/solutions: Beeline, ADP’s WorkMarket and Utmost.

Extended Workforce Tracking Solutions: Can They Fill Your Gap in Visibility, Control? (Part 1) — Landscape Overview [PRO]

As the economy begins to tentatively lurch forward amid the coronavirus disruption, and large and midsize organizations begin to reconstitute their workforces and supplier relationships for a new normal business environment, we may see an adjustment of focus on their flexible, non-employee workforces.

We do not know what organizations’ extended workforces (a mix of temporary staffing, service provider or independent contract workers) will look like by the end of the year (and it is something that will certainly vary by industry segment/type of business and even individual company).

But it would not be outrageous to assume that pandemic lessons learned and uncertainty (about even the short-term future) will translate into organizations that are more flexible and reliant on extended workforce as ever before (and perhaps more savvy about the deployment of their workforce, both employees and non-employees).

Organizations that are recognizing that their visibility into their extended workforce is incomplete may be wondering about how this problem can be overcome, fairly quickly and at the least cost possible. As any good procurement practitioner knows, VMS solutions have been the work horses for tracking contingent workforce in the past, but that has largely been limited to temporary workers deployed from staffing suppliers. Beeline and SAP Fieldglass provide extended workforce tracking modules that enable basic tracking of any type of non-employee worker (without the VMS functionality).

New solutions have emerged in recent years that may be able to serve the purpose of tracking and, to some extent, managing the full breadth of extended workforce (temporary staffing, service provider or independent contract workers). Some of these solutions provide VMS capabilities, while others were not conceived to do so, but they were designed to encompass all worker types (in some cases employees in addition to non-employees).

This three-part Spend Matters PRO series focuses on solutions that may enable organizations to gain visibility into their entire extended workforces. Part 1 focuses on the state of technology solutions that organizations could use to keep track of their extended workforces, breaking down three types or categories of solutions. Part 2 will provide a summary of a solution/provider from each of those three categories, and Part 3 will offer analyst insights on what organizations should be thinking about as they evaluate their options.