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The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insiders’ Hot List: May 2021 [PRO]

Welcome to the May 2021 edition of the Spend Matters Insiders’ Hot List, a monthly look at the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space. For those new to this Spend Matters PRO column, each edition covers the month’s important or interesting technology and innovation developments in the CW/S space.

I wrote the first Hot List in February 2018 and have done one every month since that time. It has always been interesting and enjoyable to share my monthly discoveries with readers. But because I am departing from Spend Matters to pursue other types of roles in the human capital/contingent workforce space, this is my last Hot List. But now and then, you may see other posts by me on the Spend Matters website as we part industry colleagues and good friends.

Our Hot List for April 2021 covered a range of developments, including the sale of iWorkGlobal and the acquisition of Business Talent Group by Heidrick & Struggles; the persistent growth of alternative legal service providers; and the continued development and funding of online platforms, block chain and neobanks.

In May, new events and developments (and investments!) in the CW/S space have continued at a steady pace, demonstrating a dynamic and innovative industry ecosystem. And remember, it is important to look at both the forest and trees to get the full picture.

Let’s see what was going on in May 2021.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insiders’ Hot List: April 2021 [PRO]

Welcome to the April 2021 edition of Spend Matters Insiders’ Hot List, a monthly look at the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space.

As the battle against COVID-19 across the world continues, labor markets have been recovering and the CW/S intermediation industry has continued to evolve steadily as well.

Let’s look at what was going on in April 2021.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insiders’ Hot List: March 2021 [PRO]

Welcome to the March 2021 edition of Spend Matters Insiders’ Hot List, a monthly look at the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space. For those new to this Spend Matters PRO column, each edition covers the month’s important or interesting technology and innovation developments in the CW/S space.

Our last Hot List for February 2021 covered a range of developments, including the Beeline and Brightfield guided-buying collaboration, Globality’s integration with SAP Fieldglass, WillHire’s industrial staffing solution, and much more.

March has shown that CW/S technology and innovation are blooming, and the overall landscape is being gradually altered. From inside formal contingent workforce programs, this may not be visible. Therefore, it’s good to step outside every once in a while, take in the scenery and smell the roses.

So let’s see what was going on in March 2021.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insiders’ Hot List: February 2021 [PRO]

Welcome to the February 2021 edition of Spend Matters Insiders’ Hot List, a monthly look at the contingent workforce and services (CW/S) space. For those new to this Spend Matters PRO column, each edition covers the month’s important or interesting technology and innovation developments in the CW/S space.

In February, coronavirus infections in the US dropped significantly, people are getting vaccinated, but we’d all like to see production, distribution and points of service working like a well-oiled supply chain.

Heading into 2021, the CW/S industry continues to advance with technology being a significant impetus. In fact, it seems that pandemic conditions have been a boon to many CW/S technology solution providers. One news items explores if LinkedIn will go head-to-head with Fiverr and Upwork

Also, as the economic recovery hopefully continues to accelerate, businesses will be figuring out how to manage their total employee and non-employee workforces and the mix of third-party services. And that will impact how technology will be used and what will be required of solution providers.

So let’s see what else was going on this month.

Complex services are complicated — What’s procurement to do? (Part 2) Vendors and first steps [PRO]

complex services

Part 1 of this two-part Spend Matters PRO series provided a simple definition of complex services: essentially, all of those services procurement categories that are outside of contingent workforce/temp staffing (i.e., those which do not have well-established process and technology models that are basically the same across industries and organizations). Part 1 also discussed potential misconceptions about these services and the potential for sourcing and managing them within a source-to-pay (S2P) framework.

The manifold, varying and time-dependent characteristics (i.e., the "complexity") of services can make the systematic procurement of different services more or less complicated and challenging — but not insusceptible to organization and management. After all, humans routinely master complex challenges (e.g., making heart valve replacements routine, etc.) with analysis, engineering and technology. By extension, the most “complex” services can be managed consistently, even if the underlying basis of systematic management is actually highly complicated.

That said, the sourcing and management of services as a procurement discipline is in its infancy. And so is the technology.

Part 2 will further discuss how organizations could approach procurement of these services realistically, based on the potential benefits of tackling certain services categories with effective processes and technology solutions. Part 2 also will examine the state of complex services technology vendors/solutions at this time.

Note: Spend Matters and SIG have launched a buy-side survey to learn more about how organizations use technology today to source and manage complex services; buy-side practitioners can take the survey here and obtain the study findings when complete.

Complex services are complicated — What’s procurement to do? (Part 1) [PRO]

Spend on services by US-based organizations is estimated to be over $10 trillion. Contingent workforce (the engagement of temp workers and individual contractors) represents only a small fraction of total services spend. External spend in the other complex services categories (e.g., marketing, facilities management, IT, BPO, etc.) is vast, and it is complicated.

Numerous problems adhere to the (perhaps unrealistic) aspiration to holistically source and manage complex services across an enterprise. But even if that aspiration is set aside, effective sourcing and management of complex services categories remains complicated and challenging, and it can appear daunting to procurement professionals. At the same time, many of these professionals are aware of their organizations’ shortcomings in process and technology and the missed opportunities to achieve savings and other benefits.

But is the road to sourcing and managing complex services just a dead end and not worth traveling?

We don’t think so, if the matter is approached realistically. Rather than embarking on an unplanned trip around the world in an old car, taking some limited well-planned excursions with just the right vehicle may be the way to go.

For this reason, Spend Matters is pursuing research into the opaque world of sourcing and managing complex services with technology (beyond the now highly visible contingent workforce category). Shedding light on how complex services are or can/could be sourced and managed with existing and new technology will be a stepwise process, but the research should help practitioners to achieve greenfield cost savings and performance improvement in various services categories.

As a first major step in this direction, we have launched a buy-side survey of how technology is used to source and manage complex services; buy-side practitioners can take the survey here and obtain survey results down the line.

In this PRO analysis, we look at procurement’s challenge in improving management of complex services at a high level. In Part 1, we provide an overview of complex services categories, what makes them different and what process framework applies. In Part 2, we will review the state of supporting technology solutions and suggest different ways to frame and overcome shortcomings and challenges.

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insiders’ Hot List: January 2021 [PRO]

Welcome to the January 2021 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 month’s important or interesting CW/S technology and innovation developments.

Our last publication was a Special Edition — Hot List, published at the end of December 2020. It covered developments that occurred in December; it also provided an overview of all Hot List coverage over the course of 2020. The December 2020 developments included PRO Unlimited’s launch of RatePoint; Globality’s new SAP Ariba connector extensions; Turing.com’s $32 million Series B Round; Facebook’s possible entry into the contingent workforce space; the launch of gig worker neobank Unit Financial and its $18.6 million funding round; and more.

Turning to January, welcome to 2021. We’ve started the year in the midst of a surge in Covid-19 infections, the beginning of vaccinations, an attack on the US Capitol and the inauguration of a new US president. With lots of gears changing in the US and across the world, the CW/S space seemed to continue its moderate pace of new developments driven by or related to technology. How the industry will respond to these and new changes over the course of 2021 remains to be seen. So for now, let’s focus on what was happening in the first month of the year.

Contingent Workforce/Services Technology: Considerations for 2021 and Beyond COVID-19 (Part 2) [PRO]

services technology 2021

In Part 2 of this Spend Matters PRO series, we continue our examination of key trends in five main contingent workforce/services technology solution categories for 2021. And we discuss how organizations and executives — shaken awake by months of pandemic pressures and economic disruptions in 2020 — may be taking a fresh look at CW/S technology and recalibrating their perspectives on how it may work for them.

Part 1 of this two-part series covered the first three solution categories, and Part 2 examines categories 4 and 5. It also provides an analyst wrap-up, with views of what may be the most important areas and trends to pay attention to in 2021.

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

services

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.