PRO or Plus Content

Staffing suppliers respond to COVID-19 — What does Bullhorn’s survey data tell us? [PRO]

The vast majority of spend on contingent workers goes through staffing suppliers. More procurement control and VMS have exerted continuous pressure on supply bases to perform with greater efficiency, driving suppliers to use more technology for a wide variety of purposes. COVID-19 has brought a shock to an industry that may cause staffing businesses to rethink how they operate at a more fundamental level.

Bullhorn, the leading software solution provider to staffing firms, recently published the results of a survey that took the temperature of some 800 staffing company respondents globally. Bullhorn’s recent survey posed a number of questions to firms in May of this year about how they were adapting to the COVID-19-induced demand shock that came months prior.

This Spend Matters PRO article looks at the Bullhorn survey data and adds context, as well as providing our perspective on the temp-staffing supplier industry segment looking forward into 2021.

Pactum: Vendor Analysis —  Solution Overview for Long-Tail Negotiation, Roadmap, Customer Feedback, Pactum Competitors, Analyst Insights [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an overview of Pactum and its solution for long-tail negotiations.

It takes two to negotiate, yet more often than not negotiations are one-sided. Depending on the scenario, one party usually has a stronger position than the other.

But asserting power over another party for a preferred outcome isn’t the point of a negotiation — at least, not in negotiation theory, anyway. If you ask an academic, there’s actually a range of outcomes that maximize value for both parties, and a truly successful negotiation is one that reaches the sweet spot, the Pareto optimal. Simply put, win-win deals are usually the best outcome, rather than, say, a steep price cut that later contributes to supplier insolvency.

Delivering these optimized, win-win deals is how Pactum, a one-year-old vendor out of Mountain View, California, approaches negotiation.

But outcome optimization is only one part of Pactum’s value prop. The other is that it has developed an AI system that can negotiate with a human supply-side rep to deliver savings and execute a contract. And it can do this for tens of thousands of vendors without any procurement involvement.

This Vendor Analysis also explores the concept behind Pactum; the platform, application and supporting services the vendor delivers; a verified customer reference analysis; and a competitive market analysis, complete with key analyst takeaways.

Fraxion: Vendor Analysis — Background, Overview of P2P Solution, Strengths/Weaknesses, Tech Selection Tips [PRO]

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis offers a candid take on the spend management provider Fraxion and its capabilities in procure-to-pay (P2P).

The coronavirus crisis has small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) scrambling for digital solutions, so the providers have to step up their game to stay competitive. The solution providers will have to invest in their capabilities and offer a solution that generates the expected value.

This review includes a look at Fraxion’s solution set, a perspective on what is comparatively good and not so good about the solution, and a selection requirements checklist for organizations that might consider Fraxion.

Catalant: Vendor Analysis, 2020 — Solution Overview, SWOT, Tech Selection Tips [PRO]

big data

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis offers a candid take on Catalant and its capabilities. Catalant provides enterprises with digital platform-based solutions that enable enterprises to conduct strategic initiatives and projects with high-caliber expert business talent. This brief includes an overview of Catalant and its solution offerings, a summary solution evaluation, a SWOT analysis and a selection checklist for companies that might consider the provider.

Beyond Spend Influence: Enabling Procurement’s Emerging Roles in Business Transformation (Part 4) — Supply Chain / Direct Procurement (Introduction) [PRO]

In the previous installment of this Spend Matters PRO series, we dove into procurement improving its influence into indirect spending and how it can improve how the business gets more value from its spend and its “spend management” process (e.g., dovetailing into the business planning process). In this installment, we’ll turn our attention to supply management and direct procurement influence.

You might think direct procurement shouldn’t have any misalignment with the broader supply chain, given that direct procurement is itself part of the supply chain. However, supply management is not always in sync with supply chain management.

Organizations that get it right through better procurement and supply chain alignment enjoy higher supply performance. We conducted some research on this topic a few years ago and showed the difference in supply performance between firms with this top quartile influence/alignment capability below:

Figure 1: Organizations that have top quartile direct procurement influence on supply chain management outperform their peers on numerous supply performance criteria

We’ll highlight some of these top capabilities and some of the strategies and supporting digital solutions that can help enable them.

Part 1 of this series laid out the need for leadership in procurement to help bring about transformational change — and how to work with stakeholders. In Part 2, we discussed how progressive procurement organizations were improving their influence through coherent communication and alignment of procurement “services” to various stakeholders.

This installment also has details about direct procurement vs. supply chain procurement, and we discuss some solution providers that can help.

MBO Partners acquires open innovation crowd platform MindSumo — Context, Deal Rationale, Analysis [PRO]

MBO Partners’ acquisition of MindSumo last week may have raised some eyebrows — or at least caused some puzzlement — in the relatively slow-moving contingent workforce industry. But while the oft-declared statement, “the world of work is changing,” is now a bit of truism, MBO’s acquisition and platform strategy now puts the company squarely in the middle of some of those long-term changes.

In this Spend Matters PRO brief, we describe MBO Partners and MindSumo as solution providers, frame the broader business context of the acquisition and discuss MBO’s strategic acquisition perspective (informed by a recent conversation with MBO’s CEO, Miles Everson). We also provide our own perspective on the significance of MBO’s move.

Graphite Systems: Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — Detailed Overview of the graphiteConnect Solution [PRO]

Part 3 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis focuses on Graphite Systems’ offering and gives a detailed overview of the graphiteConnect solution.

The focus of its solution, graphiteConnect, has mainly been on SIM, but it has also expanded into SRM and supplier risk management.

In Part 1, we discussed the company background and graphiteConnect’s strengths and weaknesses. In Part 2, we provided a company SWOT analysis and looked at the graphiteConnect competitors.

Now, let’s dive into a detailed overview of the graphiteConnect solution.

Graphite Systems: Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — SWOT and Competitors for its graphiteConnect solution [PRO]


For Part 2 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis series, we will look at graphiteConnect's competitors in the supplier management solution market and we'll offer a SWOT analysis on the vendor, Graphite Systems.

The supplier management solution market is red hot, and there are new solutions popping up left, right and center. However, the market is fragmented, and most vendors have their unique take on what supplier management means.

Spend Matters has defined five core building blocks of supplier management — Supplier Information Management (SIM), Supplier Performance Management (SPM), Supplier Relationship Management (SRM), Supplier Risk Management, and Supplier Quality Management (SQM) — to give a framework on how to classify and compare vendors in this space.

Graphite Systems is a new vendor in this space that we introduced in Part 1. The focus of its solution, graphiteConnect, has mainly been on SIM, but it has also expanded into SRM and supplier risk management.

Let's take a look at graphiteConnect's competitors and the company's SWOT.

Graphite Systems: Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Background of Company & graphiteConnect Solution, Strengths/Weaknesses, Tech Selection Tips  [PRO]

The first part of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis looks at Graphite Systems’ background, offers an overview of its graphiteConnect solution and details graphiteConnect’s strengths and weaknesses. But Graphite Systems is part of a larger story.

Networks are nothing new in the procurement technology space. But the focus of most networks has so far been primarily on transactions — connecting trading partners in a many-to-many network to facilitate exchange of purchase orders and invoices. Now, most of these networks have expanded some, and many also include some supplier information, but that has typically been limited to the most basic information needed to support the transaction.

This is now changing with Graphite System’s entrance into the marketplace.

It is arguably the first supplier management vendor that is building its solution, graphiteConnect, on a network model where suppliers enter and maintain their information once and can share it with any and all buyers in the network.

Part 2 of this series will offer a company SWOT analysis and a look at Graphite System’s competitors. In Part 3, we will provide a detailed solution overview.

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.

TransferMate — Solution overview of cross-border payments capabilities [PRO]

Supplier compliance

This Spend Matters PRO brief looks at the TransferMate solution and how the payments provider handles cross-border transactions.

More and more, companies are engaged on a cross-border basis as marketplace sellers — to pay freelancers, to handle global SaaS subscriptions or just to make payments not only to vendors but in support of contractors, one-off buys, landlords, etc.

But increasingly smaller and mid-size businesses — say those under $50 million — need the payments and currency management features of a global treasury system without all the other sophisticated bells and whistles. Today, the SWIFT messaging standard and the correspondent banking network is how the vast majority of cross-border payments move. Yet sending and receiving cross-border payments through banks can be a costly proposition for businesses. The old legacy model works, but it is antiquated and inefficient in terms of fees, foreign exchange markups and lack of transparency.

Over the last several years, the market has become increasingly competitive with vendors attempting to disrupt the status quo. Vendors combining cross-border payments and currency management can be thought of as global treasury networks offered as-a-service to small and mid-sized businesses. Core offerings include:

  • open multi-currency virtual bank accounts without the hassles of physical bank accounts
  • invoice and receive global payments from buyers anywhere
  • pay global suppliers in local currency (reducing their conversion costs and making it easier to do business)
  • turn cross-border payments into domestic ones, thereby reducing costs

Additional services could also be offered around working capital (lending), digital wallets, cards attached to the borderless account and VAT services.

TransferMate is one such vendor that enables businesses to send and receive payments in local currency with a few simple steps. They are regulated in 162 countries, with a money movement license in 51 U.S. states, as well as a technology interface that can eliminate problems of SWIFT reconcilement in addition to fee advantage and speed. Their aim is to simplify domestic and international payments for small and medium-size businesses.

Coronavirus impacts the world of work (Part 3): Acting in an uncertain economic recovery [PRO]

home working

While COVID-19 has disrupted the U.S. economy in ways which were practically inconceivable a year ago, it has also overturned long-standing, fundamental assumptions of how businesses must operate. Organizations, for example, are finding that they can operate with a larger remote workforce, they can flex their now-significant contingent workforces, and they have access to technology that can make business transformation possible. This should also be a time for procurers of contingent workforce and services (CW/S) to re-evaluate and reset their assumptions. Right?

This is the third part of the “Coronavirus impacts the world of work” series focusing on contingent workforce/services management in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. Each part of the series aligns to one of the four stages of the crisis that we mapped out in the spring:

Part 3 of this series now addresses what we called the recovery/upswing stage, looking at what it means, assessing the current environment and trends, and presenting considerations for organizations and CW/S practitioners.