The Procurement Analysts’ Reel Episode 2 – An Interview with Andrew Karpie

As we explained in our post recently, we are running a series of podcasts we have named The Analysts' Reel – in them we speak to each of our analysts about their areas of expertise, their thoughts on current market trends within their procurement domains, and find out a little bit more about them generally.

We thought it was about time our readers got to know our analysts better to understand who is behind our vendor and tech research and analysis and contributes to the famous SolutionMap vendor and platform benchmark rankings. The analysts have a deep understanding of the procurement market which can help procurement practitioners and leaders with their business challenges.

Here's Andrew:

In a nutshell:

Andrew is a lead analyst at Spend Matters covering contingent workforce and services technology, innovation and industry developments and trends.

How did Andrew become involved in the industry?

In his own words, Andrew started out “quite a long time ago” as a quantitative economic modeler after completing his graduate degree. He has spent 30 years in a range of different roles in the software and services industry, including 20 years in product management and strategy executive roles. 10 years ago he decided to return to his analyst roots, joining Staffing Industry Analysts, where he worked as an analyst and an independent consultant in the space to cover technology and focused research onto online platforms.  After meeting Spend Matters’ founder Jason Busch, he said he was very impressed by what Spend Matters was doing and where it was heading and wanted to join the team. The rest is history!

What specific areas does Andrew cover, and what industry topics interest him?

Focusing on the evolving contingent workforce and services (CW/S) technology solutions space, he believes that although the future of work and the gig economy can be somewhat nebulous, one thing is clear: how work gets done is definitely changing, and technology is playing a key role in the process. Andrew believes now is a pivotal and fascinating time within the procurement industry, and enjoys being in the middle of it.

What global developments and trends are catching Andrew's attention?

For the past 25 years, Andrew has seen VMS function as the main technological platform in contingent workforce and services procurement, especially for larger businesses. He believes VMS has transformed the industry from a supplier “wild-west” into a tightly managed supply base, ensuring workforce compliance, enabling visibility and supporting spend management.

In the past 8-10 years, he has witnessed the VMS model gradually morph into becoming a more comprehensive platform solution across different categories of labour, as well as services. He believes the long-term future will be based on digital platforms and networks of platform-based suppliers of contingent workforce and contracted services. Going forward, Andrew believes AI-related capabilities will play an increasingly important role. Overall, the whole buying process will become more streamlined, cycle times will be reduced and the scope of spend under management will increase by one order of magnitude (10 times) over the next five to ten years. Long-term, Andrew been following the transition from a “black-and-white sourcing world to full-spectrum sourcing.”

And in the following year?

Andrew believes if there is to be one large tremor to occur in the next year (and he means if), it will be M&A-related. He has observed a high amount of M&A activity and believes we are going to see more.

Does he see any developments specific to Europe 

As far as technology goes, Andrew believes we’ll see a gradual continuation of VMS adoption within Europe. Due to its close integration of MSPs and RPOs, he believes we will see the ongoing emergence of a total talent acquisition model at a faster pace than we are seeing in the United States. He has also been paying close attention to the development of the gig economy, or the use of independent workers. The social and political attention, discourse and response to this workforce population has been more openly addressed in Europe than in the United States. Though this may produce a dampening effect on radically innovative models, he believes it will produce real action focused on shaping models that are more clearly legitimated to bring businesses and independent workers together.

Where does Andrew think Spend Matters’ biggest opportunity lies?

Andrew believes Spend Matters will continue on its course to become the go-to source of information and expertise for procurement technology, innovation and industry trends and developments. He hopes that more and more procurement professionals are able to fully utilise all the advisory that PRO subscription and SolutionMap offer.

Listen to the podcast to get to know Andrew better.

Tune in next week for our interview with more of our analysts!

Voices (2)

  1. Andrew Karpie:

    Thank you for your comments, Andrew.

    Entiirely in accord with comments re: VMS. It’s a solution that drives very significant benefits in terms cost reduction and risk abatement. But for organizations — especially very large ones — it’s not just a “turn on a switch” by any means, but requires significant organizational behavior change as well.

    Also agree with your point about meeting the needs of the real people sitting on both sides of the technology (i.e., the actual hiring managers and the actual contractors and freelancers). In the past, contingent workforce technology solutions have had room to better address the needs of both populations. At the same time, the tight labor market is driving some developments, but probably too slowly.

    BTW: I was interested in thoughts on the comments I made on independent/freelancer workers in the UK/EU:

    (“The social and political attention, discourse and response to this workforce population has been more openly addressed in Europe than in the United States. Though this may produce a dampening effect on radically innovative models, he believes it will produce real action focused on shaping models that are more clearly legitimated to bring businesses and independent workers together.”)

  2. Andrew Daley:

    This is very interesting and Andrew raises several points that I’d agree with. Having spoken to some of my contacts in the recruitment outsourcing world, they are excited about the power of VMS for their customers and a lot of their deals include the possibility of their clients using solutions like Fieldglass to streamline candidate sourcing processes.

    More generally I think the trend is definitely heading in that direction but I do have a note of caution. I think the organisations that will potentially benefit the most from these tools are the ones that could find it hardest to adopt them effectively.

    It requires a big change in behaviour across a large community of hiring managers in enterprise customers, so this means a major transformation project and we all know how challenging they can be. On the other side of the fence, contractors and freelancers will need to be convinced that companies are using these tools effectively if they are to commit to them, and therefore reduce their reliance on the recruitment consultancies and agencies that still dominate the interim market.

    So, in summary, a lot of value available to employers and contractors alike, but a lot of hurdles to overcome to reach an effective level of adoption. I’m sure it will happen, but the pace of change will be interesting to observe in the various European markets!

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