Author Archives: Andrew Karpie

The Contingent Workforce and Services (CW/S) Insiders’ Hot List: December 2020

Welcome to the December 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 November 2020. These included the arrival of a new VMS solution, ProcureWise, two direct sourcing/MSP partnerships (WillHire and Yoh, Shortlist and NextSource), Mailchimp’s new freelancer community, the launch of a diversity-based freelancer marketplace, Ebuynee, and more. 

Turning to November, what was for many a complicated and stressful month, we observed an industry that was very much alive and well (despite being bruised up a bit). In November, the industry continued to recover and some sub-markets grew quickly. The staffing industry continued its steady climb from its cave-in this March (on 11/15, the ASA Staffing Index was just 9% under the index value one year earlier). And online freelancer platforms seemed to continue to benefit from COVID-19 tailwinds (or are they structural shifts?). The app-based gig economy also continued its robust expansion. We also discovered at least one new company that impressed us. So, all in all, not bad!

ProcureWise: Vendor Analysis — Solution Overview, Roadmap, Competitors & Market, Customer Feedback, Commentary

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis provides an overview of ProcureWise and its extended workforce solution.

In the past few years, a number of new extended workforce solutions have emerged to challenge incumbent VMS providers and/or look to penetrate lower, underserved mid-market tiers. We refer to them as “extended workforce solutions,” rather than VMS, because the long-standing term, VMS, carries a connotation of being anchored to temporary staffing. That said, today, both new solution providers and evolved VMS providers address a broader set of extended workforce channels.

ProcureWise is the newest kid on the block, having officially launched its solution in early October (the solution was previously running in beta). The company itself was founded by the founder and CEO of CEIPAL, a staffing agency recruitment and HRMS software business launched in 2011. CEIPAL reports that it serves over 1,400 client companies.

Like others in its category, ProcureWise’s extended workforce solution, which is built on a state-of-the-art, API-open technology platform, addresses enterprise requirements to source and manage staffing and non-staffing contingent workers as well as SOW-services. It provides direct sourcing capabilities, and it is aimed at “total talent” scenarios. The solution appears to leverage some CEIPAL technology platform components for at least direct sourcing, where AI enables talent sourcing — a unique, special twist to this solution.

This Vendor Analysis provides a high-level analyst perspective on ProcureWise, including a business snapshot; overview of platform, solution and supporting services; competitive market overview; and key analyst takeaways.

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

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

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).

VNDLY: Vendor Analysis (Part 3) — In-Depth Solution Overview 

In this third and final part of our Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, we provide a complete VNDLY solution overview, looking at each main module in the VNDLY offering.

Part 1 of the series provided an overview of VNDLY and its solution and what we pointed out as notable solution strengths and qualifications. Part 2 focused on VNDLY’s competitive position in the space as a solution provider, as well as use case conditions where VNDLY would be a good fit.

In this final section of our coverage, we provide a more detailed look at VNDLY's solution.

VNDLY: Vendor Analysis (Part 2) — SWOT, VNDLY Competitors & Market Overview, Tech Selection Tips

In Part 2 of this Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis, we'll look at VNDLY’s competitors, examine the market in which they compete and provide a company SWOT assessment.

Over the last five to seven years, the market for technology solutions that enable the sourcing and management of contingent workforce and services has become increasingly active and diverse in terms of new providers/solutions. But for many years, legacy VMS providers anchored in temp staffing ruled the contingent workforce segment, while complex service purchasing was shoe-horned incompletely into source-to-pay/e-procurement solutions.

Technology-driven innovation and changes in both the supply- and demand-sides of the market are calling into question legacy solution footprints and architectures. VNDLY was the first new solution that challenged legacy VMS providers, and other new entrants have appeared on the market. Organizations have begun to assign greater importance to managing their large and growing non-employee workforces (agency temps, other contract workers and those that work for service providers of various kinds). Organizations seemed to be looking for a modern alternative to their legacy VMS solutions, and VNDLY’s entry into the market seems to be well-timed.

In Part 1, we focused on company details, a brief solution overview, and VNDLY solution’s strengths and weaknesses. In our third and final installment, we will provide a more in-depth overview of VNDLY’s platform capabilities.

Let’s now look at VNDLY’s competitors and market/industry position.

VNDLY: Vendor Analysis (Part 1) — Company Background, Solution Details, Strengths and Weaknesses

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Analysis will provide an overview and analyst insights into VNDLY and its non-employee workforce management platform.

VNDLY was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2017 by industry outsiders based on their view that enterprise contingent workforce management requirements and expectations were increasing and new technology was available (leaving an opportunity for a new entrant). Today, VNDLY competes directly with VMS providers and serves a growing number of mainly Fortune 500 companies across a range of industries, primarily in North America. The company employs about 150 people and has raised $58 million in private equity since 2017.

Part 1 of this three-part PRO series also will have some company details, a brief solution overview and VNDLY’s solution strengths and weaknesses. In Part 2, we will provide a company SWOT assessment and a look at VNDLY’s competitors and the market. In our third and final installment, we will provide a more in-depth overview of VNDLY’s platform capabilities.

PRO Unlimited’s CEO Kevin Akeroyd envisions tech-enabled, people-driven services platform business

In late September, we had an opportunity to speak with Kevin Akeroyd, who became PRO Unlimited’s CEO in July 2020. PRO Unlimited is a well-established managed services player in the contingent workforce space. The company is notable as a vendor-neutral MSP with its own VMS technology.

One of Akeroyd’s first moves as CEO at PRO Unlimited was relocating the company’s headquarters from Boca Raton, Florida, to San Francisco, California, a change that fits with what we learned about Akeroyd’s vision of the company and the role of technology in it.

What follows is a sampling of topics discussed in our hour-long, detailed conversation in which Akeroyd shared his view of the contingent workforce industry and how he saw PRO Unlimited addressing organizations’ present and future contingent workforce requirements.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.