VMS First – Another Change Driven by SOW

August 7, 2014 | Leave a Comment By Michael Matherly

vms firstConventional wisdom in the contingent labor industry has been to select the managed service provider first, then leverage the chosen MSP to select a vendor management system (VMS) to enable and scale the program. But does this contingent labor convention still hold when the industry is redefining itself as services procurement?

A strong case is emerging that may well turn the conventional wisdom upside down. The following is a historical look at how we got to MSP first, then a practical look at the current winds of change that suggest VMS first. Continue reading

The Spend-Labor Split Paradigm for Services

July 30, 2014 | Leave a Comment By Michael Matherly

Is management of spend the same as management of labor? No, spend is spend and labor is labor “…and never the twain shall meet.”* Right?

The truth is, it’s not that simple anymore…

Welcome to the new spend-labor split paradigm, where the traditional way of treating spend and labor the same is not wrong, but neither is it always right. As all good quandaries go, it depends.

Let’s start by explaining that the premise of this spend-labor relationship question is based in the scope of Services, as in SOW-based Services (those services acquired with and governed by a statement of work contract). Given this is Part 2 of our series on SOW-driven changes in the contingent labor** industry, we offer the new paradigm that SOW is forcing us to confront and the accompanying analysis that supports the split scenario.

Paradigm is just a fancy word for model

spend labor split paradigmThe Spend-Labor Split Paradigm models the relationship between Spend and Labor when procuring and consuming Services. The model depicts how category characteristics and management activities associated with Labor and Spend can vary along the Services Continuum. Awareness of this relationship, relative to the underlying purpose of the Service being procured, helps position category strategies to optimize management of both Labor and Spend.

>> View the Spend Labor Split Paradigm Infographic

labor focus

Labor Focus

Strong correlation exists between Spend and Labor management activities. When the Labor resource is acquired or terminated, the Spend associated with that labor is likewise acquired or terminated. Procurement criteria are based on the skill and experience level of the resource, as well as engagement duration and number of resources.

transitional focus

Transitional Focus

Time and material statements of work can be labor and / or outcome focused, depending on the underlying objective of the Service being procured. There tends to be a gradual organizational shift from Labor to Outcome focus as category management strategies evolve for SOW-based services.

outcome focus

Outcome Focus

When the focus of the underlying Service is the Outcome, then Spend management is paramount to the buying organization and responsibility for Labor management shifts to the service provider. This full disaggregation of Spend and Labor has material impacts on sourcing, contracting and engagement management strategies.

* From Rudyard Kipling. “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet…” Read entire poem entitled The Ballad of East and West.

** A later post in this series will address terminology at which time we will confront the challenging and confusing industry nomenclature that is contingent labor – hint: it may be time for some more change!

Product Roadmap Transparency

July 23, 2014 | Leave a Comment By Taylor Allis

Product RoadmapI’m thrilled today to be writing my first post as one of IQN’s newest executives and blog contributors. As head of Product Strategy my goal is to drive customer insight, innovation and differentiation into our product roadmap. In my role I work closely with our head of Product Marketing, Brian Hoffmeyer, to define our product roadmap; and report to our CTO, Sherri Hammons, so we can execute against our roadmap.

My first goal is to drive customer and partner collaboration and transparency around our roadmap. Wikipedia defines the behavior of transparency by saying, “Transparency…implies openness, communication, and accountability.”

An amazing product strategy is nothing without execution; and execution is dependent on being open, collaborative and accountable with our current and future customers and partners. To this end, I think we have made significant strides over the past several months (but we are just getting started).

Some highlights:

  1. We have published our Product Roadmap for customer, partners, and prospects to see. See our current Product Roadmap here.
  2. We conducted great product workshops at IQNsiders North America hosted in the beautiful Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.
  3. Our product team has meet with over 30 customers this past quarter to collaborate, gather insights and prioritize features.
  4. We have conducted our first Product Workshop with EMEA customers and partners.

We will also announce our latest offerings in press releases, including our latest announcement, “IQNavigator Delivers Increased VMS Data Awareness.”

Product differentiation means a company provides unique value to its customer and partners, distinguishing itself from other products or services. We can’t provide differentiation without collaboration and transparency with our customers and partners. Our customers need insight into our product roadmap, and we need to understand our customer’s problems, as well as what their business values.

In future blogs posts I’ll focus on customer and market trends that will influence our product strategy and roadmap. I’ll also provide insight into our product strategy and processes, and highlight examples of how we have executed against our roadmap to drive customer value. I would also love any feedback on what you would like to hear about in future posts, so please post a comment or contact me here.

Staffing Suppliers and VMS

July 16, 2014 | Leave a Comment By Brian Hoffmeyer

If you’ve read my posts in the past, you know that they have a theme – often a tie in to a pop culture reference or the like. Today’s theme is short and sweet, I’m going for my shortest post ever (tweets not considered of course! And, speaking of that, follow @chezhoff and @IQNavigator)!

As I read today’s Staffing Stream blog (We All Hate Each Other, and That’s Good for the Industry) three things came to mind:

  • It’s great when a supplier (a group that is often antagonistic towards VMS providers) validates the reason that companies of any size need a VMS!
  • If the author’s assertion that the only thing that truly differentiators suppliers is their competitiveness is true, then VMS actually help suppliers as we make it very easy for them to compete and fill reqs quickly, at a low cost, and with quality.
  • When it comes to supplier performance rating (another topic in the blog post and a best practice in any non-employee workforce program), the only way to stack rank suppliers in an efficient and accurate way, is to use the data from a VMS.

IQN’s VMS provides all of this today and we’ll enhance our capabilities in the future. We’re especially excited about how we can use big data/data science techniques to offer predictive analytics on topics like supplier performance.

That’s it, if you have questions, feel free to reach out!

June 2014 Labor Report: New Job Creation Continues Strong

July 7, 2014 | Leave a Comment By Gary Pollard

Temporary Help Services Jobs Set Record for 12th Consecutive Month

June Job Growth a Pleasant Surprise
The June BLS Employment Situation was stronger than expected, showing 288,000 net new jobs and driving the unemployment rate down to 6.1%, a level last seen in September 2008. The portion of the adult population participating in the workforce remained at 62.8% for the third straight month. The robust job growth and the flat participation rate combined to reduce the number of long-term unemployed by 293,000. The most comprehensive measure of unemployment, the U-6, fell from 14.2% to 12.1% in the past year. The capital markets responded enthusiastically to the news, with the DJIA closing above 17,000 for the first time.

New job estimates for April and May were both revised upward in the latest report by a combined total of 29,000, making 2Q14 look even more favorable for employment growth.

The average work week remained flat at 34.5 hours, while average wages rose six cents in June. Wages have increased 2% over the past year.

Widespread Job Creation
Many industry segments contributed new jobs, led by Professional & Business Services. Manufacturing was notably robust. The public sector contributed 26,000 net new jobs, compared to an aggregate loss of 34,000 jobs in government across 2013.


Involuntary Part Time Employment
In June the number of workers who accepted part time jobs because full time work was unavailable jumped by 275,000 to 7.5 million positions. This spike may be a statistical quirk, but it bears watching. With the approach of the effective date of the ACA ‘Employer Mandate’ in 2015, employers may be managing hours worked in anticipation of the 30 hours a week threshold for individual medical benefits eligibility.

Temporary Agency Employment Record Growth Streak Hits 12 Months

In the early days of the job market recovery, temp agency employment stood out as one of the few consistent sources of job growth. One hypothesis was that this feature in job creation was transitory, a reflection of employer uncertainty about the recovery; likely this view holds some truth. But now that new job creation has become broad based across many industries, it is worth noting that temp agency job growth remains vigorous. Increased reliance on contingent labor appears to have become a permanent and prominent feature of post-recession labor resourcing.


The June job report ended 2Q14 on a high note. Hiring was widespread across industries and unemployment rates declined, while pressure on wages and bill rates remained subdued. For the twelfth consecutive month temp agency employment set a new record, a strong indicator of increasing reliance on contingent labor. Trends to watch in the balance of the year include a potential tightening in the labor supply, and the effect the ACA may have on job creation and hours worked.

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