Daily Archives: November 5, 2008

The Sourcing Maniacs 2008 Vendor Tour Part VIII: FieldGlass

In yesterday’s installment, we jumped ahead in our story and recounted the Maniacs’ failed attempt to infiltrate Empower and find out what Emptoris is really up to, whether or not they’re going to go public soon, and what their plans are in their quest to become the largest sourcing provider in the space. In today’s installment, we recount the maniacs’ visit to FieldGlass.

Today’s post is a long post, as it recounts the “rationale” the maniancs used in selecting Fieldglass, a lenghty definition of what contingent workforce manaagement is, as the maniacs apparently had no clue, and then a detailed description of Fieldglass’ capabilites. I’ve broken it into Preamble, Lead-In, CWM Definition*Technology*, and Epilogue so that you can jump to the part you’re most interested in, where * indicates content,  if you’re short on time (and come back later for the rest).


Yakko, Wakko, & Dot Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-do
Yakko I have a great product for you
Yakko, Wakko, & Dot Oompa Loompa Doom-pa-dee-dee
Dot If you are wise you’ll take a look-see
Yakko, Wakko, & Dot Oracle‘s fine when you have lots of cash
It stores all your data and caches it fast
But when you’re cash-strapped, you’re hung out to dry
To watch the vultures circ’ling high
Wakko Up in the dark’ning skies
Yakko, Wakko, & Dot Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-dar
But now there’s Coupa, you can go far
You will buy in happiness too
Like the Oompa-Loompa doom-pa-dee-do
Dot the doctor sure knows how to write a catchy tune!
Wakko I could sing it all day long. ‘Cause I wanna go to the Coupa Store!
Dot So where are we going next?
Yakko I guess we’re on the D’s.
Wakko Who do we know who starts with D?
Yakko Demica.
Dot Supply Chain Finance, right?
Yakko Yep.
Dot Well, the innovation there is in the application thereof, and not necessarily in the technology, as the doctor explains nicely in the wiki-paper, so I’ll pass this time around, since we’re more focused on technology right now.
Yakko No prob. We can always do a services company tour later if we don’t find any jobs before this tech tour is over. How about Descartes?
Wakko The “delivery management” company. That’s just combining 3PL with VMI and network op-ti-my-za-shun, right?
Yakko I think so, but I’m not 100% sure.
Wakko I’ll pass for now. Too complex for me! I still have problems with 5 by 5 … I run out of fingers and toes …
Yakko Hmmm … Denali?
Dot Consulting, market intelligence, and professional placement. Again, services.
Yakko Well, dat does It. I’m out of D’s. On to the E’s!
Dot I have a sour taste in my mouth for the E’s right now.
Yakko And there’s a chance we can sneak into Empower in the fall and find out what Emptoris is up to. Ok. On to the F’s. Frictionless?
Wakko Aren’t they just a bunch of saps?
Yakko Excuse me?
Wakko Didn’t SAP buy them?
Yakko Oh, you mean S-A-Ps. Yes, you’re right! Fogbreak?
Dot Again, back in California. Too soon to go back.
Yakko FieldGlass?
Wakko What do they do?
Yakko Contingent Workforce Management.
Dot And where are they?
Yakko Chicago.
Dot That’s not too far.
Wakko Wind! I like wind! Let’s go!
Dot And since we have a mighty hike ahead of us …
the maniacs are still in Pittsburgh, PA, where they were visiting Co-exprise before doing their on-line Coupa research
let’s sing!
Wakko It was just yesterday, I ran out of feed
Dot A wascally wabbit, it ate all my seed
Yakko Hens were getting restless, I couldn’t drink my mead
Yakko, Wakko, & Dot I logged into Coupa, and it met my need
  Editor’s note: the maniacs proceed to sing all of the Coupa songs, repeatedly … and even though I think they’re pretty damn good (after all, I wrote them), they get a little tiring after you’ve heard them for the tenth time … in a row … so I’ll save you a few pages and simply point you to Davie and the Coupa Factory, It’s Coupa Time, The Coupa Hoedown, The Coupa Drinking Song, and The Coupa Store if you’re curious.


Wakko Feel that wind! We must be getting close.
Yakko Pretty darn close, actually!
Dot So why are we here? After all, isn’t contingent workforce management simply contractor management? And when you need a contractor, don’t you just call up your placement agency and get one? What’s so hard about that? And why would you need a software solution?
Wakko Quoting?
Dot e-RFX.
Wakko Billing?
Dot e-Invoicing.
Wakko Payment?
Dot e-Payment.
Yakko Firing?
Wakko Donald Trump!
Yakko Were we too hasty in selecting FieldGlass as our next target? Were we swayed by the possibility of an excuse to visit the windy city
Wakko so I could fly my kite
Yakko and not by whether or not the technology might have something to offer, making the company viable, and, thus, increasing the chances that there might be a job for us?
Dot Maybe. I’m starting to wonder about this decision.
Yakko Well, we’re here … so we might as well give them a shot!
Wakko On it!
Out comes Wakko’s mini mallet. Tap. Tap. Tap.
See, no dings!
  A man in a blue suit and dark jacket opens the door.
Dark Jacket Can I help you?
Wakko I’m Wakko!
Yakko I’m Yakko!
Dot And I’m Dot!
Yakko, Wakko, & Dot And we want to know why we’re here!
Dark Jacket Now that’s a very difficult question, and one I leave to the philosophers. I’m a technology guy myself.
Yakko What we mean is, why is FieldGlass here?

CWM Definition

Dark Jacket To provide a unified, best-of-breed, contingent workforce solution.
Dot But why? Isn’t contingent workforce management simply contractor management? And when you need a contractor, don’t you just call up your placement agency and get one? What’s so hard about that? And why would you need a software solution?
Dark Jacket No, and no. Why are you here?
Yakko We’re seeking enlightenment. We’re trying to find out what various solution providers offer the sourcing world.
Dark Jacket To what end?
Wakko Well, we’re trying to map the new sourcing world to find our place in it
Dot and help the doctor in his quest to educate the masses.
Dark Jacket The Doctor? I’m sorry, but you’ve lost me.
Yakko the doctor of Sourcing Innovation informed us that the best way to find our place in the sourcing world was to understand it, and the best way to understand it was to go and talk to the innovative vendors and find out what they were doing. And if we did that, we could help him in his mission to educate the sourcing world, which he says is a win-win for everybody.
Dark Jacket Sourcing Innovation … I think I’ve heard of it. It’s one of those upstart blogs, isn’t it?
Wakko It’s not just any blog … it’s the best blog if you want to learn about innovation in your supply chain.
Dot And it publishes our stories! How can you beat that!
Dark Jacket So you want me to explain what FieldGlass does?
Yakko And why anyone would need a contingent workforce management solution. Especially in supply chain. It really sounds like a simple HR tool to me.
Dark Jacket Well, it sounds to me like you don’t understand the problem. Would you like to?
Yakko, Wakko, & Dot Yes, please!
Dark Jacket OK … give me a few minutes.
  Dark Jacket disappears back inside and re-emerges a few minutes later.
Dark Jacket Since you say you’re familiar with Sourcing Innovation, we’ll start there. I did a bit of research, and found a number of informative articles on the site that frame the problem quite well, and which should allow me to convey the purpose of the FieldGlass solution to you in a manner that will be easy for you to understand.

We’re at the beginning of a talent crunch that will surpass anything the world has ever seen. Over one quarter of America’s population, and well over one third of America’s workforce, is eligible, or will soon be eligible, for retirement. The vast majority do necessary jobs. Where are their replacements going to come from?

Yakko New Graduates?
Dot Other countries?
Wakko Robots?
Dark Jacket Nope. Nope. And Nope. There aren’t near enough graduates to fill all those empty positions as American’s youth is declining. Remember, it’s the boomer generation that is retiring and birth rates have decreased since then. There are strict limits on how many people can enter the US each year to work. If we are lucky, and the incoming administration doesn’t lock down the borders even more, over the next five years, the government might permit 1% of those jobs to be filled with foreign workers. And that might be an optimistic scenario, especially since most countries around the globe are suffering talent crunches as well, and some are worse off than we are! Finally, although Disney’s Imagineering leads us to believe that it won’t be long before Robo can do all of our jobs for us, the AI that would be needed is likely still decades off so robots won’t save us either.
Yakko So we’re doomed?
Dark Jacket Only if we continue with the traditional mentality that all workers must be full time employees. The fact of the matter is that, at least to a limited extent, the vast majority of the American population, almost 80% in fact, is able to contribute to the economy in some way, shape, or form. Furthermore, if we add up all the available capacity that is going unused in the traditional employment model, we find that, at the very least, we can make a major dent in the talent crunch … and maybe even halt it altogether (at least for the time being).
Dot So how should we be thinking?
Dark Jacket Part-time. Flux-time. As needed. As available. Pre-graduate. Retiree. Disabled. Telecommute.

Many people retire because they are forced into it (because of organizational policies, especially in the public sector), because they don’t want to work full time anymore, or because they are unable to do the job they were doing, be it due to failing health or lack of education and training, and not because they want to sit on their porch and stare into space. Many of these people want to keep being productive, they just want to do it less, and maybe do it from home. And they’re great resources. Their valuable experience can be used to mentor junior employees, which helps them become better, more productive employees, faster; to improve processes, which will help the organization do more with less; and to guide management around pitfalls and traps that they know are there in the market, which can prevent the current generation from repeating the mistakes of its predecessors.

And with the high and steadily rising costs of education these days, as well as the desire to be part of the consumer economy, more and more high-school and college students are seeking part time work. Not only are they a great resource to help you with the escalating amounts of tactical work many business face in today’s economy, but utilizing them in positions that correspond to their course of study helps prepare them for full time work when they graduate.

Yakko And that’s why we need contingent workforce management?
Dark Jacket It’s one of the reasons. As I have just described, organizations can not rely on full time labor alone. In addition, the need for temporary contract labor in the services industry is going to increase as lack of talent and market forces dictate less full time employees and more contract labor. And from a business perspective, without a contingent workforce management solution, you can’t have an effective talent management program, and this costs your business money. Lots of money.
Dot How much?
Dark Jacket It depends on the company. But if you look at our Verizon Case Study, readily available on our website, you’ll see that Verizon achieved a four-month payback, 9M in savings in the first year, and a 2 year ROI of 77% after implementation of our InSite solution.
Yakko That’s a lot of cash!
Wakko So how come my wireless bill is so bloody expensive?
Dark Jacket You’ll have to take that up with Verizon, I can only tell you how contingent workforce management saves you money.
Dot So how does it do that?
Dark Jacket Simply put, it streamlines the contingent labor requisition process, simplifies the identification of resources, automates the distribution of requests, standardizes resource rates, automates the collection of quotes, tracks awards, and insures that companies always bill at the approved rate and only for approved hours on approved projects. This reduces recruitment costs, reduces processing and payment costs, and, most importantly, prevents overcharges and overpayments, which often total 20% or more at companies without contingent workforce management solutions.


Yakko And how does your InSite solution enable Contingent Workforce Management?
Dark Jacket Simply put, we enable the end-to-end contingent worker life-cycle, from acquisition, through onboarding, through management and payment, to offboarding, with complete historical data storage to allow you to repeat the process in the future for the same employee, same position, or same department as needed.

We do this with an application that has fully customizable workflows that support the hiring manager, approvers, HR coordinators, suppliers, and workers in each step of the procure-engage-pay-offboard cycle, to whatever level of support and detail they need.

Our application simplifies the definition and setup of a requisition, which, when driven off of a pre-configured template, will automatically populate the job title, description, department, job site, travel requirements, full position description, desired skills, approved rates, default suppliers to issues the requisition to, job status, and any other detail that is relevant to the job posting. All a hiring manager has to do is define the desired start-and-end dates and, if she desires, modify default settings and requirements if the position requires some customization. Once the requisition is completed, pre-configured rules route it to the appropriate approvers, and once it is approved, it is delivered to the appropriate suppliers using multi-tiered supply based rules that can give preferred suppliers or minority suppliers of contingent labor the ability to bid first.

Once the supplier submit candidates, the hiring manager can then use the tool to shortlist candidates (or block them from consideration), select candidates for interviews, record the interview results, select a candidate for hire, send a work-order to a supplier, and then, when the supplier accepts the work-order, “hire” the candidate.

Dot Well, that’s kind of what we’d expect a workforce management tool to do. But what’s so special about it? How does it help procurement? Why can’t we just use Word, Excel, e-Mail, and a File Server.
Dark Jacket That’s a mouthful!

Let’s start with the last question. Theoretically, you could create your template job descriptions in Word and your rate-cards in Excel, store them on a Central File Server, and then, every time you need to fill a new job, create a copy, send it out through e-mail, and store the specific instance somewhere else on a file server. And maybe if you’re a small company who only hires a few contingent workers a year, and you were very methodical, you could make that work for you. But what if you hire 100 contingent workers a year in 20 different positions. How easy do you think it would be to keep track of all the different paperwork? Let me ask it this way, you used to do Contract Management right?

Yakko Right.
Dark Jacket And for your average company with more than 500 active contracts without a contract management solution, what was the average level of contract management maturity.
Dot The average company couldn’t even find its contracts!
Dark Jacket So how well do you think the average company who has to hire hundreds, or thousands, of contingent workers a year, where each worker has her own contract, fares?
Dot Not very well.
Dark Jacket And that’s fundamentally why you need a contingent workforce management solution if you have to hire a lot of contingent workers each year.

Now, the reason it helps procurement is that it stores all of the information, including rate information, billed hours, and budgetary information in one place. This allows procurement to get up to date information at any time as to how many contingent workers in each category are hired each year, on average, and how much is being paid, on average, for each position. Procurement can use this information to initiate fact-based negotiations with contingent labor-suppliers to get better rates. Then, procurement can turn around and compare invoices versus approved rates, hours, and expenses and make sure that each worker is being paid at agreed upon rates, and no more, and that unapproved expenses are never paid. Furthermore, they can configure rules that will prevent managers from approving payments that are outside of approved rate or expense bands or that would cause a budget to be exceeded. It gives them the insight into contingent workfoce spend that they’ve never had before without this type of tool.

Dot I get it now. So what’s so special about your tool. We know other companies offer workforce solutions, and we’re wondering what sets yours apart.
Dark Jacket As you can see, it’s very easy to use and guides a user through the process.
Wakko Even I can use it, so I’ll give you that. But most tools are getting easier to use every year. Why should I use yours?
Dark Jacket I could tell you about the hundreds of little usability features we’ve crammed into this tool that make it as easy to use as Google for our average user, but instead I’ll tell you about how we think we’re really different.

Our tool, which supports over 80 Fortune 2000 Global Multi-nationals, was built to be a global tool. That means that we’ve localized it for over 30 countries …

Dot But isn’t that just changing the unit of currency and supporting different languages? If you use Java, that’s easy to code these days.
Dark Jacket It’s much more than that. When I say we’ve localized it, I mean that we’ve configure it to take into account all of the standard business practices, taxation requirements, and legal requirements of each country in which our customers have deployed it. For example, workforce management in Europe is considerably different than in the US. When you bid a rate, you have to break it down into base pay, benefits, travel, per-diem, etc. in Europe. Furthermore, you have different taxation requirements to track and different legal issues to watch out for when onboarding and offboarding. Our tool customizes its workflow and data capture to each country it is used in. And to make sure we do it right, we retain over 20 international law-firms around the globe to keep us up to date on changing requirements and ensure we go above and beyond the requirements when we enter a new country on behalf of a customer.
Wakko So I could hire a vinyard worker in France to hand pick grapes for me and be certain I was following all the rules?
Dark Jacket If you wanted to …

Wakko Awesome!
Dark Jacket That’s what we think of our tool, which can be delivered pure SaaS, and which we improve upon every day. In fact, we now not only do contingent workforce management, but we also do direct hires and service management against projects. And we also have a new InSite Visualizer tool that can be used to generate business intelligence on all of the data the tool collects and present the user with trends and patterns that emerge over time. This way they can accurately predict resource costs over the next contract cycle before entering into a negotiation or compare their data against industry average benchmarks to see how well they’re doing. This is on top of the dozens of standard reports, as well as the ad-hoc report generator, that is built into the tool and the workflow.
Yakko Contingent workforce management is sure a lot more involved then we ever thought it was!
Dark Jacket It truly is … and that’s why your standard direct goods procurment solution you get off-the-shelf won’t work and why you need a customized solution.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a workforce management platform to improve. Good day.


Dot That was a learning experience!
Yakko I guess it is a lot more involved than just telling HR to “get me this resource by Monday”.
Wakko I’ll say. So where are we going next?
Dot We’re on the G’s.
Wakko Didn’t the doctor recommend someone else?
Yakko I think so. Just a second.
Yakko takes out his notebook. GDM … Global Data Mining.
Dot What do they do?
Yakko BI, maybe? I don’t know. So let’s go!
Wakko OK. So where are they?
Yakko Just outside of Denver, Colorado I believe.
Wakko All right! We get to see the Rockies! Let’s go!