FieldGlass, which provides a unified platform for contingent workforce management, service provider management, and direct hires, is determined to tear forward through the tens, which also happen to correspond to its second decade of corporate existence. Founded in Chicago in 1999, it celebrated its tenth birthday with a bang by adding 33 new customers in 2009 before tearing into 2010 and adding over 30 new customers year-to-date to double its customer base in less than two years.
With localized support for sixty-three (63) countries and counting, over one third (33%) of the new customers it has added in the past year were from outside the US — and they expect this number to rise over time as they add more satellite offices in various countries and continue to add localized support for more countries. And like Coupa, which happens to be one of the many enterprise platforms their solution can peacefully exist with, they plan to keep up the fervant pace of customer acquisition for some time to come.
So how are they pulling this off? It’s a combination of
like the little engine that could, they just won’t quit,
they have a solid platform which gets better every year,
- limited competition
Google might return over 100K hits for contingent workforce management, but only a few players (like IQ Navigator and Taleo) have platforms in the same class,
- a truly global focus
their localized support (which includes local laws, regulation, and policy) for 63 countries and counting is a differentiator, and
- the economy
since no one wants to hire direct full time employees anymore.
So what have they done since our last update last April (which followed the incredibly deep coverage brought to us by the Sourcing Maniacs in their 2008 vendor tour)? Two things of note: they finished flushing out their core BI suite and started working on Active Guidance. And while the latter is still in its infancy, it will be very useful when taken to the next level.
Their BI offering consists of three core capabilities:
- intelligent benchmarking
across equivalent job categories in equivalent locations,
- drill down reporting
which lets the user drill through the various spend cubes maintained by the application, and
which presents the user with innovative graphs, comparative dashboards, and informative trends.
Most of the work has went into improving the benchmarks, to make sure the industry averages presented are for equivalent jobs in equivalent locales, and extending the visualizer, to try and find the best ways to present a lot of information in an easy to understand, but yet impactive, manner. In a few cases, they’ve really hit the mark. The first case is the country-based graphs which allow a user to see relative spending by state on a geographically correct map. These graphs take the concept of Shneiderman diagrams (or visual crosstabs) to a whole new level. The second case is the integrated trend graphs that allow you to simultaneously see the trends across contingent worker, service worker, and direct hire for any job position or category. This is important because whenever spending drops sharply in one category, it tends to increase significantly in another. (Can’t hire any new workers? Service workers. Can’t sign another long term contract with a service provider? Contingent workers. Contingent workers been here too long? New hires.) The third case is the comparative rate-range graphs which simultaneously present the average rate, the range, and the market average for a set of related positions — it makes it really to easy to see where the company is likely spending too much for its contingent and service labor.
However, what is really interesting is their new focus on “active guidance”. Having deep insight from meaningful benchmarks and comprehensive spend reports is one thing, but knowing what to do — and when to do it — is another. For an organization with thousands of contingent and service workers, this can be a challenge. To this end FieldGlass has launched new capabilities that is has bundled under the heading of “active guidance” with more in development. The three capabilities it has launched to date are:
- Rate Guidance
using the benchmark data and spending history, the platform will advise the user on the recommended rate range to associate with a contingent or service position,
- FieldGlass Advisor
built on top of their alert functionality, the advisor will let a user know when a certain action should be taken (such as initiating a request for additional funds or to extend a current position), and
- The Project Management Office Dashboard
a quick summary into the past due, current, and forthcoming tasks that require the users attention with respect to payment and procurement, the dashboard is built on top of dozens of user configurable thresholds relating to processes, documents, and spend tracked by the system.
As FieldGlass continues its quest to automatically identify trends and associate them with suggested behaviors,this role-based feature should get quite interesting. The holy grail of performance analysis lies in the ability to take tactical data and derive meaningful strategy.