H ow IQN and IBM Emptoris organization are empowering procurement leaders to strategically manage their fastest-growing spend category

I recently traveled to the “Most Magical Place on Earth” to make some magic of my own at the IBM Empower 2016 Conference in Orlando, Florida. I was excited to provide my perspective during an October 5 main stage session on the latest contingent labor trends and innovations transforming traditional ways of doing business in procurement.

The event’s timing was perfect. With the holiday hiring of contingent labor right around the corner, I knew that many of the procurement and contract professionals in attendance would be eager to hear about best practices for optimizing spend and creating sustainable value.

During the morning of my presentation, Florida Governor Rick Scott warned residents to prepare for the worst as Hurricane Matthew was closing in. My sincere hope is that the hundreds of procurement professionals who attended IBM Empower will never have to deal with the level of uncertainty and destruction that a Category 4 hurricane can cause. That said, they must always be prepared to expertly respond to whatever conditions each new day brings.

The world of procurement is fast-changing because our global workforce is fast-changing. Industry experts have forecasted that contingent labor will comprise 50 percent or more of the workforce by 2020, with spend projected to grow from $3.6 trillion in 2015 to more than $5 trillion by 2020.

What does this mean for procurement? With services being their fastest-growing sub-segment, Chief Procurement Officers are increasingly being called upon to develop strategies and programs that optimize their organization’s tech-driven labor supply chain. Yet, too often, they are relying on systems that do not support the complexities of services procurement.

With limited visibility and control over the spend initiated by various business units across their organization, procurement leaders have many obstacles to overcome. Ensuring standardized rates and contractual terms for contingent workers is a struggle. Monitoring which contractors have access to buildings and systems, or intellectual property is an even bigger nightmare. The risks are real!

“How are our performers performing? There are data breaches, contract workers who set fire at airports, and misclassified workers resulting in fines. The worse example was the NSA hiring Snowden despite his resume discrepancies, and some clear red flags on his resume. He was a contractor, and the NSA didn’t follow contract procedures.”

Robert Handfield, “Supply Chain View from the Field” blog

Fortunately, so too are the technology solutions available. In fact, IQN is proud to be working with the IBM® Emptoris® organization to empower procurement leaders to manage their flexible workforce with greater supply chain rigor and control. Our companies established a partnership to offer an end-to-end services procurement solution that comprises both strategic sourcing and contingent labor capabilities.

IQN Compass Vendor Management System (VMS) is a service procurement solution for automating and enhancing all types of contingent labor, while IBM Emptoris’ solution delivers program management, supplier life cycle management, spend analysis, sourcing and contract management capabilities. Together, the solutions automate and streamline the full procurement lifecycle for complex third-party service categories.

The innovation offered by IQN and IBM Emptoris is transforming services procurement by delivering end-to-end spend management capabilities for greater visibility, 100 percent compliance, risk mitigation, full KPI analytics and more. No fairy dust or magic involved; just real world solutions for procurement leaders to successfully navigate their dynamic business environment and gain control of their growing services spend.

For more insights and highlights of the IBM Empower 2016 Conference, I encourage you to read Andrew Bartolini, Ardent Partners’ Research, Dispatch from IBM Empower 2016; and Robert Handfield‘s blog post, Contingent Workforce is a Major Focus for Procurement. Handfield is the distinguished professor of Supply Chain Management, NC State University; executive director of the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative, and consulting editor, Journal of Operations Management.

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