While we’ve covered the rise of “Big Data” in the world of complex spend management, there is something deeper occurring in the comprehensive layers of contemporary contingent workforce management as it pertains to analytics.
The concept of Big Data is here stay, regardless of the business industry’s frequency of anointing certain ideas as “the next great thing” only to have them falter as the world evolves. Enterprises around the world have realized the value of taking business intelligence, reporting and data analytics “to the next level” in such a way that information becomes a central driver of future initiatives and overall corporate planning.
For data related to contingent workforce management, however, it’s been a longer road to get where we are today. Any Chief Procurement Officer would agree that spend or supplier data is useful beyond the procurement unit, as would the Chief Operating Officer in regards to operational data related to sales, revenue or corporate finances. Even going back a few years ago, many internal stakeholders could not see the greater value in deep data related to contingent workforce management.
Well, this isn’t the past anymore, and contract talent is one of the top business reasons for organizational success. Data linked to this category can be useful to a variety of internal roles and leveraged by multiple key stakeholders within the average enterprise. With this in mind, the concept of “agile analytics” takes form.
- In this case, “agility” refers to flexibility and usability. An agile business function is one that can be leveraged in multiple means, by multiple users and with multiple instances of value. Apply this thinking to reporting and analytical capabilities, and the result is agile analytics. Analytical tools that fall under this banner are supremely flexible; they can be utilized to deep-dive into supplier information, spend information as it relates to contractors and temporary staff, and project-specific intel, which could includes project expenses, performance against budget and other key data angles. In regards to usability, agile analytics can present both the most hardened business intelligence users and those new to the reporting game with the information they require; tools in this realm can by leveraged by new and experienced users alike.
- CWM data isn’t limited in value. What’s incredibly interesting about agile analytics is its information prowess across a series of core enterprise functions, not just those who are directly responsible for managing or tracking contract talent. Nearly every internal division can find value in CWM-related data; procurement will see value in spend- and supplier-specific data, finance will crave the obvious financial information, operations will want to understand how contract talent affects enterprise-wide projects, and IT will be interested to understand identity management perspectives regarding contractor access to enterprise systems.
- Agile analytics is an ideal tool for future corporate planning. One item missing from the previous bullet is the value of CWM-related data on a larger, enterprise-wide scale. Planning and budgeting is a core component of any financial management unit, which relies on A/P, A/R and cash flux data to understand the fiduciary health of the company. Imagine if that same unit can forecast the future utilization of contract talent and its impact on corporate budgets and project-specific expenses? Painting this picture months before it actually happens can be quite critical in driving even more value from the growing (and evolving) contingent workforce.