[Editor’s Note: On June 2, Ardent Partners’ resident Contingent Workforce Management analyst and Research Director, Christopher J. Dwyer, will deliver a webinar presentation on “Building the Next-Generation Contingent Workforce Management Program,” sponsored by ZeroChaos. Interested parties should click here to register for this free webinar.]

The modern business, when viewing the myriad processes that run the gamut from spend management to data management to processing invoices and expense reports, often views the “tactical” as a simpler area to tackle via automation and efficiency than longer-term, more strategic initiatives or functions across the greater organization.

At a high level, there’s really nothing wrong with this perception. Invoices, purchase orders, and expense reports are often mired in paper and bogged down in a sea of manual, error-laden processes that cause more harm than good. Streamlining these areas via automation is a no-brainer at the core: reduce the time spent to process and handle these items, and the company at-large will be impacted significantly. Time originally spent within these areas can be time gained to support more strategic endeavors.

It’s the next “phase,” the future, that should be top-of-mind in today’s ever-shifting business world. And it’s in the arena that was originally designed to address the above attributes that can help take today’s enterprises into an exciting tomorrow.

Business networks are perhaps the hottest technology within a variety of industries in today’s corporate world. At the end of the day, the ability to connect and communicate with suppliers (while also automating key procure-to-pay cogs) has been an effective aspect in how enterprises conduct their business. However, beyond the tactical advantages driven by business networks, there are “next-level” and strategic benefits that are just around the corner.

The war for talent rages on across the globe, with companies struggling to engage the skill sets they require for critical projects and initiatives. Freelance and independent talent are available via labor marketplaces and traditional means (i.e., staffing agencies), however, the evolution of today’s businesses dictate that time spent searching for talent will be akin to the time lost dredging through menial processes (remember those invoices and expenses?).

How will business networks transform the way talent is engaged and hired?

  • Automated “matching” of enterprises projects to talent linked via networks.
  • Reconciliation of project-based travel and associated expenses (also fed to analytical / spend analysis systems) incurred by freelancers and contingent workers (or services).
  • Skill set recommendations of in-network talent based on algorithms developed by Vendor Management System (VMS), business network, and supplier management technology integration.
  • Real-time performance evaluations of talent suppliers, services, and freelancers / contractors, and;
  • Dedicated, specific “talent pools” of all known talent within the network, along with project skill set match data, availability, historical or forecasted performance and budget impact.

Business networks can play an active role in helping an enterprise manage the full lifecycle of its talent engagement strategy in a controlled, educated, and automated manner. Ardent expects utilization of networks as a talent source to increase by 95% within the next 12-to-18 months, furthering the notion that business connectivity is evolving into new and exciting arenas.


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