The contract talent industry has experienced a strategic evolution over the past few years, one that has seen this complex category shift from an understated workforce alternative to viable corporate strategy with critical enterprise-wide ramifications. With the contemporary contingent workforce umbrella’s reach now touching various internal company functions, it has become crucial for modern executives to rely on analytics, reporting, and business intelligence to drive even more value out of the contract talent workforce. This series details “next-generation” contingent workforce management (CWM) analytics and how flexible, agile reporting can transform any CWM program.
How User-Level Flexibility Leads to Agile Analytics
The “agile” nature of the next wave of analytics owes some of its sheen to the flexibility of the reporting capabilities found in select Vendor Management Systems (VMS) solutions. Contingent workforce data found in most business intelligence (and other types of) solutions can be largely unusable because these systems are not designed to capture, manage, analyze, or present the rich and robust data that VMS offerings are designed for. Agile analytics for CWM allows nearly any enterprise user to drive value out of related data. Users can flexibly alter the viewpoint, format, extraction method, or parameters of contingent workforce data to the factors they desire, allowing any handler tapping into the system to find value in the data.
No longer barred by pre-structured reports or simple data dumps, agile analytics can help users at any level by extracting the data they want in the format they would like…all as a means of finding actionable intelligence. CWM data can translate into something different for each user, and the ability to go beyond “slice-and-dice” and “drill-down” capabilities to find user-specific value can help take CWM programs into the future:
- Hiring managers can identify enterprise needs for specific talent (and how to best fill that talent)
- Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) and other procurement leaders can utilize CWM supplier data to improve spend management
- The C-level suite can truly understand how major enterprise projects are performing across the entire organization
The concept of “agile analytics” – which is to say, self-service, user-driven analytics and reporting that users control and run largely independent of IT – is not new. But it is an emerging capability for those that manage contingent labor, like CPOs, procurement, and HR. Agile CWM analytics are part of a larger trend of allowing end users to perform more of their own analysis and thusly move faster on critical business decisions. As the contingent workforce becomes an even bigger part of the “future of work” and the “gig economy,” being able to compile, categorize, analyze, and cut workforce data to user specification will enable contingent labor managers to make smarter decisions faster. It will allow them to be proactive and responsive to market shifts that are already occuring, and whose breadth and depth are yet to be fully understood.