Out With The Old, In With The New – Part 1

Is your contingent labor conference experience due for an upgrade?

December is the month contingent labor industry analysts and commentators make Top [insert # between 5 -100] lists and share their perspectives on industry happenings that have occurred year to date. I look forward to and genuinely enjoy reading their summaries and insights, especially those coming from experienced and intelligent voices within our industry like those at Spend MattersCPO Rising and Horses for Sources and several others. Reading their annual ‘takes’ on the state of the contingent labor industry helps me sum up the year and gauge my own professional alignment with the big events, trends, news stories and innovations.

Why look backwards?

Looking back at what was influences what is to be – that is if we are doing it right. So naturally, as one year comes to a close and a new one emerges, the lens on our own personal learning and development also comes into focus. Many of you are looking back at the conferences you attended and asking why you had to attend multiple conferences to cover the breadth of your program leadership role – one conference for recruiting temporary staff, one conference for sourcing SOW-based categories, yet another conference for vendor management systems, and still another for services procurement.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could go to one single conference that covers all the various related topics that impact your job in today’s contingent labor industry? Wouldn’t it be nice if there were one conference that tied all the disciplines and technologies and industry participants together into one cohesive and collaborative offering to help you make sense of it all?

Charting a new path forward

As part of the VMSA Live leadership team I can assure you Jeannine PariseJim Coughlin and I hear yours and many similar voices coming from all corners of the industry. We agree with you that the value proposition for attending a conference should be big and bold; an experience that keeps us current, introduces us to new ideas and helps us grow and improve with the market we work in; a conference agenda that is not narrowly defined but broad and expansive; an independent and truly conflict free environment where all topics and disciplines and perspectives are offered and welcomed; an industry conference less focused on who has the biggest, brightest booth with the coolest tchotchkes; and a conference where all industry participants (staffing and SOW suppliers, consultants, MSPs, VMSs, other support vendors, etc.) can attend, participate and sponsor without it being cost prohibitive or overly ‘exclusive’.

I, too, was one of those voices – while on the buy side as well as on the sell side – crying out for a better contingent labor conference experience, a better conference value for all attendees and sponsors, and a conference that more realistically mirrors all segments and interests of our industry.

What the contingent labor industry needs in a conference

With that as a backdrop, let’s begin our exploration (well ok, it’s my take) of the Top 5 things the contingent labor industry needs in a conference…

#1 – Industry Alignment

In years past we could go to a staffing industry only conference because that was essentially what our industry was… temporary staffing. But as our industry has grown, so has our need for a conference that actually covers the various different spend types, technologies, multiple supply bases, spend and vendor management strategies, etc. that are the dynamic, collective parts of today’s contingent labor program. VMSA Live covers the full scope of today’s program: from temporary labor to total talent and workforce management; from statement of work as a contingent labor channel for independent and non-independent contractors to outcome-based SOW engagements; from workflow technologies to all the various work intermediation platforms; and from traditional program management solutions to innovative managed sourcing program solutions.

At VMSA Live our mission is to set a new standard for what constitutes a contingent labor industry conference. That’s why we focus our session topics on case studies that relay real life experiences for you to learn from and take back to your jobs and panel discussions with all levels of leadership from program managers and directors to vendor and supplier executives and global category leaders. A few examples of how the VSMA Live agenda aligns with our industry…

  • Wendy Patience-O’Brien from Oracle will share her very recent VMS vendor selection experience and her strategy for leveraging that technology to expand her contingent labor program globally (temporary labor, ICs, talent pools and SOW).
  • Keynote Executive Panel to discuss current industry trends and future requirements of our programs, technologies, suppliers and even stakeholders. A cross-industry panel with executives from Geometric ResultsCollaberaGenesys TalentSchlumberger and Provade.
  • MSP Program Manager led interactive sessions to gain their insights on what it takes to overcome the many obstacles and to run a successful program. Broad representation from MSP leaders in our industry: Agile 1Allegis Group ServicesGeometric Results, Guidant Group, KellyOCG, Pontoon, Pinnacle Group, Randstad Sourceright, TAPFIN and Volt.
  • Talent Pools, Diversity, Technology Pavilion, Program Funding, Freelance Management Systems, Supplier Value Propositions, Negotiation Workshop, SOW Pricing, Category Management Strategies, Regulatory Pitfalls, Marketing Spend Management, Globalization, etc. etc. etc. Determine the relevancy of our agenda and see the breadth of industry participation for yourself… VMSA Live

In Part 2 of 5 I will continue the TOP 5 Things The Contingent Labor Industry Needs in a Conference with a focus on inclusion… and all of you are invited to read it!

Michael MatherlyComment