If you want something done right, you gotta...ask the experts!

MSPs have a job to do. VMSs have a job to do. Neither are tasked with analytics. Work with a company that is.

2/6/20243 min read

purple and blue light illustration
purple and blue light illustration

In the contingent labor industry – the niche yet expansive industry in which we find ourselves – the question of responsibility for analytics is a topic of surprising debate. The LinkedIn poll I recently conducted revealed an intriguing dichotomy: while everyone agrees that analytics are crucial (save for 1 vote of 50+), there is no consensus on who should take the reins. MSPs point towards VMSs, VMSs deflect back to MSPs, and caught in this crossfire are the end-buyers, who ultimately require quick access to accurate, actionable data so they can make informed decisions.

The impasse is telling. It underscores not just an operational gap but a strategic one. There are a few potential scenarios where end-client decision makers get the insights they need from their current vendors / program teams:

  1. MSPs or internal program teams would collate and analyze data that they pull from the raw data reporting in the VMS OR

  2. VMSs would provide the technological infrastructure native within the tool to facilitate this analysis.

Yet, when neither party steps forward to a meaningful degree, the importance of a specialist in contingent labor analytics becomes not just important, but essential.

Why is a specialist pivotal in this scenario? It is because of the complex and the multifaceted nature of contingent workforce data. Contingent labor analytics encompass not just the who and the how many, but also the why and the what next. It delves into trends, spending, compliance, efficiency, and effectiveness. Such depth and breadth of analysis cannot be an afterthought or a side task—it requires dedicated attention.

A strong analytics structure brings to the table a laser focus on data intelligence. These specialist firms and consultancies are adept at converting raw data into meaningful insights, trends into strategies, and challenges into opportunities. Their expertise extends beyond number-crunching and goes into deep dives and forecasting, areas that are increasingly becoming a competitive necessity in contingent workforce management.

Additionally, the role of analytics goes beyond checking the box. Analytics now stands as table stakes for a successfully run program and serves as the bridge between data and strategy, technology (VMS) and human capital management (MSP). They understand that in the contingent labor market, data is not just about filling positions but strategically optimizing a workforce. This holistic view allows end-buyers to not just operate but innovate. It empowers leaders to open a dialogue with folks across the organization that will improve satisfaction, worker productivity, and cost savings.

As the contingent workforce grows in size and significance across the world in the age of “just-in-time skills inventories,” the stakes are higher. Leaving such a critical function in the hands of those who may not prioritize it is not just an oversight—it's a risk.

In the face of reluctance from MSPs and VMSs, the role of an analytics specialist becomes a strategic advantage. They are the ones who can harness the power of data, turning it into a competitive edge. They can identify patterns that highlight inefficiencies ripe for improvement and reveal opportunities for cost savings that others might miss.

While MSPs and VMSs are integral to the contingent labor ecosystem, the need for a dedicated analytics specialist is clear. They fill a crucial gap, ensuring that analytics are not just done, but done well, with the insights and foresight that modern organizations need. As the contingent workforce continues to grow, the companies that recognize and invest in this role will be the ones that lead. The responsibility for contingent labor analytics should not be a question of passing the buck—it should be about partnering with those most capable to complete the task.

blue and white smoke illustration
blue and white smoke illustration