According to the analysts at Aberdeen Group, on average 26% of world workforce headcount is considered "contingent", including contract and temporary staff. Clearly contingent labour-force outlays account for a huge portion of total spend. But Aberdeen asks if this spend is well-managed.
There are in fact very significant differences between best-in-class and laggard organizations concerning how contingent work is managed. Best-in-class managers get much better results (over 50% higher reporting program objectives achieved), better contingent workforce cost control and most important, significantly better overall organizational efficiency. This last benefit gets to the heart of the whole contingent workforce business case.
Why bother with all the effort and management time to organize contingent workforce scaling if your organization does enjoy overall improved efficiency as a result?
In a world of intense competition, contingent workforce scaling makes intuitive sense, and it's not surprising the Aberdeen Group has identified characteristics of the organizations that "do contingent" better. But why highlight these insights in this Decision Models forum on business process management technology?
BPM software advocates need look no further than the regular reports from the analysts at Aberdeen Group for terrific examples of BPM in action. The latest example, by Analyst William Jan, is AP Invoice Management in a Networked Economy (you can acquire this report without charge for a limited time via the embedded URL; registration is required).
The world of business process is about the processes at the core of any business. And for this reason unless you are an insider in any given function or vertical market, it's difficult to acquire in-depth knowledge about business processes in real life. Organizations tend to be reticent about revealing the secrets about how they do business; and as well, in any given function the processes reflect the complexity of corporate life and one is not likely to master that complexity over night.
So, for these reasons, the work by Aberdeen Group is very welcome. Their analysis work focuses especially on identifying best practices in various corporate functions, such as sales, accounts payables, inventory management, and so on. And although Aberdeen Group includes technology in its analyses, their work is refreshingly "business first".
The case of Accounts Payable is a nice example of an end-to-end process analysis of an important corporate function. Using A/P practices as a measure, and compared to "laggards", best-in-class organizations manage their A/P to deliver much better cash flow, which can have a huge impact on bottom lines.
On his ebizQ blog, Peter Schooff asked an important question (June 2012): "Has social BPM fallen short of expectations so far?" If you are exploring the promise of social BPM, the answers to Peter's questions are worth reading. Your host believes there are two key challenges before we will realize the promise of social BPM: (1) a technology challenge and (2) a governance challenge. Here are your host's comments, mirrored from ebizQ:
Some of the challenge around social BPM is associated with expectations and hype contrasted with the immaturity of social BPM software technology. There is a huge amount of research around "work", "narrative", "story" and "annotation", but that research has not truly been engineered yet into social BPM products. The result is that most current social products are not built on a solid model of how narrative works in the human mind and as communication transactions between actors. And typically, a model of "work", i.e. what should be the subject of conversation, is also missing. But, over time we should see these challenges addressed, and surely the result will be very exciting.
However, I believe there's another challenge beyond technology, which may be more difficult to solve. This is the challenge of "social technology governance".