The new world of work has altered expectations of the MSP. There are organizations that have contingent workers representing a percentage of their workforce that is considered critical mass and rely on a global MSP to manage their billion-dollar-plus contingent worker programs. Other companies may have a smaller spend with an emphasis on specialized skill sets and manage their programs in-house. Contingent workforce programs are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Internal culture, corporate goals, structure and maturity level all come into play and each company has different requirements of its MSP.
Monument Consulting considers itself a “new-age” MSP, collaborating and partnering with other providers while helping companies solve their CW problems. Monument Consulting provides MSP services as well as consulting that fills in the gaps for programs — from leading a VMS implementation to helping manage a direct-sourcing initiative, to working on how the company can leverage their programs to meet DE&I goals. Monument Consulting President Ryan Baker talks about the company’s philosophy and how its consultative approach helps them recommend the right solutions.
There are those that believe that the traditional MSP model is stale. How would you counter that? Give us your model’s elevator pitch.
I don’t actually disagree with the statement that some MSP programs may be stale. That’s the nature of any business. But when you look at it from a req management standpoint, when you look at it from the perspective of vendor and supplier management, and then you look at hammering vendors on rates, that is kind of old news, that is stale.
But those three components — they are part of the package, now, right? Like how a radio and power windows are expected in cars. But if you look past those components to how you leverage the VMS and embrace how the contingent workforce, staff augmentation, SOW, profile tracking, payrolling strategies all fit into a company’s overall sourcing strategy, I don’t think that’s stale.
Sourcing workers is a huge deal. Think about what we’re about to go through as we emerge from Covid. I think there’s going to be a massive number of job openings and not enough people to fill them. Sourcing is going to be a huge component of any strategy, and temp labor falls into that sourcing strategy. So, I don’t think that’s stale.
And then you take it a step further and you think about the maturity curve of the industry and things like direct sourcing and you look at the way DE&I can be a component of your temp labor program, and I don’t think that’s stale. There’ll always be people that have an opinion here or there, but I think if we’re doing our jobs and we continue to evolve our offering in the MSP space, always adding value, MSPs should never get stale.
What services do you offer as a “new-age” MSP consultant? Give an example of how this works.
The consulting arm of our business fills a gap. Not everybody needs an MSP, not everybody wants an MSP. Some corporate cultures don’t outsource functionality. So, in those cases, it doesn’t mean that those firms don’t still have needs, that they don’t still have challenges and issues regarding contract labor. When you look at our MSP offering, there’s still a need for that, but there’s also this need for companies that may want to insource their programs or maybe they already have an MSP in place and they have some areas where they want to conduct a health-check and they need help to see how their program compares. What are they doing right? What are they doing wrong? It doesn’t even mean they’re going to change MSPs, it just means that they want an outside perspective. We can do all those things.
Explain what you see as the new-age MSP landscape. What type of programs benefit most from those services?
There are companies that will traditionally outsource functions. And then, because the industry is much more mature now, more companies want to decommission their MSP and bring it in-house, switch their VMS partner, those types of things. But we fill a gap. I don’t know how many other companies are doing what we do. I think of smaller organizations that use contingent labor, but don’t need a full-blown MSP. Their contingent spend doesn’t call for that. Or you’ve got a big organization that has a very mature PMO and they have a need around supplier management strategies, or they have a need to look at a rate analysis. Maybe they’re doing some configuration to their current VMS to utilize the VMS more effectively. Those are all areas we help with.
As a new-age provider, how would you collaborate with other providers if what the customer is asking for does not fit with what you offer?
As a consulting firm, that’s what we do. We collaborate a lot with different firms. If you think of direct sourcing, maybe a company has a direct-sourcing strategy and that’s going to be their play; they need a curation partner, they need a technology partner to integrate with the VMS they currently have. We work with an ecosystem of partners and are happy to make referrals. We can help make the introductions, but once the introductions are made, we’ll step away. But if they still need us to play a part, we can be there to play a part as a consultant as well.
At the end of the day, character is important to us and having integrity as an organization means we will recommend the right solutions. So, if we’re not that right solution, but we know who is, then we have no problem making those introductions and referring folks.
What is the philosophy and approach of your market strategy? Does the fact that you offer MSP services create a conflict with you as a consultant?
I’ll answer the last question first: I don’t think so. Actually, I’m pretty adamant that it doesn’t.
Going back to our philosophy, one of our shared values is high character and hard work above all else. We really live by that.
Monument looks at ourselves as educators. Our job is to educate the client on what they need to reach their specific goals and objectives. I don’t know if that always happens out there. I think sometimes someone tries to sell a hammer when the client needs a screwdriver, and that’s because all they have to offer is a hammer.
At the end of the day, I think our two offerings really complement each other well.
Does being a new-age MSP help program adoption?
What helps program adoption the most is having backing from the C-suite and from your customers. You need that support from a high level, whether it’s a consulting project or an MSP project. Going back to my analogy of, “Do you need a screwdriver or a hammer?” I think if you’re educating the client on what they truly need, adoption should be high in the first place. If you end up having conversations for six months or a year, or whatever the timeframe may be, and it doesn’t result in a partnership, then that’s fine too. But at the end of the day, you always hope for high adoption.
Why would a contingent workforce program choose the new-age MSP over the traditional MSP? Describe a business case.
You’ve heard it before: crawl, walk, run. Some clients are not ready to sprint right from the get-go. They do not feel comfortable just handing over the keys to the car and saying, “Take us down the road as fast as you can.” We’re able to go in and really understand the business needs, consult for a bit, make sure they’re truly making the right decision. We’re just there to guide them down the right path. And so, I think our ability to be flexible and agile regarding what the customer needs is helpful.
And as far as the business case, I think of an account that is actually an MSP account today, but it didn’t start that way. It began with a VMS implementation. We actually weren’t even involved at that point. The VMS provider called us and said, “Hey, I think that the client is going to need a third party to just be an extra set of eyes during the implementation. Would you be interested?” And we explained to the client what our part would be. We went through and said, “Hey, this is our portion of the race. We’ll stay in our lane,” and we helped as a third-party implementation consultant.
As we got further along in the implementation, the client got even more comfortable and was impressed with our strategy, our philosophy, and some of the commentary and recommendations we made throughout the process. They brought us in to be a little more involved in the implementation. We then set up an internal PMO for them — they wanted to run the program themselves — went live with the VMS, with the internal PMO. And then about six or seven months later, they came back to us and said, “You know what? We don’t really want to do this. You guys could probably do it better. Do you have interest in running our program?” And so we signed a pilot-like program, and the rest is history.
That is an example of the “crawl, walk, run” order of things. We came in as a third-party implementation partner and then, a year later, we’re running a program, which was never the intent but they came to us because of the comfort level that we had built over time.
How are tech advances impacting the new MSP landscape?
If you go back five years ago, or maybe a little longer, you had a lot of the census data: What was your head count? What’s the rolling 13-month history? How many temps did you have come on last quarter? How many came off? With the evolution of the tech, it’s so much more real-time now and we’re tracking so many different metrics. There’s your dashboard that you expect to see in a program and those metrics are tried and true and they have a place in every program — internally or externally run. And when you think of what the VMS tools are doing with their reporting, building on what they had years ago and making it stronger, and then you look at things like Tableau, and you have that elevated reporting and that real-time reporting; it’s just less static than it used to be and there’s more options when it comes to metrics.
If a client wants to bring in their diversity and inclusion program and look at that piece a bit closer when it comes to temp labor, we can bring that in. We have clients that are doing that today. So, it’s just a little more robust than it used to be. It’s a little more real-time. Security is obviously a big deal. You think of GDPR and all that is going on in Europe and even translating over here now, you’ve got to have that as part of your strategy when it comes to reporting because you want to make sure that your data is safe and there’s not too much personal information in there either. It gets tricky, but it can really help a business make the right decisions. We use the data to help customers to see trends, and look forward as well.
Then there is direct sourcing and the related technologies. We’re seeing more and more of that, more companies popping up and having experience to leverage and to use case studies and such.
And then there is the whole technology stack. Looking at the VMS as part of your technology stack, that’s key. It’s no longer just this technology that’s on the side. It should be a part of the technology stack and a really important critical spoke.
To learn how Monument Consulting can assist or advise your program, contact Maritza Morris, director of business development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.