CWS 3.0: January 11, 2012


Peek Under the Hood: What CW Managers Might Ask Siri

While waiting for my dentist recently, I had the great fortune to read the year-end issue of People magazine. In it was a one-page exposé about what celebrities ask of Siri, the personal assistant that’s embedded in the iPhone 4s.

I know you’d rather read about what People believes Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian ask Siri, but I’m going to focus on what CW managers might be asking Siri — and how she might respond.

“What are CW managers looking for from MSP and VMS providers?”

Remember in The Graduate when Mr. McGuire told Benjamin that he just wanted to say one word to him? Just one word? And it was plastics? Today, Mr. McGuire’s word would be “Analytics.” Not just data and not just reporting. But analysis of information in a way that creates the opportunity for proactive decision-making.

“How can I tell the difference between MSPs and VMSs? They all seem so alike.”

It can be difficult to distinguish providers, but if you look closely enough, you can tell. As CW manager, you need to press your current and potential partners on what makes them different from the companies against which they compete. And if they don’t have a compelling answer, you should reconsider why you would work with them.

Staffing Industry Analysts, the publisher of this newsletter, conducts research annually to help companies understand vendor offerings, how they are perceived in the marketplace, and how to distinguish them. The latest installment, published late last year, and is available to members of the CWS Council.

“What impact should crowdsourcing have on our CW strategy?”

Crowdsourcing’s roots are in the SOHO market, but have been rapidly moving up the food chain to larger companies, primarily in sectors such as creative or software development. Now we’re starting to see growth into the large corporate market. P&G uses crowdsourcing for product development, GE is crowdsourcing smarter power grids and Starbucks uses it as a tool to engender deeper and more meaningful customer feedback.

A recent Everest report highlighted in CWS 3.0 in December 2011 has more details for you. There are a significant number of examples for applications across any company.

“Why are there so many VMS acquisitions all of a sudden?”

This is an interesting trend in the market. There’s a variety of issues behind the M&A activity in the VMS space. One reason is the need for the venture capitalists or private equity funds that back a company to exit their investment. Another is the need for MSPs to vertically integrate with software offerings. Then there’s the consolidation play that helps create larger, potentially stronger companies with a combination of entities. Regardless, this is a trend that will not abate in the near future and all CW managers need to understand the long- and short-term plans of their business partners.

I’m sure my answers as Siri will not get me on the guest list at Apple’s Cupertino-Calif.headquarters anytime soon. But these responses do paint a pretty good picture of where the contingent workforce model stands as we begin 2012.

Jim Lanzalotto, a member of the Staffing 100, runs Scanlon.Louis, a strategy and marketing outsourcing firm that helps companies grow. He can be reached at or 610.212.5411.You can also follow him at



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