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Software Strategies - Decoding Value in the Extended Workforce

Using the right mix of technology to deliver an effective extended workforce strategy

Episode highlights


Current approach to extended workforce management within most organisations
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The entry point to accessing workforce specific software solutions
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How can organisations build a tech stack to include all channels effectively?
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Management and measurement across difference workforce channels
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Reality versus expectations in extended workforce solutions
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Posted by: ZivioReading time: 114 minutes

With Alex Farr, EW Scope

00;00;00;00 - The evolution of extended workforce software over the last 20 years
00;10;10;02 - Defining the extended workforce
00;14;20;17 - Current approach to extended workforce management within most organisations
00;20;30;23 - The entry point to accessing workforce specific software solutions
00;37;51;10 - How can organisations build a tech stack to include all channels effectively?
00;45;36;18 - Management and measurement across difference workforce channels
00;57;20;08 - Miscategorisation in workforce tech
01;03;21;07 - Reality versus expectations in extended workforce solutions 

Transcript - Auto-generated. Please excuse any minor errors.

00;00;00;00 - 00;00;11;13
Jonny Dunning
Right. So let's get cracking. I'm delighted to be joined by Alex Farr from EW Scope today joining me on the podcast. Alex thank you very much for joining me. How are you?

00;00;11;15 - 00;00;14;11
Alex Farr
I'm doing very well, Jonny Yeah it's great to see.

00;00;14;14 - 00;00;35;12
Jonny Dunning
Excellent. So we were just talking about this almost being like a conversation in a magical mythical pub where everyone cares about extended workforce and they're all interested in services, procurement and that sort of thing. So in our own heads, that's where we are. And we've got some really interesting topics to dive into today, particularly around software strategies in that area.

00;00;35;12 - 00;00;50;23
Jonny Dunning
So we've titled it Decoding Value in the Extended workforce, which I think is a great title and we've got loads of cool stuff to discuss, but at least for the next hour, I think for us that magical pub hopefully will exist.

00;00;50;25 - 00;00;56;19
Alex Farr
Well, yeah, you know, let's, let's make sure we've got that path and join hands or one of these apps to do our drinks on the way.

00;00;56;19 - 00;01;15;10
Jonny Dunning
So that's excellent stuff. So before we actually get into the topics, but for the benefit of people listening and watching, would you be able to just give a bit of a potted history of your background in the industry, where you've come from, where you've done what you've built up, the knowledge around this area, and also what you're doing now?

00;01;15;13 - 00;01;47;03
Alex Farr
Yeah, 100%. So I'm 47, so not how, you know, people might look at that and say, well, you know, you're quite young in the industry, but I see myself with 2022 years experience within contingent workforce predominately spent the majority of my career working for a vendor management software have almost 20 years. I'm and I actually started right back in 2003 when the continued work for software was very new to to the UK.

00;01;47;03 - 00;02;08;09
Alex Farr
So basically started in a team of three people delivering MSP services with this crazy thing called a VMs, which no one really knew what it was back in those days, but it was a tool basically to help us recruit that for our clients. I'm I think the majority of my experience has come through the I started off in the MSP world because technology back in those days was very limited.

00;02;08;12 - 00;02;39;24
Alex Farr
And then I was lucky enough to I'd show some initiative and take on new role throughout my career as part of my company and start to grow a team in Europe. And basically that was a team across implementation. Initially to start helping teams implement and then deliver the service throughout that client lifecycle. And as my career grew, I'm obviously the software and services within within our industry started to grow and the visibility and maturity of the market started to grow.

00;02;39;24 - 00;03;03;18
Alex Farr
So that gave me more opportunity to expand what I think. I essentially started to run teams within solution design management, ultimately looking over the whole spectrum of what a client would need from a software provider. And I decided to leave leave this for my company last year and set my own business. Now people ask me, Why did you do that?

00;03;03;18 - 00;03;33;00
Alex Farr
You've been in a company for 20 years. I think. I think the case is you get to a certain time in your career where you're always wanting more and there's always a shelf life to what you can do in a company. But I was seeing some real gaps in, you know, the clients I was working with and some of the clients that were lost in that time around how they were actually understanding what was required to manage and implement software services and manage services to support those.

00;03;33;03 - 00;03;59;19
Alex Farr
So I decided to great my business. EW Scope as you take by the word meaning extended workforce scope, we would hopefully know what that means. The scope is based on two factors, Jonny. So one is around actually understanding the need and the value of what a client wants and also providing spec perspective and then also looking at the people side of things and the impact that the performance of people have on actually managing those solutions as well.

00;03;59;21 - 00;04;03;09
Alex Farr
So that's me, that's pretty much where I am. One here.

00;04;03;12 - 00;04;18;00
Jonny Dunning
20 years is a pretty good stint at one company, I'd say. I mean, you know, I, I take my hat off to anybody setting up their own business and obviously you built up a huge amount of expertise over that period of time. But yeah, 20 years is pretty good. Pretty good going.

00;04;18;02 - 00;04;29;00
Alex Farr
Yeah. It doesn't feel like it, you know, never feels like to leave. And then you suddenly realize that, you know, when I start that job, I was I was 27 and I'm now less than 48. So yeah, a little bit scary.

00;04;29;07 - 00;04;40;18
Jonny Dunning
Well, you look like you've probably still got roughly the same amount of hair you had must have had when you were about 27. I wish I could say the same. When I look back at my career, you know.

00;04;40;20 - 00;04;50;15
Alex Farr
It's it's a trait in my family. Unfortunately, we got very big. And ultimately, I think I've grown a little thick skinned by being in this industry for the last 20 years.

00;04;50;18 - 00;05;17;01
Jonny Dunning
Well, I did think it was it was quite interesting the fact that you've been in the industry for such a long period of time, because like you say, when you talk about early 2000, that was really the kind of beginning of the VMs journey, and it was where you had this situation that was evolving, where there were MSP services tied to the technology, and then there was the whole question of do you pursue the technology on its own?

00;05;17;04 - 00;05;34;15
Jonny Dunning
Is it a dual service? What about the other, you know, recruitment managed service providers that the organizations that were already established just to kind of provide those recruitment services that were then moving more into continued workforce? That must have been quite a fascinating time seeing the whole industry kind of work that out on the contingent workforce side.

00;05;34;17 - 00;06;01;29
Alex Farr
Well, definitely. And you know, with it being a relatively new concept, especially in the UK, right, obviously the US market is mature, but you know, you look sort of mid-nineties I suppose when it really started to take off, but even trying to get a recruitment team to engage with the managed service provider, which is as I mentioned, where I started my role, that that alone was difficult right to work under that process of who's this business coming in and trying to factor what I'm doing and trying to control what I'm doing.

00;06;02;02 - 00;06;26;08
Alex Farr
I'm, you know, and it's still still today. You know, there are still challenges with that, Right. You know, specific niche supply chains still struggle to be engaged within a specific program. But we could come up to those a bit later, I think in some of the other topics I have. But from a technology perspective, you know, back in those days, it literally was, you know, basic bog standard process, you know, very inflexible technology.

00;06;26;13 - 00;06;45;14
Alex Farr
And it almost made it difficult to get clients and to get your supply chain engaged in using them. Right. Is you know, you're asking them to come into a different world, change the route of the way they're actually operating, and then use the system, by the way, which is it's going to take you a little bit more time to go through the process.

00;06;45;16 - 00;07;08;09
Alex Farr
And if you flip back to where that is today and, you know, there are still some similarities, but I would definitely say, you know, it was hard, right? It was hard. You know, I and I would say that, you know, the technology now has really advanced to a third perspective, that the options available to manage service providers and also the entire it's so vast.

00;07;08;14 - 00;07;36;22
Alex Farr
It's so vast and patchwork. Well, if you're coming to our industry today, you might not look at it that way. You might think, okay, yeah, you know, we've got these options. But when you set back 20 years about where we were and what we were doing, I'm, you know, it's amazing. And the Chinese that I see during part of the discussion today is just the visibility and the understanding of the buyers in the market to actually really understand what technology's out there to do to support them.

00;07;36;24 - 00;07;57;03
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, because when you've got a limited choice, it's like the whole I can't remember whose famous kind of business this was, but around, you know, a greater amount of choices leading to indecision and the optimum number of choices being kind of like no more than five or something like on a restaurant menu, for example. There are too many choices.

00;07;57;03 - 00;08;13;06
Jonny Dunning
People come in, they might not they end up being dissatisfied, you know, reduce number of choices. So there's a benefit. In those early days when there were a few, the very small number of service providers to choose from for a specific thing. But there was a massive adoption challenge of let's get you doing things in a completely different way.

00;08;13;06 - 00;08;40;27
Jonny Dunning
Let's get you on a platform that probably was in premise, on premise in a lot of cases back in the day. But, you know, a software platform, which is a different mode of working, whereas today you've got in some ways easier adoption because you've got more specialized software, you've got a greater range of software to choose from. But your adoption challenges then more about the business change management process to move in a certain direction, there's always that challenge.

00;08;40;29 - 00;08;56;10
Jonny Dunning
So it's easier to adopt technology because it's easier to use, but you've got more to choose from. So when you look at a giant list of different technologies that could make up your stack, if that's the challenge for people to to work out what fits where they're in mind, that specific business.

00;08;56;12 - 00;09;22;15
Alex Farr
definitely. You know, it's you know, when you look at that, the way the industry has evolved in how we categorize different types of contingent labor in the market now compared to where it was is again, vastly different. You know, the options available, you know, whether it be sticking to work services, allocating staffing, direct sourcing, freelance management system, we are just looking for compliance and onboarding, you know, the variety of options there.

00;09;22;15 - 00;09;45;18
Alex Farr
So I think where where the challenge is is that, you know, how is it that a client in a bar is making sure that, you know, they firstly understand which categories they really need the support for and then which are the right, which are the right providers to get to about it. And so that's, you know, you spot on, that's where I them as a complexity to what we do today.

00;09;45;23 - 00;09;59;29
Alex Farr
However, it is obviously much more mature in relation to the technologies and what those kind of technologies can provide, but it makes it more complex to actually work out which one do I go to, you know, where is best for me to go?

00;10;00;01 - 00;10;21;16
Jonny Dunning
Yeah. How to add them together? Do I go to Best of Breed? Is it one ring to rule them all, to use a Lord of the Rings kind of quote. But, the what would you you just describe various kind of like what I would call workforce channels there. What would you how would you define the kind of in its broadest kind of terms, the extended workforce?

00;10;21;16 - 00;10;25;28
Jonny Dunning
How would you define that, possibly fairly similar to what you just listed?

00;10;26;01 - 00;10;47;24
Alex Farr
Well, yeah, you know, it's you know, I don't say I try not to overcomplicate it because I think it gets complicated enough people. And so you've got your traditional, you know, contingent staffing, which is really where the software has come from, right. In the years years gone by, which is, you know, you start embellishment management. And when I say standard, I don't wish to put systems down on that basis.

00;10;47;24 - 00;11;19;24
Alex Farr
But as you get one same right, the standard standard practice doing it, then obviously what's evolved out of these other channels because of whether it's regulation, different types of approaches to hire and different ways to attract talent, you know, you then I suppose we categorize a number of those solutions in what you could call direct sourcing slash freelance management systems, because technically they follow the same process, but the end product might be slightly different and the starting sorting might might be slightly different.

00;11;19;27 - 00;11;49;13
Alex Farr
And then ultimately, you know, what we've seen is, is a lot of that categorization around statement of work, right? So, so back in the early days, you know, it was pretty much contingent staffing and then you saw a number of these bodies circumventing the system to be able to recruit, you know, the project based staff. And we then started to see all of these work is start to come through maybe contingent workforce systems like UPMC and but you know, the company you work for, we've seen us segregate, right?

00;11;49;13 - 00;12;16;06
Alex Farr
We see not segregate into your true statement of work specialist area as well. So I'd probably categorize those. So if it's kind of contingent staffing, what I would call talent pool direct sourcing financing in one and then statement of work and then you've got your add ons, right? Your, your, your compliance and your onboarding, which is now we've seen in the last year and a half, it's had some really, really positive softwares out there that are enabling that function.

00;12;16;12 - 00;12;41;08
Alex Farr
So in essence, as a buyer, you know, if you're a multinational organization, lots of different sourcing channels, how is it that you could just select one provider? You might be able to look at one and two overall services or one internal team to a variety of services, But then how how do you categorize which softwares are best for which type of that, which type of source to get the talent name?

00;12;41;11 - 00;13;00;14
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, it's a it's a classic kind of sweet versus best of breed conundrum as well, isn't it? Where I remember back in the day people used to talk about, well, an applicant tracking system and a nature information system should basically do the same thing, but it never worked. So so there's there's different arguments and different points of view on that kind of topic.

00;13;00;16 - 00;13;25;27
Jonny Dunning
But yeah, when you when you look at the different workforce channels, I'd say particularly outsourcing versus engaging people, there are some clear differences, but I think, you know, that definition is really interesting and this is this is the area, this is kind of like my pet topic. It's kind of my subject matter expertise is basically around how organizations get work done or how they use technology to get work done.

00;13;26;04 - 00;14;01;29
Jonny Dunning
So that could be how they manage through their permanent permanent staff contracts as temps, freelancers, gig economy, and then outsourcing it. Obviously the services procurement stuff, which is which is my absolute focus. But ultimately they're all ways of organizations getting work done and and they are the extended workforce or extended capacity and capability of an organization. And particularly when you look at the growth of, for example, outsourcing and the growth of services as a spend element of an organizational or organization, spend is massively important.

00;14;02;06 - 00;14;24;25
Jonny Dunning
But ultimately organizations need to be able to clearly define what's the most effective way for them to get work done. So they need these options. They need to know which which options are the best fit for a particular scenario. And that's complicated when you look at market maps and it can become quite a task for people. So so obviously that's that's one of your big strengths.

00;14;24;27 - 00;14;34;00
Jonny Dunning
how would you describe the current approach that you see to this kind of extended workforce management within most organizations?

00;14;34;02 - 00;14;55;05
Alex Farr
We don't ultimately want to repeat too much about what I said, but I think you know that the challenge that we have is that I think our industry evolve with evolving, right? The number of, as we've mentioned, brand softwares that are coming out. I think what is lacking has been lacking in the approach is how businesses are changing their approach to actually understanding what they need.

00;14;55;05 - 00;15;21;17
Alex Farr
So we very much pain and again, nothing based on any any software provider and or services provider. But we've always been a very provided driven industry, you know, because ultimately there were a smaller number of providers that are in the marketplace that provided a specific type of solution. I'm and I think by the voice heavily relied on sort of understanding what they need, right.

00;15;21;19 - 00;15;47;18
Alex Farr
For not having a clear definition about what they actually need, but then engaging providers at a certain point where they don't yet really know if that's the solution that they want. And I think, you know, the challenges with the with the approach that I see, I'm sure others would have different opinions. It's the buyers are not spending enough time really truly understanding what they need before they start going out to the market.

00;15;47;21 - 00;16;07;03
Alex Farr
And then, you know, I've been in this scenario on the provider side for 20 years. It's it's a case of, you know, you can spend three months working with that that line to try and define exactly what is it that they want. They know that they've got a need, but they don't really know if that's the right and they don't know what value to get from it.

00;16;07;05 - 00;16;23;29
Alex Farr
So I think that for me is probably one of the biggest things. It's not it's not what's being developed in relation to software and services. It's just how the maturity of the businesses utilizing them are approaching the selection and understanding of what they need. If that makes sense.

00;16;24;02 - 00;16;53;17
Jonny Dunning
It does make complete sense to me. Do you do you find that there are issues sometimes around the kind of segmentation of buyers within an organization in the sense that, for example, somebody who deals specifically with contingent workforce like a contingent workforce category manager, for example, might well not deal with services procurement or might well not deal with like gig transactions that are going through the marketing category manager and procurement, where they're buying in freelancers to do marketing stuff.

00;16;53;19 - 00;17;10;12
Jonny Dunning
Is it is it sometimes a question of actually being able to capture that broader context when you when we talk about, as we just described, that scope of extended workforce or extended capacity capability, it's not necessarily just going to be one stakeholder?

00;17;10;15 - 00;17;29;27
Alex Farr
100%. And I think this has always been the challenge yet again, I'm focusing on maybe, you know, I've got to give you an example, right? We're looking more at maybe a multinational company rather than a company that just does one specific function right? This is where the complexities come, right? You've got a large organization at different sourcing channels.

00;17;29;27 - 00;17;53;23
Alex Farr
They're not necessarily all managed under one function, but then you have one department that may drive it, right? So they might be the department that goes, We need a solution that needs to fit our purpose of what we need. So and that department might have nothing to do with services, might might not have nothing to do with what's happening on the sort of the geek side, you know, the freelance side building people quickly.

00;17;53;26 - 00;18;28;11
Alex Farr
So a company then might make a decision without putting in the right people to purchase a software that is specifically focused maybe on contingent staffing, but may do other functions. Right. You then, you know, as a business pushing on to that organization, a software that isn't going to meet that business's needs for that. And what you tend to find, what I tend to find out is, is that that software is then utilized to then be pushed over the departments and then you start to, you know, do fine, right?

00;18;28;11 - 00;18;48;25
Alex Farr
You start to get disengaged because if you've got are you going to stick to your point And if you've got a manager in. Yeah. In services that's got a specific project, need it being told to use the system that doesn't fit for purpose, then then you know you stop, right? You're pretty much stuck. You're on a losing battle all the way through.

00;18;48;25 - 00;19;11;20
Alex Farr
So I think my, my point is, is that and to your point is that businesses just need to take a step back a little bit and start to understand. Well, okay, great. That's that's forcing channel. But what are what other channels are out there right. You know, we know that Dave over here has been recruiting, you know, services which engage time and resources almost every resource resources.

00;19;11;23 - 00;19;47;00
Alex Farr
But we also know we've got a very hard to fill area where we use, you know, people from a freelance perspective that that's direct awful. So I just I just wish that companies would take a step back. Now, I know that's not always possible or I know that's not possible. That timeline that's in place to implement services and that by just stopping and then just utilizing a little bit across collaboration within a business, I think you can add real value because engaging one system to try and manage all types of aspire, to me it doesn't exist and people may exist, but it doesn't exist.

00;19;47;00 - 00;19;51;23
Alex Farr
So you need to make sure you really understand the need of what solutions are out there to support them.

00;19;51;26 - 00;20;13;29
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, it's a really good point and is is being more strategic, isn't it? It's like you say, taking a step back because an organization might have an urgent need in one area. Let's just say continue workforce, for example, that might be a particular key stakeholder in procurement is trying to centralize that, but it might be one business unit or it might be one country.

00;20;13;29 - 00;20;37;05
Jonny Dunning
And ultimately the decisions they make around technology are generally you know, it's it's a it's an investment in time. It's an investment in change management. It's a strategic choice. So so it should be addressed really with, you know, a strategic decision making process at the first in the first instance. I was going to ask you, from your point of view, what's the kind of what's the kind of Goldilocks point to start from?

00;20;37;05 - 00;21;01;27
Jonny Dunning
Is it to start with nothing? Is it to start with an organization that's, you know, first gen, let's call it that, where they're coming into it going, we've got carnage going on with all different types of workers, all over the place. Or is the Goldilocks Zone slightly more mature? Where's the best place to kind of for you when you look at it and think, I can come in here and give some expertise to this organization, what's the the ideal entry point?

00;21;01;29 - 00;21;26;09
Alex Farr
Well, most of it, you know, I don't think there is, you know, like, you know, ideal point, you know, each business is over the years, you know, they they've taken their choices at some points. And for me, I don't think there is a you know right you go to you know a Gen One client at the ME this is how you know it's no difference to me whether someone is, you know, given one or whether they had.

00;21;26;12 - 00;21;50;13
Alex Farr
I continued staffing like you know I'm want to implement services don't know how to implement services. I don't think it really matters. You know, I think what matters is that you see a client has, you know, real room need for change, right? So it's not it's not so much about where they are now, what they're going to be, but they've got to they can see the appetite and see the need that something needs to happen.

00;21;50;15 - 00;22;11;17
Alex Farr
I'm like, I've been involved with clients that are and probably third gen, I would I would say now I am but because of what they done, a profit is disabled them able to actually change what they're doing and implement new services. That is a great challenge, right? But it's a tough one. It's probably tougher than a Gen one who doesn't know where the how to get it right.

00;22;11;20 - 00;22;38;20
Alex Farr
And so that's a bit of a roundabout answer to your question. I don't think there is one ideal profile. So say I think I think I am, yeah. If I'm if I'm stepping out with this technology, whatever maturity level that that client is on and how far they've been, it's really more about that, the client's approach, right? So for me I'm is that clients approach about how they're actually understanding the scope of what they're looking at.

00;22;38;20 - 00;22;59;06
Alex Farr
Right. That that for me is what really infuses me. You know when I when I see a client, I'm that is having challenges physically understanding. Well I don't even know I don't I don't know what my challenges are, but I don't know what I need. That that to me is is the opportunity. And that doesn't need to be Gen one.

00;22;59;12 - 00;23;22;26
Alex Farr
Of course, you will see that on the majority of Gen ones, but if you're looking for a more mature one, you know, if you've got a program manager who's been focused on contingent staffing, temp workers trying to look at and understand, well, how do I engage the stakeholders for, you know, to manage your services and then maybe these niche areas or even we've got problems with compliance, haven't got a clue where to go, what the need is.

00;23;22;26 - 00;23;26;24
Alex Farr
So, so I think it's that side of it that gets me going.

00;23;26;26 - 00;23;38;17
Jonny Dunning
Well, the point I wrote down when when I when you started answering about what's the kind of best place to start from, the thing that kind of jumped out to me was I made a note to say, when they've decided it's important.

00;23;38;20 - 00;23;40;17
Alex Farr
Yeah, yeah, pretty much it.

00;23;40;19 - 00;24;00;23
Jonny Dunning
And it kind of ties back into what we were discussing before we started recording today. When I was talking about the kind of that we see this in our clients. When people decide to act on getting services procurement under control, you need change makers within the business. You need people who are kind of like disruptive, rebellious leader types who just want to get stuff done.

00;24;00;23 - 00;24;15;06
Jonny Dunning
They see a problem and they say it's not good enough. We're not going to ignore it. Even if the business is profitable and doing really well, we need to do better. So I think there's a huge value in the actual type of person that you're dealing with. You need someone to to to be a change maker. Really don't you?

00;24;15;11 - 00;24;27;07
Jonny Dunning
And I guess that person may be the person that's decided it's important or they may be person to person that whoever has decided it's important has said and that person is going to make it happen.

00;24;27;09 - 00;24;57;06
Alex Farr
Well, yeah, for sure. Right. You need you need very, very smart people to make sure they're making the right decisions. But you need to a united team to push you. Right. Because you know, these things are never done by one person. They do that then by collective. And yeah, you know, if stakeholder management even right at the start if we didn't start engage services, not it's not a solid position or line, then of course you know, it's not saying it's going to fail, but you might not get the value that you really want, really expect.

00;24;57;08 - 00;25;19;08
Alex Farr
AM So, you know, I think really, you know, you need to look more junior, not just having a disruptor because, you know, having a disruptive guy, you really need someone who is, is what I would create, right. Is is somebody who's got really strong spirit to really come up with ideas and feel free to sort of understand what the need is.

00;25;19;08 - 00;25;38;20
Alex Farr
Right? And then you need to make sure you're bringing in other personalities within that team. You know, you need strong people who are going to build, you know, a real strong appetite within the business, right, to to make change. Right? So I'm there's a whole mix of different types of profiles to to get it. But of course. Right.

00;25;38;22 - 00;26;02;06
Alex Farr
You've got to get it. You've got to get it. The stakeholders have worked. So like I've seen you know, I've seen many projects in my time be very successful and many projects not so mainly because of how the stakeholders have managed the program right. And you can have the best software solution, but if you don't have the right buy from from the client side, you're you're stuck in.

00;26;02;06 - 00;26;25;27
Alex Farr
You don't right. You don't even and you know, put the case here, right? You've just purchased the software and but you haven't really understood what value you want to get from it and you haven't got the buy in from those stakeholders. So so that's great. But that's going to fail, right? You're not you're not going to have a service that gives you the value you want because you haven't brought that stakeholder group together.

00;26;25;29 - 00;26;45;12
Alex Farr
Understand and truly come. Now, the other part of it is about measurement, right? So, so great, right? And maybe we now understand the value that we want to get from from whatever service software we want to bring in. But I think, you know, businesses make mistakes where they don't understand how to measure that right? So, okay, if you're not measuring, how do you how do you know who you're getting it?

00;26;45;12 - 00;27;13;19
Alex Farr
But I'm talking very basic terms. But when you're looking at a business that has so many different sourcing channels and maybe so many stakeholders involved, sometimes we forget the basics, the basic check checklist to go through and forget to turn to money as well. Journey, right? You see, you see clients really get to that position, bring it in it, provide it, but yet they haven't got that stakeholder bind to to get budget from those different teams to actually implement services.

00;27;13;19 - 00;27;24;29
Alex Farr
So I know that's a bit bit more of an answer to what you were saying. Start. But you know it takes a lot to implement these services and people should never underestimate it.

00;27;25;02 - 00;27;54;02
Jonny Dunning
You make some great points. I think, you know, in terms of what I was saying about change makers, you're absolutely right. It's not just about one person going around causing carnage. And I, I recorded a podcast with Alan Withers from Talent earlier this week, actually really, really interesting discussion. And the way he was describing it was it's that kind of you need to change maker, but then then it's a team effort, so there needs to be a team around them and also that you need to have that executive support.

00;27;54;05 - 00;28;03;09
Jonny Dunning
It has to have all of those elements to really be able to get moving. And that's where you can get kind of right stuff done, which which I love to see.

00;28;03;12 - 00;28;24;18
Alex Farr
People not just don't we need, you know, one of the one of the things that you know, I've seen great impact is what have been working with clients is actually assessing that group of stakeholders leaders motivations to actually why they're doing it right. Because, you know, if if all of these is not motivated in the right channel, then again, it will, you know, you won't get the value you expect.

00;28;24;18 - 00;28;33;06
Alex Farr
So so, you know, basically just saying don't forget about human impact if if what's going to happen when you're selecting services.

00;28;33;08 - 00;28;50;04
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, definitely. And when you look at the people involved, you know, how much do they know about this? It's not just one topic. You know, some might be quite a few with, you know, their permanent recruitment procedures and have done a lot of hiring in the past. But contractors and temps are different are a different kettle of fish.

00;28;50;06 - 00;29;11;06
Jonny Dunning
Freelancers gig marketplace is they're all very different. And then when you get services procurement even more different because it's you're outsourcing a service to a supplier to deliver an outcome rather than paying a person for their time. And that's something that I see time and time again where there's a lack of understanding within organizations as to the nuances of this.

00;29;11;08 - 00;29;50;22
Jonny Dunning
And that's where it comes down to who's controlling the capacity of this company. You know, is it strategic workforce planning? Is it per pa procurement, is it h.R. And talent is different, different parts at play which kind of feeds into the magical total talent management or total resource management scenario. But but that when you said about the client needs to understand the scope that really kind of struck home to me because because you know, the scope is significant if you're looking at this in any way holistically and if it's in any way a large and complex organization, they're going to get stuff done in lots of different ways.

00;29;50;22 - 00;30;09;16
Jonny Dunning
And probably some of the ways that they're getting stuff done they don't even know about, you know, the people buying gig workers through a credit card or just a company credit card and people circumventing hiring processes to just outsource. There's all sorts of stuff that goes on. So I thought that was a really, really interesting point.

00;30;09;18 - 00;30;26;20
Alex Farr
Yeah, Yeah. We've all we've all the business business. You know, nothing that anyone touches you can deem is wrong, right? It's just the lack of it. It's just a lack of understanding and lack of and, you know, utilization of the right processes, the right things. You know, it's not like a push down to somebody you shouldn't be hiring.

00;30;26;23 - 00;30;44;26
Alex Farr
It's like, well, that's that's just how it's been done. I so it's it's about changing the way it's like yeah you know you you ultimately here trying to in this scenario manage your workforce in one channel but you need to stop and think what are the other channels that can best fit those.

00;30;44;28 - 00;30;57;02
Jonny Dunning
Yeah and it's what's the most effective way to get this particular work done. Should we be doing it internally? Hiring somebody, say that should be contracting, it should be outsourcing it to a service provider. There's lots of different ways.

00;30;57;05 - 00;31;20;06
Alex Farr
You know, I do I do see myself sometimes only, you know, and again, it's sort of basic checklist questions, Right. So when you know, when you're looking to gain that scope, Right. When you're looking to understand that scope, you know, how how do you really understand if you are asking the right questions internally to the business? Right. So now what efficiencies can be gained and what compliance can be improved?

00;31;20;10 - 00;31;42;17
Alex Farr
It might be the answer. This question is not enough. Nothing. Actually, where we're good, we don't need anything. That's great. Pick. What about visibility? What about, you know, the control that you've got on processes? And what about how much money we're spending on it? And I know just it's just it's just making sure that the businesses are asking themselves those questions in that early stage process.

00;31;42;17 - 00;32;00;22
Alex Farr
And it might only be one answer that comes out that says actually it's our approach to statement of work that is causing us the problems. Right, Right. Let's not look at this holistic, you know, five or six sort of approaches, but let's just focus on statement of work because that's going to have the biggest will now and then let's look at the other ways.

00;32;00;22 - 00;32;10;17
Alex Farr
And that's not always followed the big spend. Let's let's follow what's important to the business. So I think, again, that will grow back into that early understanding SCOPE.

00;32;10;20 - 00;32;37;12
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, Yeah, absolutely. You mentioned about companies kind of starting down the road with a particular technology where maybe they've just assessed one area and it's been the knee jerk area where someone said, we need to bring something in here or alternatively you do hear a lot about people kind of saying something shiny in a demo and then going, I want that rather than thinking, What's your problem?

00;32;37;15 - 00;33;01;01
Jonny Dunning
You know, going back to that original thing of what is the actual problem and what is that fundamentally, what is the scope with this is not something that you see commonly in terms of people ending up partway through, you know, a lifecycle of having a technology and like you say, maybe trying to stretch it beyond what it's designed to do, hack it around and end up in a kind of not not fit for purpose situation.

00;33;01;04 - 00;33;21;22
Alex Farr
Yeah, I've spoken to a few clients in the last 6 to 9 months around that. But also, you know, when I was actually working for a provider, you know, it's, you know, it goes back to my point right at the start, which is it's, you know, our in our industry I suppose area of where we provide services and, you know, the client base and this is every client high.

00;33;21;25 - 00;33;44;29
Alex Farr
But if we generalize it on the basis that the majority of people maybe are not mature enough in what's on how to manage things. Right. And it gets very much on the basis that a provider will maybe drive what the client thinks they need and what value they're going to get from it. So so I think that's that's really what I see and I continue to see that and we will continue to see that as time goes on right.

00;33;44;29 - 00;34;12;08
Alex Farr
Because, you know, every everyone is out there to to make some money. Right. And everyone wants that to bring new clients into their business. But from my perspective, one of the worst one of the things I used to hate see so much is, you know, you're implementing a client and you can see that that line is awesome. It actually maybe isn't 100% going to fit their needs, but you've got to implement it and you've got to do the best to implement it and shoehorn those little additional bits in.

00;34;12;11 - 00;34;22;18
Alex Farr
I think it was sold and can't be implemented. Right. And I'm so yet 100% right that that's still a big, big thing.

00;34;22;20 - 00;34;46;27
Jonny Dunning
So I want to come on to a point around looking at how organizations can go about building this kind of tech stack that suitable for their needs. But just before we do that, I want to come back to one of the point where people are looking at the scope and looking at the case for change. And again, my conversation with with Allen from and he made a great point saying it's much more difficult to put together a case for change in a business that's doing well.

00;34;46;29 - 00;35;06;29
Jonny Dunning
If a business and I'm sure you've seen this as well, where it's like there's massive potential cost savings and maybe you as a service provider can see that the huge potential cost savings, but weirdly, in some cases very successful businesses aren't that bothered about that sometimes when they're doing well. And it's just like you could be you might be profitable, but you could be a lot more profitable.

00;35;07;04 - 00;35;11;05
Jonny Dunning
I find that interesting and frustrating, but it's a very true thing.

00;35;11;08 - 00;35;30;01
Alex Farr
Of course, you know why? Why, why change? Why change something that's working right? You feel like you're getting the benefit of it and you might be achieving the cost savings that are that right. But there are so many other factors similar to what I just mentioned earlier around different aspects. What do you. Okay, let's step back. Mr. Client.

00;35;30;03 - 00;35;54;20
Alex Farr
Mrs. Kline, you know, what are the factors that are important when it comes to your external workforce? Right? So I mentioned earlier about process efficiencies, I mentioned about compliance and onboarding and all these other little pieces that, you know, don't relate to the costs of making the cost savings. Everyone's extremely happy. But what are you doing with the business to actually highlight and understand what else is going on?

00;35;54;20 - 00;36;13;07
Alex Farr
And, you know, there is a common trend where, you know, when you see successful programs, they will just continue on and on and on and they won't stop and think in the right way to make sure they're asking basically the right questions. And again, that isn't every business. I've seen some very, very good examples of where clients know how to review their programs and know how to review their services.

00;36;13;07 - 00;36;37;00
Alex Farr
But every business, every business in this planet evolves from a specific service and enhances the service. So that it's going to have an impact on how they bring in external work. So you need to stop and have regular check point. I'm not good at keyboards and things, but you need to really, given how you're managing that, the extent of both the software and programs in the right way.

00;36;37;03 - 00;36;59;07
Jonny Dunning
And like you say, it's not just cost is compliance, it's process efficiencies. It's even like subtle things like if you're if you're bringing people into your organization and you've got really awful ways of getting things done, even if you're successful, that's going to lead to a lot of lack of satisfaction for people when they're trying to engage extended capacity by services, engaged temps, contractors, whatever it might be.

00;36;59;09 - 00;37;14;23
Jonny Dunning
Because if the systems and processes are really awful, yeah, you might be you might be worrying about it from a cost perspective. It's costing you loads of time, loads of costs for people to do stuff manually, but that's not good for the people that are working at your organization. And I'm more and more the younger generation coming into organizations.

00;37;14;25 - 00;37;51;07
Jonny Dunning
Everything in this in their personal life is so streamlined from a software perspective. People have those experts expectations when they go to work now. So a particularly in procurement where we with our focus on service procurement, we've seen that where quite often there were no systems to really properly capture services procurement. That is a that is a significant hurdle to people that are working in procurement in that area, dealing with buying services, whether it's consulting, professional services, I.T, services, marketing, legal, whatever, but also the buyers within organizations and so I find that quite interesting.

00;37;51;09 - 00;38;19;07
Jonny Dunning
But yeah, so so area I'm really interested to hear your views on is just what kind of strategies and thought process do you take in to the problem solving exercise that is okay you've got a client here, they're identifying their scope. How do you go about or how should organizations go about building a stack? I appreciate this is going to be very individual, but how do they make sure they include all the relevant channels and don't miss anything out?

00;38;19;09 - 00;38;36;26
Alex Farr
We are trying to answer a question that is relatively complex, right? Because there are there are so many different you know, the way a business is set up very much depends on how they would approach that as well. And the size the industry, you know, what a number, a number of things, but I suppose.

00;38;37;01 - 00;38;40;19
Jonny Dunning
I appreciate it's a bit of a meaning of life question, but.

00;38;40;21 - 00;38;41;13
Alex Farr
If you can just kind of.

00;38;41;18 - 00;38;47;00
Jonny Dunning
Break that down as to your instinctive framework in your head when you look at that?

00;38;47;03 - 00;39;13;03
Alex Farr
Well, yeah, You know, so when I go to clients, I have a very, very simple approach because I try I think this is one of the problems of our industry. And when I speak to another number of people within industry, it's the same old thing we make. Our services too complex applies to understand what's going on. So what I try to do is I try to go in and I know another number of other fantastic consultants to do the same is just keep it simple.

00;39;13;05 - 00;39;37;01
Alex Farr
Ask the simple questions first to define exactly what you want and don't start thinking about the end solution. Because I think the biggest challenge that I've always seen is that we always try to think what? What is the end solution? The end solution is cost savings, right? But what does that mean? So what? So what cost savings come back A few steps is just to ask yourself some basic questions.

00;39;37;02 - 00;39;58;21
Alex Farr
And it doesn't make much difference from what I said a little bit earlier. But there's 8 to 10 questions around the the reasons why you're looking to purchase. You think you need something, but it's really just asking tough questions. Why do you think you need to engage them? And then it's making sure you've got the right stakeholder voice to make sure that you're getting the responses from them.

00;39;58;23 - 00;40;24;09
Alex Farr
And the challenge you have within organizations or hosting within organizations is just the management at that basic task. And then what happens. What I've seen is, again, going back to your previous discussion we had a few minutes back is that one channel will tend to make the decisions versus all of them making them. So I don't want to make it sound too simple, Jonny, but really it's five and then it's it's assessing those answers and then taking it to the next level.

00;40;24;09 - 00;41;00;06
Alex Farr
And that's where, you know, this utopia type answer we've tried to give you is, is difficult. It's really about starting at a very, very basic level, asking the simple questions to the business and then stepping that up as you go through. And it could be that you find out that, you know, the majority and I also I've worked with a client where they had a they recently were talking like eight or nine months ago where they they felt they had a need to implement a vendor management software because they had major issues with contingent staffing and classification and how they tracked.

00;41;00;09 - 00;41;29;21
Alex Farr
But actually when we went through the process of asking basic questions, they didn't actually need a VMs. If they took it to a match, yeah, they could probably manage it. They actually needed someone to manage the services. Kevin At that time, right, They actually didn't go to market in the end and the specific budget reasons, but what they came out of that was realizing that, hold on a minute here, I need to shift slightly and I need to go down this angle versus trying to think about the end game, which is let's get a system to manage your things.

00;41;29;21 - 00;41;42;27
Alex Farr
So I am. So yeah, keep it simple. Jonny I know it sounds very basic, but I always tell my kids that, you know, don't overthink things. Take it easy. Yes, take things one step at a time.

00;41;43;00 - 00;42;13;04
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, I agree. Wise words. So. So when an organization is going through this process, I know you obviously spent some time on the implementation and service delivery side of things as well. And what do you see as the kind of key challenges when it comes to you've kept it simple, you've worked out the problem, you've you've kind of assessed the right combination of technologies.

00;42;13;06 - 00;42;26;09
Jonny Dunning
What what are the things that you've seen as the key to key elements that make that successful in terms of actual delivery, bearing in mind you kind of need to make it knit together across different areas?

00;42;26;11 - 00;42;54;22
Alex Farr
Well, you know, I think I'm, you know, a part of the scope. You know, at the starting Right. We talked about one of the last parts of scope is is understanding that the I suppose the priority timeline of how you release services. I'm you know, you mentioned, you know, I've seen a lot of challenges in my time and I think both of them, you know let's not we've all made mistakes over the years where, you know, you're proposing you've got a proposal of right approach.

00;42;54;28 - 00;43;23;08
Alex Farr
The client knows what technology they want. Okay, We need a complied software, we need a statement of work software, and we need to be able to manage our contingent staffing. How do you then agree the best approach to implement them? Because if you're not agreeing the best point approach, whether that be a big bag, which probably is not the best way to go when you've got multiple services, products to implement and but then how are you then approaching which one should go first or how should you cope?

00;43;23;12 - 00;43;42;26
Alex Farr
Should it be a pilot in that third section? I am. So I think that for me, it's almost like you're you're taking a second step, right? You've agreed that scope. You've agreed what you want. You've found the right providers that you want to implement. Now let's take it to the next level of deployment. And you really almost have to go back to that scope section, right?

00;43;42;28 - 00;44;02;29
Alex Farr
If actually scoping out how you want to deploy it. So when we where I've struggled since I released my business is this word scope, right? People people sometimes think our scope is just about understanding the scope of services, about what you want at the front, right? The statement about No, no, it's not. It's it goes through the whole lifecycle of your process.

00;44;03;01 - 00;44;23;22
Alex Farr
You need to understand the scope of what you need, need to understand the scope of what supplies are out there to best source those those needs and evaluate. And then you need to scope out the approach to deploying and then managing things from a steady state basis. So so the way I like to approach it is, is to try and segment out into the school or separate categories.

00;44;23;22 - 00;44;25;01
Alex Farr
So saying.

00;44;25;04 - 00;44;46;19
Jonny Dunning
Well, yeah, taking the word scope in that context, in every area that you're applying it, there is an understanding of the problem and there was a plan for the solution and you want to understand the extent of it. It definitely makes logical sense to me. Terminology in the marketplace is always an absolute nightmare, isn't it? But I think for me that's really clear and is a clear value proposition behind it.

00;44;46;21 - 00;45;05;13
Alex Farr
Yeah, definitely. You know, at the end of the day, you know, the reason why we do these things is, is to get value. That value is focused around savings or specific process efficiencies or compliance. At the end of the day, you need to come together to aggregate that value, that value point, to be able to measure that by and then work towards it.

00;45;05;13 - 00;45;32;06
Alex Farr
And everything you do during that deployment phase of early implementation requirements gathering right, few testing rotations, you need to ensure that you've still got that knife. The board on the wall that says is everything we do in achieving the value, right. It's no different to growing your business. If you're growing your own business, you can be doing hundreds of different activities, but you've got to be focused on what that core value is that you're going to give and provide to your business.

00;45;32;06 - 00;45;36;16
Alex Farr
Whether that be any of these solutions that we've been talking about.

00;45;36;18 - 00;46;03;08
Jonny Dunning
So we're talking about this kind of tech stack, which would imply more than one type of technology, more the one technology platform we're talking about, kind of trying to make that knit that together across different channels. The next area I wanted to ask you about was something you mentioned earlier. Be keen to go into a bit more details just around management and measurement, but that's that also ties in a little bit to that integration piece.

00;46;03;10 - 00;46;15;20
Jonny Dunning
Where does the data set, where are the input requirements going, What's the kind of unified workflow and a really interesting conversation on a previous podcast with the guy called Chris Radvansky from Rad Consulting, you know Chris.

00;46;15;23 - 00;46;17;09
Alex Farr
Both very well.

00;46;17;11 - 00;46;41;12
Jonny Dunning
Stuff, great guy and really interesting discussion about saying, well, how do you measure, how do you how do you make comparative measurements, for example, across outsourced services, procurement versus continue workforce? Answer is it's difficult, but but there's a lot of value in looking at that and doing it. And actually there are ways that you can put metrics around doing things to at least understand the value they're driving for you.

00;46;41;18 - 00;46;59;11
Jonny Dunning
And in the future, that will be very sophisticated business decisions based on if we do it this way, it will cost us X on the liability b Y if we do it. This way, the cost and liability will be whatever else, and they can make decisions based on that. But yeah, so integrations is something that we come across a lot.

00;46;59;11 - 00;47;25;13
Jonny Dunning
We do, we do all sorts of different integrations. People seem to think it's more complicated than it is to use multiple systems. Most systems these days, modern systems should have good integration capabilities that should be able to potentially even like white label if they need to. And effectively, in my opinion, if certainly from what I've seen, where we're working alongside, where we're doing services procurement alongside of it's doing continuous work force is a very simple example.

00;47;25;15 - 00;47;55;18
Jonny Dunning
There's an entry point with a decision tree based on classification of of the type of resources required, and it's either a statement of work or it's a contractor that goes through. It's basically just different screens in a workflow. So if you're going down through the continuous workforce screen, it doesn't matter. You're just carrying on through that screen. You can utilize clever things like single sign on and stuff like that to just take people through and then you can capture that all at the end within a data warehouse, for example.

00;47;55;18 - 00;48;20;19
Jonny Dunning
So that's quite a simple example, but that's real world stuff that I see working all the time. And so when you look at the context of bringing this stuff together, I'm how, how can organizations kind of make use of what's available to really manage and measure what they're doing across their extended workforce. And again, another meaning of life QUESTION But just at a basic level.

00;48;20;21 - 00;48;23;09
Alex Farr
You like these ones? My name, my name is Jesus.

00;48;23;09 - 00;48;41;09
Jonny Dunning
But I like going for the complicated ones. Let's just go for the big picture, but actually get the fundamentals because because that's where I think hopefully this conversation is useful to people, where these are the sort of big questions that people start with and they just they can sometimes just saying, I don't know where to start, it's too complicated.

00;48;41;12 - 00;48;59;09
Jonny Dunning
But with like with the answer, you go to the question before, which is equally complicated, you narrow that down to some quite simple steps where people can get started. You know, the devil, the devil's in the detail, and you can always go into the detail later. But getting started, people need to be comfortable with the fundamentals.

00;48;59;12 - 00;49;23;01
Alex Farr
Yeah, it's a difficult one, but it all goes back to, you know, firstly, what Chris is doing is, is outstanding, right? And he's providing that of data that bring those systems together. But you know, the thing for me is really it's making sure that, you know, you're going to have a different stakeholder arrangement managing statement of work piece versus different stakeholder that might be managing some of the freelance workers coming into the shares.

00;49;23;01 - 00;49;44;06
Alex Farr
And it might be that the business has different business owners that manage different sectors of the standard contingent staffing. But you know, again, I don't like and like I've overcomplicate things in my life, but you mentioned I try to keep things as simple as I can, and it really is forget about the systems. What are those key performance indicators that we're looking at?

00;49;44;06 - 00;50;15;14
Alex Farr
What is it that you're looking at? Mr. X, Mrs. Y in your teams that is important to you? Right? And it's about firstly understanding what they are, right? Because without each key stakeholder, really understanding those metrics even before we start cross-match, if it's possible to integrate whatever that is, that is of paramount importance. Like, you know, it's great if we can get all information into one data layer and integrate it to provide it, provided one fantastic.

00;50;15;16 - 00;50;40;06
Alex Farr
That's going to show us how we are. You know, what's the difference between statement work versus X, Y and Z? Fantastic. But is that really the true importance of what what the business is looking for? Right. You know, if I'm a manager within a stakeholder within this one sector overlooking services now, I might be more focused on what I need to make sure that all of my services don't go overbudget.

00;50;40;06 - 00;51;11;10
Alex Farr
Right? We're providing a budget. They're on target. There's no cost allocation now that might be different to a stakeholder in in in the contingent side of things offering, you know, standard temporary staffing because they might just be focused on making sure that the retention is there. Right. That we don't have to refill things. So I, I think you should first stop and just make sure you capture all of those relevant KPI, small data, relevant people, and then start to look whether you can bring them together and not overcomplicate it.

00;51;11;10 - 00;51;34;03
Alex Farr
Because again, this is where I do see sometimes, you know, the provisions and that bias, I'm making it too difficult. I get your point about integration. We don't always need to integrate, integrate. We see, you know, if we saw sales pitch nowadays a buyer to a sales pitch or someone would speak to me about how great XO is a standard.

00;51;34;10 - 00;52;00;17
Alex Farr
You know, you should be part of its services. It's I'm but having that you know when you've got those complex clients that might have different KPI, of course you want to try to integrate them into one data set but but so what if you can't So sorry to maybe that's against what you said a little bit, Jonny, but so what if you can't, you hate to get the talent, you hate to get the value of what you need.

00;52;00;17 - 00;52;06;21
Alex Farr
Now bringing that data together is truly going to give you the value. Then yes, let's integrate.

00;52;06;24 - 00;52;11;10
Jonny Dunning
I guess the most important thing is exactly as you alluded to, is that you are actually measuring it.

00;52;11;12 - 00;52;12;29
Alex Farr
Whereas that's the main thing.

00;52;12;29 - 00;52;33;05
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, yeah. Standard situation for a lot of organizations is they certainly won't be measuring much if any of some parts of it or maybe not much of all of it. So whether whether the data is unified, which as per my discussion with Chris, is very unlikely when you look at something as different as outsourcing services versus continue workforce, very, very different.

00;52;33;07 - 00;52;54;19
Jonny Dunning
You don't want to you can't compare apples and oranges directly, but you can understand what you're getting compared to what value getting and what things are actually costing you and why they're costing you that if you actually measure them. And you can also understand the perception of value within your organization of the buyers that are actually receiving whatever service it might be from whatever type of service provider.

00;52;54;19 - 00;53;03;04
Jonny Dunning
So yeah, I think that's a very good point. It might not be unified data, but the most important thing is to have the data to make decisions based on that. Yeah, yeah.

00;53;03;04 - 00;53;30;17
Alex Farr
You know, we got, we go back to the foundations of building out scope, right? It's, it's, you know, understand your challenges, what you need, what value you expecting, how can you track that value and then you know, implement it. You know, I don't want to oversimplify it, but, but in essence, if you stick to those core those core factors in your brain about what is important, why you need to get, you know, nine times out of ten, you will not overcomplicate things.

00;53;30;18 - 00;53;52;28
Alex Farr
And that that's what causes challenges in our industry is the over complication of a client needs you know, let's let's let's not do that. Let's keep it simple. Yes, things will be complex. I'm not saying they won't be complex. They will be complex. But let's not make them complicated before we even get into it, you know, by agreeing a scope which is just ridiculous and has holes around it.

00;53;53;01 - 00;54;09;26
Alex Farr
And I find my quite challenging to be on a CB journey sometimes because, you know, my role goes they are going into clients and I'm telling clients that you can't there's no way you can implement services or you there's no way that you should be doing that, right. I feel like a bit of a pain in the backside sometimes, but I'm not I'm not trying to do that.

00;54;09;26 - 00;54;40;01
Alex Farr
I'm really just trying to make sure that, you know, once you take that step and you agree, right, we're purchasing the software, we're implementing the software, you go live with the software. Once you've gone live, you can't certainly roll back the time and stop, you know, that say that's your reputation on the line. So it's just, you know, make sure you really, really understand the importance of of getting that scope right and getting the classification of what software you need to implement services.

00;54;40;01 - 00;54;45;19
Alex Farr
So that's yeah, my wife says I'm a bit of a pain in the ass as well.

00;54;45;21 - 00;55;05;04
Jonny Dunning
I by doing this, what you're, what you're aiming to do is you're aiming to sell, save people from having an even bigger pain further down the line when they realize they've made the wrong decisions or they hadn't considered all of the different factors. And they're now trying to push something upon their buyers or users that is is not, you know, cutting the mustard.

00;55;05;07 - 00;55;26;02
Jonny Dunning
And along those lines, I mean, pop quiz for me and I don't actually know the answer. I haven't got a clue what the answer to this is. How many different technology providers do you reckon there are globally in the extended workforce technology space? What would you and what would your guess be?

00;55;26;04 - 00;55;45;04
Alex Farr
Well, you know, naturally I did some research into this right when I when I when I started my basis applications in keep me to understand, you know, who should I work with, who should I approach, who should I you know, who the good ones, who the bad ones. You know, I say you're into the hundreds, you know, and there's still more.

00;55;45;04 - 00;56;10;25
Alex Farr
Right? Because if you start looking at the talent pool technology that's available, that that alone, you're into ridiculous territories. And so I think that if you if you segregate right if you segregate the VMs to specialist areas, then it starts to break down a lot more. If you put talent pool to the site, the pool comes down a little bit more.

00;56;10;27 - 00;56;31;04
Alex Farr
And you know, within the sector you work in, you know, that's an emerging area from a specialist technology perspective where there aren't that many technologies out there joining in in what you do, right. So you find a good niche, a good specialty. AM And it's similar when I look at the sort of onboarding compliant sites that provide some working.

00;56;31;11 - 00;57;00;16
Alex Farr
So and the challenge is is how do you get the visibility to clients of all these different provisions, Right? How do you get and that's one of the missions that I'm on with in my business, because, you know, I want to make sure that companies like yourself and other organizations, you know, seen in the marketplace and it's not just this, you know, let's look back ten years into this world where we were with VMs.

00;57;00;18 - 00;57;20;05
Alex Farr
Yes, VMS is still a fantastic technology, but if you're a company, it doesn't require all those solutions. What's out there? Just a statement of work, what's out there just for onboarding? I am. And you know, that's that's the challenge that I've, I see that I don't see, right. Because if they saw it, they'd know it.

00;57;20;08 - 00;57;45;02
Jonny Dunning
Yeah, I totally agree with you. And from a from a service provider perspective, there's a lot of benefits to being in a very, very specific niche like services procurement for us. And yes, it is an emerging area. It's got gigantic amount of scope, but there's really very few people addressing. It is highly complicated and it's, you know, it's in some ways that makes quite a big barrier to entry in terms of solving that problem.

00;57;45;02 - 00;58;05;26
Jonny Dunning
But there's very few people doing it. If you look at, like you say, the FMC space, not so much the direct sourcing space, I'd say. But yeah, as soon as you get into talent pools, talent marketplaces, stuff like that, and just other areas of technology, that kind of crossover of all sorts of things, CRMs, it's all sorts of technologies that will cross over in certain areas.

00;58;05;28 - 00;58;38;22
Jonny Dunning
And I've certainly seen this, you know, if I'm talking to a potential customer and for example, our solution isn't the right thing for them right now or isn't the right thing for them for actually the problem they want to solve, because actually it's more of a freelancer problem. For example, you know, we'll be very upfront about that, but we'll also I have an interest in this solutions ecosystem because I've worked on job boards, job aggregators, applicant tracking systems, multi posters, gig marketplaces, FMC, direct sourcing, all these sorts of areas Before I really got into the services procurement side of things.

00;58;38;24 - 00;59;02;28
Jonny Dunning
So I will try and give give people any market advice or market intelligence that I can as to the directions that they could be looking at. But again, that's where you and I have discussed this before. This kind of you get this potential mis categorization of technologies where people will think that they can buy it to do everything or they will maybe be slightly sold into the idea of it's got its main purpose.

00;59;02;28 - 00;59;22;24
Jonny Dunning
But the sales team might say, you've got the other thing, I can do that as well. But people bolt this stuff on and that can and can end up being quite difficult. But ultimately it comes back to what you were discussing earlier of really defining what your most important problem to solve is and then applying that to the market as to what's the most appropriate solution.

00;59;22;26 - 00;59;56;20
Alex Farr
definitely, yeah. Mis categorization of software that a and that can be utilized, right. So yeah I I've seen it you know and you know it's not I'm it's not uncommon for okay it's less common now right. Let's be honest. Right. Because you know the technologies are emerging but over the last I would say last ten years, the number of clients that I've worked with that did not understand how to categorize statement of work versus just standard temporary staffing.

00;59;56;22 - 01;00;24;00
Alex Farr
It was coming up in every single project and it still comes up now. And to your point, you still see it when you're speaking to Vides. And that's not even talking about, you know, the geek side of it, the direct sourcing method elements. And it happens, you know, and I wish there was a way, you know, we could educate clients before they engaged software solutions, you know, and I wish there was a way that we could get everyone to be very truthful in what services are being offered.

01;00;24;02 - 01;00;49;23
Alex Farr
And, you know, they're all companies like yourself out there that do that, you know, very honest, because what's the point in engaging with the client? You know, you know, great. We've we've won something, but we know we're not going to be able to implement 20, 30% of the services, partner up with another organization who's working in that area, but, you know, work together to you provide that client a joint solution.

01;00;49;26 - 01;01;13;06
Alex Farr
There's absolutely no harm in it. And I do see a lot of organizations doing that. You know, I see more and more, you know, in the last but mainly in the aftermath because I sort of stepped out my provider world. But I see some great partnerships starting to emerge between direct sourcing firms, compliance, onboarding. There is no there is no issues with doing that work together.

01;01;13;06 - 01;01;48;24
Alex Farr
You're not trying to steal commission or work from others. Your focus should be on what's best for that client. I am. So yeah, it happens. Jonny Right. It happens. AM How do clients, how do clients approach that? That missed. I miss categorization. It's a difficult one, right? Because again, I want to keep repeating myself, but it does all come back to that initial understanding of scope of, of, you know, what are you actually trying to achieve and what are the challenges and problems now, half the time, when it comes to this categorization, I don't really know.

01;01;48;24 - 01;02;06;14
Alex Farr
This is the problem, right? They don't know. They're categorizing things incorrectly. So that's when they need to bring in the experts that you would if you've got to buy a mortgage or whatever. Right. You you don't go off. They're off the road by a mortgage. I never realized I should have bought a fixed rate model with this variable.

01;02;06;14 - 01;02;30;14
Alex Farr
Look what's happened in the last five years. You speak to someone about it, right? So now there are a number I'm not pushing myself a bit. There are a number of businesses out there that I part away from consulting basis. You know, this is a good example of someone as well. I speak to the right, speak to these guys, spend a small amount of time with them to understand and make sure you're asking your business the right questions.

01;02;30;16 - 01;02;46;29
Alex Farr
I guarantee you whether it's one hour or longer, project whatever it is, what you will implement a better service is what you might have thought you've implemented day one. Again, my question will be a front, but it's why I invested money to make sure you're categorizing things correctly.

01;02;47;01 - 01;03;17;07
Jonny Dunning
Yet, because there's a lot of gray areas. And like you say, if you end up with a direct sourcing platform, a freelance management system, maybe EOL plus compliance and onboarding, working together, that solves a broader problem. Yeah, the working services procurement kind of lucky because if something is understating the work, it's relevant. If it's not is not. So you get this kind of black and white, but in a lot of those areas it's definitely much more blurred lines.

01;03;17;10 - 01;03;42;14
Jonny Dunning
But yeah, I mean there's there's a route forward with all of this sort of stuff. And one of the one the things I was going to ask you actually on one of my kind of last question was really around just expectations within organizations as to kind of, you know, when you go in there, do you sometimes feel you kind of pulling the veil back for them on what's actually possible or what's actually appropriate for their organization?

01;03;42;17 - 01;03;58;04
Jonny Dunning
How do you find the reality versus expectations? Do you find that people are kind of pleasantly surprised? There's always loads more we could do. That's really cool that will really help us. Or is it that they think everything's going to just be this one simple solution and they have to revisit that?

01;03;58;06 - 01;04;17;03
Alex Farr
And well, I put into three categories like that. There's there's people I've worked with recently that know what they're doing. And actually, you know, I've come in and said, hey, you know, you don't need me. You're doing a great job. You you've categorized things correctly. You know what? I love to see that. I love to see people who know what they're doing.

01;04;17;05 - 01;04;45;28
Alex Farr
And, you know, majority of times it's more of a head in hands moment a little bit is because, you know, they realize that actually it's much more complex than what was originally thought. Right. And you know no, I'm talking about simplify things, you know, as much as I can. I'm but the majority of cases, you know, when you ask some of these very simple basic questions, the realization is, all right, in fact, we probably should have asked that a lot a lot earlier down.

01;04;45;28 - 01;05;02;02
Alex Farr
So so it's almost like it's I, I suppose I'll go back to what I was saying earlier about sometimes I feel like a you know what I mean? It's sort of quite frustrating for clients and like frustrate, you know, frustrate them on the basis that I'm providing more information that means they're going to have to go off and do more work.

01;05;02;02 - 01;05;27;18
Alex Farr
But the reason for doing that is to make sure you get it right. So I think that's probably the biggest the biggest frustration. But then again, it depends. It depends on on what their expectations of the my support or any other person's support. Right. Because, you know, when I go into support clients, it can just be a lot of my engagements, very short engagements where I give advice to clients and then they're working with their specialized provider to go a specific way.

01;05;27;20 - 01;05;49;01
Alex Farr
And then I come in and support just to make sure things are going in the right track, right? I'm not a delivery person who will actually implement a project and services, and I'm also not someone who can speak about everything with software in the greater detail, right? I've got people who I work with within the compliance side. I know it, but they know it in a much more detail, whereas I know vets more than they would know better.

01;05;49;01 - 01;06;12;18
Alex Farr
So I am I think what I'm trying to say is it sort of it does make it more, I suppose, more frustrating in the first step when when a client sort of understands I'm well, my goodness, I should have done something different style, right? And it makes them feel better. That's where the goal is quite difficult because you're almost coming in trying to business.

01;06;12;20 - 01;06;30;09
Alex Farr
It's like, right? You're saying, you know, you've done things wrong, but I actually really that you should be, you know, just tweak what you're doing. Let me help you tweak what you're doing and maybe ask these questions to your business and then suddenly things start to change. And it depends how far down the line you are. You've already agreed that scope.

01;06;30;10 - 01;06;43;06
Alex Farr
You've already agreed a budget, and then someone comes in and you I can get to what you need to reengage you different, provide that type of service. Then the discussion a little bit more difficult. Right?

01;06;43;08 - 01;06;55;24
Jonny Dunning
Well, like you say, the weight of responsibility is on the the stakeholder in charge of it as to whether they want to take more pay now or potentially face more pain down the line and have their reputation damaged.

01;06;55;27 - 01;07;10;28
Alex Farr
Yeah, exactly that. Exactly that. And it's not the reputations would be damaged. It's you know, how can you make the reputation even better? You might you might be doing a great job already, but what can you do to make it even better? You know, we should always continue to strive to be. AUJALI Change as much as we can.

01;07;10;28 - 01;07;27;18
Alex Farr
We shouldn't. We should always be. We always need to accept that the here and the now that, you know, if you will achieve, you might think you're achieving 100%, but you're probably not. There's always more that you can get. I'm yeah, I.

01;07;27;21 - 01;07;49;15
Jonny Dunning
Know that that makes sense. It makes sense. So my last question for you, just to kind of wrap things up and I know this is an area of particular interest for you, but but it's so we're broadly talking about utilizing technology to optimize an organization's use of their extended workforce, their extended capacity and capability, their ability to get work done.

01;07;49;17 - 01;08;16;10
Jonny Dunning
So technology is a very important part of it, but there's a lot of people elements to it as well. There's people behind their it's these are not easy tasks. These potentially can be big programs. These are nicely simplified but can seem like complicated problems to solve. So it's something you've spoken to me briefly about, but I'd just like to kind of, you know, understand a little bit more about it in terms of just those people elements and what you're doing around that.

01;08;16;10 - 01;08;25;15
Jonny Dunning
You mentioned you've got some some services that are coming onto line that are going to be slightly different around motivation within teams that are actually carrying out these types of projects.

01;08;25;17 - 01;08;50;06
Alex Farr
Yeah, definitely. You know, I love our industry over the years. I enjoy how we how the solutions evolve, whether services or software and a part of my role for, you know, nearly 15 years at that 20 years in working for that provider was the leadership role and and managing people and helping those people provide a level of service.

01;08;50;09 - 01;09;16;19
Alex Farr
And you know, it's going to be outstanding to that client. I'm and well, what I see within the industry, probably one of the biggest things I see within the industry is it doesn't matter what service you select if both people and teams of people and let's remember who the teams are, right, you've got a client, you may have a number stakeholders or people involved in those projects have their day job, right?

01;09;16;26 - 01;09;47;02
Alex Farr
They've all got things to do every single day. You're asking coming in, implement some services that is outside maybe their normal remit. You've then got a software provider, maybe two, maybe three software providers. Over a period of time, you may have a managed service provider. We need to have you've got a massive potential for conflict or missed client miscommunication because of all these people coming into team from different scenarios in different areas.

01;09;47;05 - 01;10;10;22
Alex Farr
And I believe that, you know, as an industry we can do a much better job of making sure we work better across teams and keep our teams highly motivated. When you look at motivation, it's big into three areas, right? People that are focused on the growth side of things. So, you know, focus on being an expert, focused on AI, being a star, being the one that a popular.

01;10;10;29 - 01;10;33;26
Alex Farr
You've got those that are very much focused on relationships. So they want to be a person's friend, you know, they want to make sure that that that you know, that they're supporting people. I think you've got the area where you've got their achievement side of stuff that people are very focused on, the delivery, the sad, etc.. So you've got all these different types of people motivations into a project team that aren't.

01;10;33;26 - 01;11;01;27
Alex Farr
You were working together. I'm so for me more eyes needs to be put on the area. One of the things that I focused on is really helping companies assess the motivational drivers of maybe it's a contingent project team, maybe it's costing maybe it's a provider team going into implement and actually helping them assess what are their motivational drivers and what do they need to make sure that they're satisfied to deliver excellence.

01;11;02;00 - 01;11;15;26
Alex Farr
And it's not really been looked at huge minor industry and that's why I'm quite passionate about it. I am because leadership is just as important as the software. It's Probably not more right than the software that's available.

01;11;15;29 - 01;11;34;20
Jonny Dunning
Really interesting. It's it's something that is so important, but it can be overlooked. And, you know, people become so focused on, for example, the technology solution that's going to change all of our world. You still got to implement it. You've still got to roll it out. You've still got to make it valuable. You still got to run it over the next X number of years.

01;11;34;20 - 01;11;56;04
Jonny Dunning
So yeah, I think it's a really important point and it's an area that I find just kind of fascinating just from a human psychology and motivation point of view anyway. So that must be quite an interesting element of it. But if you've got everything all lined up on the technology and strategy side, but there's a there's a weakness or a malaise on the people side, it's not going to work.

01;11;56;08 - 01;12;01;28
Jonny Dunning
So everything's got to be everything's going be tied together in coherence. So, yeah, that makes sense to me.

01;12;02;00 - 01;12;29;27
Alex Farr
Yeah. And I utilize, you know, my coaching services. I utilize what call motivational maps, which is a really good tool to help drive. Drive. It is a tool, right? I like the people that deliver, you know, this, you know, nerd and neuro linguistic elements that of about site that people overlook again right it's yeah hopefully I can share some more of that sort of stuff with you in the future Jonny if you're interested.

01;12;30;00 - 01;12;51;25
Jonny Dunning
Yeah definitely. I mean I'm going to say not everybody has got the same energy level of like a Chris Radvanky. I love the fact he describes himself as high energy and genuinely is backed it up that's not everybody's like that and and some people need maybe more of a push but people operate in totally different ways. We're all you know we've all got our different motivations and different ways that we work.

01;12;51;25 - 01;13;15;24
Jonny Dunning
So yeah, it's an infinitely fascinating area. But to be honest, I find all of the stuff that we've been speaking about today really interesting. I love the fact there's still a major evolution going on in the market and yeah, I think it's going to be an interesting next few years. Who knows what? The economy's going to do what's going to happen or we the one thing that certain is that there will be uncertainty which is going to make it an interesting few years.

01;13;15;24 - 01;13;47;10
Jonny Dunning
But certainly I think huge opportunities for growth, certainly in the services procurement area where it's, as you said, much more embryonic for organizations, much more an early stage. But yeah, it's really interesting to chat to you and hear what what you're doing and yeah, hopefully that's useful to people that are kind of considering this, addressing this problem. Maybe looking at previous programs because, you know, there's there's a lot of experience in what you're talking about and this is the sort of thing that if you get it was the kind of carpentry thing measured twice cut once.

01;13;47;12 - 01;13;57;24
Jonny Dunning
I'm not very good at doing stuff like that, but I always try and remember that. But it's very true When you're doing these projects which can be large, they're important and they can last a decent amount of time.

01;13;57;26 - 01;14;19;10
Alex Farr
Yeah, my previous previous post probably. But you know that the word consistency and checklists and things like that, you know, they bring back the simplicity of some of the things you need to do. So you just, you know, whatever you do Shall we really strong element of consistency and do the things you should be doing right. You'll get where you need to be.

01;14;19;10 - 01;14;32;29
Alex Farr
And I'm really excited about this industry, about where it's going. I'm, you know, I just hope I hope, Jonny, that, you know, we continue continue to see more evolution and more great things going on.

01;14;33;01 - 01;14;57;08
Jonny Dunning
Absolutely. I mean, you know, the whole world of work has changed. The whole way companies operate has changed before. You know, 60 years ago, Job for Life, you know, then rewind was probably 30 years. You start the growth of the continue workforce for the gig economy rapidly come in in the last five years really all of the things changes that came about through COVID the growth of outsourcing there's a huge amount going on.

01;14;57;08 - 01;15;12;15
Jonny Dunning
And like you, I love it. I think it's a it's a great area to be in. And yeah, I really appreciate you taking the time to come and have a chat. And yeah, maybe we can maybe we can have a follow up chat further down the line and see how everything's going in Italy. So thanks very much.

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