By: Andrew Karpie, Lead Analyst
This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Introduction offers a candid take on Brightfield (TDX) and its capabilities. Brightfield provides enterprises with an extended workforce data-management and analytics solution (at this time, specifically enterprises that are highly focused on “digital” contract workers and SOW/services). This brief includes an overview of Brightfield and its solution offerings, a summary solution evaluation, a SWOT analysis and a selection checklist for companies that might consider the provider.
Across the globe, private and public organizations and human capital intermediaries are increasingly making use of various forms of data analytics for salary and labor-rate benchmarking, workforce analysis and market intelligence, trends and predictions. Until recently, salary benchmarking of permanent employees was predominant. Low tech, printed benchmark reports were based on historical trends and often lagged the market by many months.
Over the past 10 years, a new discipline of more dynamic labor-rate benchmarking for “contingent workforce” emerged based on processes and methodologies using online data sources, cloud technology, big data and advanced analytics/AI. Contingent labor-rate benchmarking originally arose within traditional players in the staffing industry (e.g., MSPs, large staffing firms); however, the lack of neutrality, data collection networks and inability to build robust digital products left a gap in the market.
But over the past five years, a few third party, vendor-neutral benchmarking/analytics providers have appeared. (See: “A new species: Specialist providers of contingent workforce rate benchmarking/analytics.”) Spend Matters identified three such providers, including Brightfield (access earlier coverage here and here). These technology-first vendors provide their solutions — depending upon their go-to-market strategies — directly or indirectly to businesses and to MSPs, staffing firms, et al. While contingent workforce benchmarking — based on very different approaches — has been the cornerstone offering, the expansion of a broader set of advanced analytics offerings has been occurring.© Spend Matters. All rights reserved. 2
Brightfield was founded in 2006 as a consulting firm that helped organizations optimize their contingent workforce management programs, including MSP and VMS selection.
By 2015, Brightfield had begun to develop its Talent Data Exchange (TDX) technology platform/network and received an initial investment in May 2016 (Brightfield TDX was also analyzed in a Spend Matters PRO research brief in June 2016).
In the years that followed, Brightfield gradually evolved its business model from professional services to data management and analytics based on the TDX platform. The company raised $53 million in private equity in last fall (by which time its business-model shift was nearly complete).
Since the launch of the TDX platform, Brightfield’s business offerings have evolved from primarily contingent workforce taxonomy management and rate benchmarking to a broader range of data analytics capabilities that organizations could use to manage their “extended workforce” (contingent workers and SOW projects). While TDX also provides support for “unified workforce optimization” (e.g., employees and contract workers), the major part of the business (> 90% spend under management) is centered around “extended workforce.”
But it is not just any kind of extended workforce, it is digital contractors and service suppliers, which is typically an enterprise’s largest category of its total contingent workforce and SOW/services spend. Brightfield has reported that the key business sponsors at its accounts are the CPO, CTO and/or CFO. While Brightfield is aiming at enterprises that really are focused on major optimization of the digital/IT workforce/services category, it indicates that it would work with clients on other categories over time.
In terms of business model, Brightfield enters into agreements with “network member” enterprises that contribute (transfer) data on a monthly basis and pay a fixed subscription fee for access to the TDX platform’s analytics outputs. Members must have at least $25 million in extended workforce spend. Today’s network consists of nearly 400 large enterprise members, all companies with greater than a billion in annual revenue (that includes almost 50% of the F100).
In terms of data, members upload transactional data to TDX from their VMS, HCM, ATS and/or CLM systems on at least a monthly basis. Currently, the TDX platform processes transaction data associated with about $500 billion of spend, with good statistical representativeness across eight primary labor markets (along with more limited datasets from approximately an additional 90 countries).
There are two basic categories of transactional data that are collected:
This data is processed in various ways to eventually create and provide organizations/business users with different, value-added analytical outputs.© Spend Matters. All rights reserved. 3
Brightfield’s TDX data management and analytics platform was built from the ground up to bring together a number of AI-technologies (e.g., neural networks, machine learning, natural language processing) and proprietary data science. TDX offers enterprises an extended workforce and SOW/services data analytics solution that provides valuable tactical and strategic information outputs to member organizations and their business users (the latter including category managers in procurement and other managers/business users in HR, Finance, IT, et al).
To provide ongoing market and business intelligence to the network members’ business users, data is collected and processed in three stages:
For business/market intelligence, analytics-based optimization and ongoing management of an enterprise’s extended workforce (contingent worker engagements and contracted SOW/service projects) offers an Extended Workforce Optimizer “module” that enterprises can subscribe to.
The following is a summary of the capabilities of the Extended Workforce Optimizer module:
The following is a summary of the capabilities of the Unified Workforce Optimizer module.
We observed many strong areas, capabilities and features in Brightfield’s solutions/services. These are several that seemed particularly notable:
Based on the high-level review we conducted, there were aspects of the solutions/tools where we thought organizations might focus some additional attention when considering the solution:
Brightfield offerings/services are appropriate for:
Brightfield TDX is perhaps the most powerful extended workforce market intelligence platform available today. In terms of the types, sources, granularity and quantity of data that it collects, manages and analyzes and processes, Brighfield is unrivaled in the industry. The capture of detailed “behavioral data” directly from members’ own systems goes far beyond what industry peers are capable of.
It provides its member organizations with the kinds of solutions (roles taxonomy management, rate/cost benchmarking and comparisons, dynamic rate card management, etc.) that would be expected of any workforce rate benchmarking provider. But its AI-driven SOW capabilities set it further apart (e.g., detecting misclassification using machine-learning analysis of contract/SOW documents, providing deep insights into SOW spend and SOW performance).
At the same time, Brightfield is not really a fit for enterprises with less than $25 million in annual spend. And it is currently strategically focused on enterprises that are significantly committed to digital/IT-related workforce and services optimization programs (though Brightfield says it will work with members that want to move on to optimization of other categories).
For larger enterprises that are seriously focused on optimizing digital/IT-related contingent workforce and services that are able to meet the minimum spend requirement and that are able and willing to make the commitment to membership, looking at Brightfield is a no-brainer. The provider says it can and will provide some value for members that also have needs related to other spend categories. But that is a question best answered by Brightfield.
Overall, Brightfield is a pretty amazing illustration of a professional services business that has transformed itself into a digital platform business in just five years. Spend Matters will be keeping close tabs on Brightfield as it expands its coverage workforce/services data management and analytics solution this year.
Further information on this topic and others can be found at this website: www.spendmatters.com. Reproduction of this publication in any form without prior written approval is forbidden. The information in this report has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Spend Matters disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of such information and shall have no liability for errors, omissions, or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The reader assumes sole responsibility for the selection of these materials to achieve its intended result. The opinions express herein are subject to change without notice.