Why Front Door?

As we launch our Q2 2021 release of Utmost, we are focusing on one of the coolest and most innovative features: Utmost Front Door.

Utmost Front Door is a guided decision business process; it simplifies the process of engaging the extended workforce. Whether you are looking for a contractor to backfill a temporary position or issuing a SOW to a consulting firm, Utmost Front Door provides a unified single common process (launched from Workday) that ensures those engaging external talent will always follow the right steps. 

The Extended Workforce is growing rapidly, and the software that enterprises need to engage and manage this workforce is changing. Utmost has always maintained that there is a new category of enterprise application emerging: An Extended Workforce System (EWS). An EWS is talent-focused, aligned with HCM, and caters to all types of workers.  

Utmost Front Door is the centerpiece of our EWS and is a departure from legacy Vendor Management System (VMS) providers. It is the keystone of our strategy in displacing incumbent Vendor Management Solutions.

Why do we think that Utmost Front Door is so important? To answer this question, we need to briefly examine how traditional VMS solutions are used in an enterprise context today.

The VMS Paradox

The fundamental VMS paradox is that, although they have been around for the last 20 years, they only capture 6% of the extended workforce. For most enterprises, the extended workforce is a 94% blindspot. In a world where the extended workforce accounts for nearly 50% of the total workforce, how can this be? How come there isn’t a more pervasive application for managing the extended workforce? It’s over $4.5T in spend globally.

Why are the existing solutions not more widely used?:

  1. The VMS has never really broken out of its back office, staffing agency-centric roots.
  2. VMSs have never been integrated into the core systems used to manage people and talent: the HCM suite. One simple example of this: almost no enterprise can tell you how many extended workers they have engaged at any given time.
  3. Adding the two points above leads to the scenario that, when a hiring manager is looking for an extended worker, from a temporary backfill for a key position all the way through to issuing a Statement of Work for a large project, there is no single place for them to go nor a single path to follow.

Rivers and Lakes

As a consequence, the extended worker landscape inside an enterprise is somewhat of a mess. I was talking with the CIO of a Fortune 500 company recently. She told me that she chose a random piece of extended worker spend and asked the hiring manager to tell her what was happening behind that spend. It turned out that there were 300 people assigned to “Microsoft Server Administration.” There were no job roles, no talent profile, no details. She was left with the certainty that there were massive efficiencies to be gained.

Maarten Hansson (formerly of Phillips, now at Novartis) has used the analogy of “Rivers and Lakes” to describe the current scenario. All large organizations have a giant lake of not well-understood talent hidden across their workforce. Trying to get details of those workers is nearly impossible. Even if an organization has a VMS, it only covers about 6% of “The Lake”.  Instead, he believes the right way to address the problem is to control the river feeding the lake: control the point of intake of all future extended workers. By creating a single place for everyone in the organization to go to when they want any type of worker, you control the rivers -- and eventually, clean up the lake.

This is the thinking that has inspired Front Door. A single place rooted in the premiere HCM application - Workday - where everyone can go and be guided through a managed, auditable process to request extended workers. In addition, the enterprise is able to configure those flows so that requests are well-formed and go through the correct approval processes.

We believe that by focusing Front Door on the following three principles, we can change the narrative on how the enterprise thinks and acts about its extended workforce:

  1. Keep it Simple: Use well-known decision tree principles to guide the end user through the process. Rather than asking complex questions, enable the requestor to progress their sourcing request, even with partial information.
  2. Policy-Driven: The decision tree is really a manifestation of the underlying internal policies in how an enterprise classifies its extended workforce. Enabling Front Door to guide a manager through the differences between, for instance, a role-based contractor vs. a milestone-based consultant is key -- using company policies to guide the requestor on worker location, full-time vs. contract labor, SOW vs. T&M labor, and more. The power of a single, consistent, global process to capture the correct classification at the very point at which an extended worker is engaged is the foundation of downstream classification and spend improvements.
  3. Data-Driven: Use accumulated data in Utmost to inform decisions around staffing for the enterprise.The more data you accumulate using Front Door, the more Utmost can help reinforce policies and drive savings for the enterprise, as well as provide total visibility for strategic workforce planning. Front Door helps hiring managers make better “in the moment” decisions amongst the vast range of different worker options.  There are so many different ways (direct sourcing, talent marketplaces, GEO, Statement of Work, etc.) that policy driven, guided processes are the only way to impact overall spend and efficiency.

In Summary

The Extended Workforce is growing rapidly - the Future of Work is remote and extended. Utmost is at the vanguard of driving the innovation for the new category of enterprise application: The Extended Workforce System (EWS).

As we transition from older VMSs to the modern EWS, we can observe patterns from the past. In the 80s and 90s, HR systems were exclusively back-office systems used by HR professionals only. As HR evolved with HCM applications, they became radically more democratic. Every employee in the business now logs into the HCM system.

We believe that Front Door is the essential feature in making an EWS come to life. Front Door is the key democratisation of the most important part of the extended worker process:

  1. Correct classification helps prevent co-employment risk (e.g., a Statement of Work worker being treated as a Contingent Worker).
  2. Correct classification is part of better in the moment decisions -- hiring the right classification of workers for the job. This is the essence of "the river.” By classifying correctly, you reduce cost.
  3. Helping the hiring manager find the right workers for the right work, wherever they may be in the world.

If you want to learn more about Utmost Front Door, please visit us here or contact

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