Best practices for applying data analytics to freelance programs

As a data-driven enterprise, we've found that measuring the effectiveness of our freelance program is critical to program growth and health.

Learn from the experiences of a Procurement Director at Microsoft and his team of sourcing managers focused on setting up a responsible freelance program for our organization. The team was tasked with:

  • Increasing internal demand for freelance platforms
  • Demonstrating that our freelance program enables employees to operate at an agile pace that produces quality results
  • Providing evidence that freelance projects deliver speed, scale, and efficiency aligning to our company-specific guidelines

As the team measured the impact of our freelance program at Microsoft, they have found a number of best practices to be helpful. These best practices were developed with Microsoft employees in HR, Legal, Procurement, Research, Corporate Strategy, and Product Development who helped deploy our freelance program.

Icon Best practice
a flag Identify benchmarks and key performance indicators. Our procurement team invested early in identifying specific benchmarks and key performance indicators (KPIs) for measuring our freelance program. Some key metrics include average time to engage, spend per project category, average spend per project, and average project duration.
a person Tie data to stories While our procurement team has found that data tells a compelling story by itself, they have learned that leveraging key data points in the context of specific case studies is an effective way to share program success.
a heartbeat Track demand by task type and team. As our procurement team has been tracking the growing demand for our enterprise freelance program, they've found it useful to watch growth across the different types of tasks that employees are sending through, as well as which teams and divisions are adopting the model. This helps them understand where our freelance program is useful, and identify what other groups may benefit from additional program information.
a ledger Measure spend across multiple pivots. Because freelance program adoption is varied across our enterprise, our procurement team watches spend within the program across time (total spend per month), task types, and even per employee. Understanding what projects are being funded when and where helps his team target their engagements to increase program use and effectiveness.
a two documents Compare objectively with external staffing. Our procurement team measures the freelance program against KPIs that map to existing measurements for other proven external staffing resources, so that they can easily see whether the freelance program is realistically providing the enterprise with a responsible and scalable solution.

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