"We Try Harder" — Beeline Takes Avis' Motto to Heart in Services Procurement (Part 1)

Unfortunately, Avis no longer lives up to the motto that it famously coined in the 1960s: "We try harder." Back then, "the premise was to create a brand conveying strategy to have Avis compete for market share against Hertz the market leader, not by underpricing but by providing a higher level of service and thus the 'We Try Harder' campaign was born and is still in use today," Wikipedia notes. It's a shame that Beeline can't license this tagline when it comes to the contingent -- and emerging SOW -- services procurement world, because our product analysis and customer reference discussions show that Beeline probably does a better job listening to users and providing an overall VMS experience based on pragmatic input, usability and requirements than any other provider. In fact, I'd go so far as to say the Beeline user (including UI) and overall customer experience is among the best in the market, even if the solution lacks a few bells and whistles around the edges.

In a multi-part post looking at Beeline beginning today, we'll begin to examine the state of the vendor, review its current capabilities and share the customer perspective based on a number of reference discussions had with Beeline users (including those using Beeline on a global basis). My deep-dive on the company and product (four recent individual meetings and demonstrations), follow-up reference calls (two formal and highly detailed conversations with separate large companies) and continued dialogue with company management and some in the contingent community, including practitioners, staffing firms and MSPs, has made me backtrack on a previous position that Beeline had reduced its level of R&D investment and focus on innovation.

Frankly, I've done the research, and I candidly really like what I see going into the product (and what customers have to say about it). Even though Beeline may not get invited to the table as much as IQNavigator and Fieldglass these days (and some other MSPs and VMS providers love nothing than to rail on Adecco's "VMS stepchild," as one put it), among others, I suspect it to win an increasing percentage of the deals where customers really torture the product an organization to see what they're made of. There are some very clever things about it, even down to how information is displayed and shared, which show significant user empathy and applied usage nuance in Beeline's thinking. But I'll leave this detail to the next post in the series.

If Beeline is not on your VMS shortlist today, the bottom line is that it should be (regardless of your inclination to consider Adecco, its parent company, for enabling staffing, MSP or RPO capabilities). Today, Beeline counts 88 VMS clients, 60% of whom are in the Fortune 500 or Global 2000. Of these, 48% use Beeline as an MSP as well, 40% rely on a client-led vendor management office (VMO) structure and 20% use a non-Beeline MSP, wrapped around the Beeline VMS. 21% of client spend (contingent and SOW) going through the Beeline system is outside of the US. Discussions with customers suggest global enablement, including on the ground MSP capability in emerging markets and the ability to rapidly deploy to new markets, is one of the company's major assets.

Our research from the field suggests that Beeline pricing is competitive with other providers and for VMS, relies on the industry standard percentage of spend model. Discussions with those in the market also suggest that pricing is negotiable under this model (based in part on volume) and that SOW pricing structures deviates from the volume-based standard. Beeline provides standard MSP support capability including the ability to respond to help define key business processes, responding to business inbounds/questions and requests, administration and reporting, supplier access requests and change requests, among other capabilities and looks closer to an IQNavigator in this regard in terms of overall services-enabled program support than Fieldglass, for example.

Stay tuned as we dig into the Beeline VMS solution in our next post.

- Jason Busch

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