Doug Leeby on the Future of Contingent Workforce Management: ‘You’re Not Going to Like This’ — Beeline Conference 2016 Dispatch

Beeline Conference 2016 agsandrew/Adobe Stock

Beeline President Doug Leeby cracked open the 2016 Beeline Conference with an address that focused on how Beeline is preparing for radical shifts in the contingent workforce space.  

Leeby began by covering some history and basic statistics about the company and some favorable benchmarking comparisons, but he quickly diverted into talking about his vision of the future and some predictions. These were often punctuated by the statement, “You’re not going to like this.”

Leeby spoke to what he saw as unprecedented changes in the contingent workforce management space.  He acknowledged the arrival of many new technology players that may not be directly competitive to Beeline but challenged the company’s thinking and influenced its strategy.

Regarding technology and its impacts, Leeby said, we are rapidly reaching an inflection point at which there will be an acceleration of transformational technology in the space. Technology supporting total customer experience, big data, analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) will come together.

Within the next five to 10 years, Leeby said, the space will be very different from today. He even hazarded a prediction that within 10 years staffing firms in their basic (we’d say garden-variety) form will cease to exist. Leeby also predicted the absence of recruiters 10 years from now. Even interviews would go away, as there would be enough data and powerful analytical matching to replace them. At some point in the future, he predicted, requesting talent would be unnecessary — talent would just show up (apparently like inventory replenishment).

Leeby then reported on some key initiatives at Beeline:

  • Big data is big, reflected by a new partnership with Brightfield Strategies to leverage Brightfield’s Talent Data Exchange (TDX ). Predictive analytics and AI lie ahead.
  • Beeline continues to develop self sourcing, perhaps the biggest new development in in the contingent workforce space after SOW, in it’s OnForce VMS Plugin capabilities, which gives VMS business users the ability to directly source contingent talent from their own talent pools within the Onforce Talent Exchange.
  • Total talent management (TTM), an elusive concept, no doubt, but one that will eventually take shape. Leeby described briefly how Beeline is preparing for TTM — and noted that he wasn’t sure TTM included robots, drones and so forth. (Note: Like Staffing Industry Analysts, we tend to think that sourcing work and capabilities in the future may in fact be an orchestrated, blended sourcing of humans and machines, something that already happens in other categories — think “me and my truck”.)

Leeby also overviewed Beeline’s solution architecture, or model, for this brave new world: a network that integrates across the core VMS and extends from business end users all the way to external talent platform sources and other service platforms. The Beeline solution model, Leeby said, is to enable its own ecosystems that are optimal for its businesses. What he says to clients: “You want to bring in another talent network? Go and get it, and we’ll plug it in.”

Please follow Andrew Karpie on Twitter @andrewkarpie. Read more of our contingent workforce and services procurement coverage.

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