With MBO Connect 2.0, MBO Partners--a leading player in independent professional contractor compliance, payment and contractor support services--has taken another step in its strategy to become a comprehensive technology-based, work intermediation platform business. For several years now, even before the launch of MBO Connect in 2015, MBO has been unfolding its strategy to not simply provide a compliance wrapper around a business’ independent workers, but to provide a platform that will connect different businesses and different independent contractors.
MBO Connect: The Caterpillar
MBO Connect was the first iteration of the provider’s online work intermediation platform that allows MBO enterprise clients to direct source and manage their own “preferred talent networks” of independent professionals and enable independent professionals to maximize their own business outcomes across a range of “client of choice” employers. Perhaps what most differentiated MBO Connect from other online work platforms, including those designated as freelancer management services (FMS), was its service layer of robust, gold-standard compliance assurance and its specific focus on high-skilled independent professional talent.
For more information on MBO Connect, refer to our articles on that subject: MBO Partners Launches MBO Connect — A New Way for Enterprises to Directly Source Independent Professionals and MBO Connect: Returning to Kick the Tires and Look Under the Hood.
MBO Connect 2.0: The Butterfly
MBO Connect 2.0 represents “a major update” to MBO Connect released in 2015, according to the recent press release.
“Following a successful pilot launched in 2015, MBO Partners incorporated enterprise feedback to enhance the tool,” it continues. “MBO Connect 2.0 upgrades include a new user interface, automated resume parsing, alerts and more. Central to 2.0 is the focus on ease of use, delivered by point-and-click workflows, automation and just-in-time notifications letting users know when attention is required.”
According to MBO Partners VP of Product Development Julian Richards, Connect 2.0 “is all about simplicity. We put a lot of effort into streamlining the experience, taking as much of the searching and vetting as possible off the manager’s and contractor’s plates so they can focus on their project work.”
The press release was a bit short on details, which we would like to go deeper into. We plan to follow up with MBO at HR Tech for a more detailed briefing on MBO Connect 2.0 and report back with further details and analysis.
In the meantime, we’d like use this opportunity to put MBO Partners into a context we established in The Digital Evolution of the Contingent Workforce Supply Chain: What Does It Mean? (Part 1).
We wrote that it is clear to us that new digital work intermediation platforms and ecosystems have begun to have a secondary effect of kindling digital transformation and innovation within the existing contingent workforce supply chain — and it will continue. One could say that, to some extent, some players in the supply chain are making use of the hotbed of innovation outside of the existing supply chain, looking into the window of a functioning laboratory and observing all of the experiments and outcomes and learning how they should respond to them.
We also observed that some traditional staffing suppliers and IC compliance firms have become students of work intermediation platforms (WIPs) and have come to the conclusion that they require a suitable adaptive response. Their responses have focused on where there might be shortcomings in WIPs (e.g., compliance), where there might be parts of the WIP concept that they could adopt (usually taking the form of managed talent pools/clouds) and how those might complement with their own capabilities to bring innovative solutions to their clients.
From our standpoint, MBO Partners clearly fits into this category.
This is important, because we believe that by 2025 we will see a contingent workforce intermediation space that consists of three segments of intermediaries:
- Viable standalone, new entrant WIPs and ecosystems with integration points in different areas of the existing supply chain (such as VMS)
- Viable traditional supply chain players that have innovated and produced new useful service offerings for their clients (some actually becoming some form of work intermediation platform)
- Existing supply chain players that have not adapted and innovated and have begun to attrit from the space
Based on our close monitoring over the past few years, MBO is pursuing a long-term strategy that can lead it to a position in the second segment above. Stay tuned as our coverage of MBO Partners and MBO Connect continues.