What WorkRails’ Latest Funding Round Means for Procurement Practitioners

Catalant

WorkRails, founded in late 2015, announced that it has raised $2.3M in a seed round led by Boldstart Ventures and including Lerer Hippeau Ventures, BoxGroup, and Lattice Ventures. The Long Island-based company, co-founded by Work Market and OnForce co-founder Jeff Leventhal, brings a unique play to the growing and rapidly evolving digital work intermediation platform space. While that realm tends to be thought of in terms of categories like freelancer marketplaces, crowdsourcing, and FMS, it is actually highly heterogeneous and continuously spawning innovative models.

How WorkRails, Well, Works

According to the press release, “WorkRails uniquely allows software companies to embed consulting access as an application feature, making it easy, scalable and profitable to offer professional services.” And in today’s world of cloud-based subscription software, professional services are an important way for software providers to enhance business growth and margins and to achieve stickiness.

WorkRails gives a software provider a double-dip by (1) creating a captive channel to grow the provider’s professional services revenues and (2) delivering value to clients/users by enabling easy access to the help they need on-demand (“in-app” purchasing of professional services).

WorkRails’ CEO Leventhal notes: “Millions of people use cloud-based enterprise applications to do their jobs. When the need arises to hire consultants and service professionals with application-specific expertise, it becomes a manual and time-intensive process to find, hire, and work with the right expert.”

In addition to providing software application users with “access to a company-curated network of consultants,” WorkRails also “allows clients and consultants to collaborate in real time” with “functionality to track milestones, progress and budget, while providing insight and analytics on the most in-demand services and providers.”

According to the press release, WorkRails is now “in private beta with several top enterprise applications,” which were not named.

What This Means If You’re a Procurement Practitioner

For procurement practitioners, WorkRails is yet another example of the ongoing digital transformation of the purchasing and supply chain models for services (including professional talent and services). This particular model also provides an interesting twist for contract, supplier, visibility and spend management given its embeddedness in enterprise software providers’ solutions. Does this represent an opportunity for procurement or just an additional challenge? With increasing digitization and the now-possible nesting of platforms and networks within one another, contingent workforce and services procurement is definitely entering a new dimension, which will become increasingly evident over the next five years.

We will be very interested to observe WorkRails and other innovative solutions as they proceed along their developmental paths. Analyzing, understanding and mapping these solutions individually—and increasingly and more importantly how they interact—will be a key part of our research for practitioners.  For more information on WorkRails, visit the company's website at http://workrails.com/.

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