Author Archives: Andrew Karpie

Beeline: Vendor Snapshot (Part 1) — Background & Solution Overview

Beeline is a global “external workforce management solutions” provider and, alongside SAP Fieldglass, one of the top two providers of VMS solutions globally, based on volume and revenue. After years occupying the traditional VMS software category, the company has begun to expand its solution in a number of different directions to address the changing needs of enterprise clients at a time when external workforce utilization is increasing and new technology solutions for sourcing and managing contingent workforce and services (CW/S) are required.

This Spend Matters PRO Vendor Snapshot provides facts and expert analysis to help buying organizations make informed decisions about whether they need a solution like Beeline as provider of VMS software or a provider of technology-based CW/S solutions beyond traditional VMS. Part 1 of our analysis provides a company background and detailed solution overview, as well as a summary recommended fit suggestion for when organizations should consider Beeline. Parts 2 and 3 of this multipart research brief cover product strengths and weaknesses, competitor and SWOT analyses, user selection guides and insider evaluation and selection considerations.

Note: Since Beeline merged with IQNavigator in 2016, there have been two VMS technology platforms operating under the Beeline brand. (A process to “converge” the two platforms on a new, state-of-the-art technology architecture is underway.) In this particular Vendor Snapshot, the section Beeline Solution Overview — Offerings and Functionality (below) focuses only on the Beeline VMS technology platform, pending separate treatment of the IQN platform. The order of treatment is in no way intended to suggest a ranking of one platform over the other.

IT Talent and Services Sourcing: Innovation in a Challenging Environment (Part 2)


In this two-part series, we examine the state of technology-based sourcing, specifically in the IT workforce/services category. In Part 1, we looked into environmental factors that are driving innovation and other elements that are motivating openness to new approaches. In Part 2, we investigate different kinds of innovative sourcing solutions within the IT category and explore the emergence of an alternative supply chain or work/services sourcing ecosystem. We also provide recommendations for organizations to nurture and build alternative sourcing models and programs alongside existing IT services procurement channels. Providers reviewed in this brief include Hired, Toptal, Upwork and Kaggle.

IT Talent and Services Sourcing: Innovation in a Challenging Environment (Part 1)

Technology-based innovation in workforce and services sourcing has been a major focus here at Spend Matters over the past years. And though we have tracked the trend of increasing work platform specialization (platforms serving up anything from data scientists to marketing content deliverables to food service workers), we have not really zeroed in on sourcing innovation in any specific workforce or services category.

In this two-part Spend Matters Plus brief, we take a look at what’s happening in the IT workforce/services category. In part 1, we look into environmental factors that are driving innovation and other elements motivating openness to new approaches. In part 2, we examine some examples of different kinds of innovative sourcing solutions in the category.

Human Capital Innovation (Part 3): Is the C-Suite Asleep at the Wheel?

Adopting a new way of leveraging talent means changing critical parts of an organization’s underlying musculature and nervous system. Ultimately, such a change requires a transformation of the reflex response of “how we get things done with talent.” This means a departure from well-established practices for hiring talent and managing work, projects and outcomes. In many ways, this is a decentralized, bottom-up process, but it cannot gain traction without the proactive support and power of the C-suite.

How Innovative is Your VMS Provider?


What does it mean when a technology provider is innovative — or not? Innovation has been defined as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, unarticulated needs or existing market needs (Maranville, 1992). By this definition, is your vendor management system (VMS) provider innovative — or not? In this Spend Matters Plus brief:

  • We discuss why identifying and calibrating VMS innovation is especially important today.
  • We pose the obvious, practical question: How can you judge if a VMS solution is innovating?
  • We provide an up-to-date framework to help you make that assessment (based on specific innovation criteria specific to services procurement).
  • We suggest how to use this framework in the context of vendor evaluation and vendor management (performance/innovation management).

OII Research Offers Insights for Fostering Enterprise Adoption of Online Labor Platforms


The first two posts of this Spend Matters series covered the Online Labour Index and related data (here an here). In this post, we cover other OII research focused on enterprise adoption of online labor platforms. This research was conducted and summarized in two OII blog posts by Gretta Corporaal, postdoctoral researcher in organizational studies at OXII. Notably, Corporaal’s research includes “the stories of two Fortune 500 firms [which] successfully adopted and integrated online freelancing in their business models.”

Solution Provider Product and Technology Roadmaps: Are They Important?

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The short answer to the question posed in the title is emphatically and definitively “yes” — now more than ever. When screening or evaluating technology solution providers for e-procurement, contract lifecycle management, vendor management systems (VMS) or any other solution, there is frequently an inherent present and backward-looking bias in evaluating and making decisions about these solutions. Considering only what solutions have done or are doing for their clients (and ex-clients) only tells so much about whether or not the solution is a good fit.

There are probably a number of reasons for this bias, including that it may have led to optimal decisions in the past because vendors often over-promised and only partially delivered. But in today’s world, this bias can handicap a procurement organization given the growing number of new solutions and rapid changes in technology. Whether intentional or not on the part of the solution provider, “adverse selection” may come into play here — to the detriment of all. By not knowing where a provider plans or intends to (or actually can) take its solution in the future, the buyer is missing crucial information that could result in a bad decision. Making sure that roadmaps are reviewed and analyzed is an important way to mitigate this risk.

In this Spend Matters PRO research brief, we explore this problem and make suggestions to support ways to move beyond it, including how to look at a provider’s product and technology maps from a 2017 cloud-era frame of reference. For those who are new to this topic, we start with the basics, providing an explanation of what vendor product and technology roadmaps are, what they should contain and what you should expect.

The Gig Economy in the U.K.: Growth, Issues and Predictions


The “gig” or “platform” economy is a worldwide phenomenon. Whether car service drivers or skilled online freelancers, it is present and growing in many countries in every region across the world. Not only is it an enormous pool of labor, the gig economy may also represent potential sourcing networks, since generally workers are connected through various digital platforms. But for now, while the gig economy is growing across the globe, labor issues and legal uncertainties are common.

Where Are Online Workers Located? — Oxford Internet Institute Tool Breaks it Down

In the first article of this series, Online Gig Economy Up 26% Over Last Year: Oxford Internet Institute, we covered the demand side of the global online work marketplace — specifically overall growth in projects posted in the aggregate and by region/country and occupational category. It bears repeating here that the subject workforce is what has been called “digitally delivered” labor (i.e., online freelancing and crowd work) consisting of “temporary and project-based work conducted remotely over digital platforms.” In this article, we summarize new iLabour Project research focused on the demand side of the marketplace, in particular the number of online workers (by region/country and occupational category).

Eaze: On-Demand Cannabis Delivery to Your Home

In the past month or so, Spend Matters has featured a number of articles about the fast-growing cannabis industry and supply chain. It’s complex, but the cannabis industry is not what it used to be. While the earlier articles have focused on procurement and supply chain processes and technology, there is another area of the business that was not covered: on-demand home delivery. Over the past two years, a number of startups have emerged to provide the platform/app-based service — think of it as a Grubhub or DoorDash for pot, instead of food. The list includes companies like Nugg, Speed Weed and, but perhaps the most recognized — and most well funded — is Eaze.

Online Gig Economy Up 26% Over Last Year: Oxford Internet Institute

The Oxford Internet Institute recently highlighted a sharp rise in its Online Labour Index, which “measures the utilization of online labor across countries and occupations by tracking the number of projects and tasks in real time.” The “normalized” index is based on the number of new projects posted daily to six of the largest English-language labor platforms, reportedly accounting for at least 60% of all traffic to English-language online labour platforms. According to the index methodology overview, these platforms represent a “range of different market mechanisms and contracting styles, from online piecework to hourly freelancing.”

Catalant Raises $41 Million to Expand Its Transformative Enterprise Talent Solution and Bring in the Future of Work


Boston-based Catalant, perhaps the leading technology platform for “business expertise,” announced this week that it has raised an additional $41 million in private equity. This brings the total investment in the company to $73 million since its founding in 2013. The new investment, which comes from the full complement of earlier investors (including Greylock Partners, GE Ventures, Mark Cuban), signals continuing confidence in the company and its future.