Exploring the VMS of the Future – Beeline’s Take

During his opening keynote at the Beeline customer event today, Doug Leeby, Beeline’s President and CEO, shared a number of thoughts on where Beeline is headed as well as his views on the future of services procurement technology. A central part of his argument on the future of the VMS was how it will deliver a total talent matching/management system beyond simply acting as a platform of the management of contingent labor.

In short, Doug said, “We want to have a singular focus on our end game which is about talent.” But it’s also imperative to remember services procurement “is a people business and always will be.”

Doug explained, “What we care most about are outcomes. My obligation is to find you exceptional talent.” This requires taking a “total cost of ownership” perspective that also measures outcomes (e.g., top line impact) that go beyond just tracking and managing expenditures themselves. As an example, Doug noted that “we get fixated on bill rate but we don’t look at quality … Am I better off hiring five employees at $70K per year or two consultants at XYZ per hour? How can I know what is the right decision? That is where we all need to go.”

But it’s not just a case of looking at contingent workers from staffing firms. We must consider the “massive labor pool as talent (not staffing providers alone) … in order to extract better outcomes.” This requires “considering independent contractors on Facebook, using alumni programs,” and other means of recruiting talent. And it also requires taking a closer look at sourcing – including using a VMS to make the best possible total cost decision that also leads to the best talent outcomes.

On the topic of sourcing, during the technology expo “open house” part the conference, I had the chance to check out a beta release of Beeline’s forthcoming sourcing module. Essentially, Beeline has built a somewhat basic tool (by current e-sourcing standards) designed as an integral extension of the VMS that includes RFP/RFI capability, scoring/weighting, and related capabilities to solicit and evaluate supplier responses and drive competition.

But stronger sourcing capabilities alone will not be enough to drive better talent decisions and overall outcomes. Better social collaboration, performance management, and reporting will all be essential as well – as well as an overarching analytics layer. Look out for further coverage on what Beeline’s product roadmap is in these areas.

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