Beeline Client Conference Day 1: Becoming a Platform for Enterprises’ Entire Extended Workforces

The Beeline Conference got off to its first full day on Wednesday when company President Doug Leeby addressed a conference hall brimming with well over a hundred extremely interested clients and partners. My interpretation of his overall message: Beeline is here to support you in your contingent workforce management today, but Beeline is also taking concrete steps now to leverage technology to take you into the future. Indeed, Beeline does seem to be leading the way. And with over 140 clients in nearly 70 countries and $23 billion of growing spend under management, Beeline appears to have quite a following as well.

Leeby’s address focused on a number of major developments occurring at Beeline as it continues to up-shift from being just a VMS to being a technology business with a mission to provide businesses with low friction, efficient and managed ways to source and engage the non-employee workforce. As Beeline puts it: “One platform for your entire extended workforce.”

Beeline Initiatives Span Present and Future

Leeby spoke on a range of company initiatives that are upgrading its technology platform to support clients more effectively today as well as prepare for or start moving into the future.

  • Acknowledging that workforce engagement and procurement are evolving rapidly into a future that is both increasingly digital and global, Leeby spoke to the importance of data security and sensitivities about personal and business data across different international jurisdictions. One element of this initiative, in addition to aiming for software with a bullet-proof data architecture, has been the establishment of a state-of-the-art Beeline data center in Switzerland.
  • Leeby also discussed the extensive investments made in taking user experience to a new level and upgrading a broad range of functionalities within the core VMS solution. Among other functionalities, Beeline has extensively expanded its “services procurement” capabilities in response to an explosive growth (over 80%) in Beeline client’s SOW spend.
  • Strongly implying that the world of staffing is not standing still (or stopping at SOW), Leeby spent the last part of his address introducing conference attendees to Beeline‘s latest innovative step coming a year or so after its acquisition of OnForce: The Onforce VMS Plug-In and Talent Exchange, which is now in beta with a number of clients. Beeline appears to be in the process of establishing a new state-of-the-art technology stack to support a “direct sourcing” capability that gives hiring managers or contingent workforce or MSP program professionals an option – in addition to staffing suppliers – to source talent/labor candidates from pools of candidates. Beeline will not be pulling this off alone, but has built its technology to engage a range a partners (some present at the conference) to support talent sourcing and other key services necessary to legitimately and successfully engage non-employee talent “directly.”

The Future is Usually Different From What We Imagine

By the end of the day, engaging with numerous clients and partners and getting some time to talk with Beeline’s head of Product Management Colleen Tiner, I came to a number of realizations about the future of businesses engaging workers over the next few years starting now. Here’s what they were:

  • Enterprise clients (in fact, practically all I spoke with at the conference) appear very motivated to explore and find alternative channels for sourcing and engaging talent beyond existing traditional supplier channels. Enterprises are on the hunt for quicker, more flexible, and more efficient ways to get the talent needed by their business managers. They are looking for new solutions, and they know they can’t sit still.
  • These enterprises, however, need to be led onto innovative paths. They can’t be presented with solutions that raise more questions than they do provide answers. Cool technology is not enough—it has to deliver results in ways that meet their organizational and risk control requirements. Beeline seems to have understood this important issue of acceptance and adoption.
  • Beeline also seems to have understood that the extended workforce solutions of the future will not follow the “enterprise system pattern” of the last 20 years. Making current and future technology work for us and changing the way business can be done (including engaging different demographics of talent in non-employee work arrangements) will follow entirely different open and collaborative patterns. Businesses can no longer rely on “systems” to be successful in today’s digital world, they must embrace digital platforms and the ecosystems of complementors that go hand in hand.

Beeline has embarked upon a bold but necessary journey with its clients and with various complementary partners to build a next generation digital ecosystem to power up and enable enterprises’ extended workforces in the (not very distant) future. In today’s world of staffing and contingent workforce, Beeline is distinguishing itself as a client-focused technology innovator and leader.

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