What Happened to FMS in the Past Year? A Request For FMS Providers to Share Their Stories


In a recent post, “Freelancer Management Systems: The Origin and Destiny of a Species,” we established that the freelance management system (FMS), as a concept, is not much more than a year old. We also tried to define what an FMS actually is – in short, a digital platform for enterprises to manage the independent workers who perform work for them.

A number of solution providers have defined at least parts of their businesses as FMS: those include Beeline-OnForce, Field Nation, Gigwalk (Enterprise), MBO Partners, Upwork (Enterprise), and Work Market. There also some more aspirational players that would include Nvoi, Lystable, and Coworks, which is now in the process of developing an enterprise offering. Finally, not long ago The Washington Post announced its development and launch of its own private FMS – a first, but perhaps the last, of such models.   

Strangely, for the most part, there has been an eerie silence about the progression of these solution platforms, with perhaps a few exceptions about new development of functionality, Beeline’s announcement being perhaps the most material. More importantly, there has been a complete silence and absence of announcements about deals getting done with clients. (Need not name the client, but could say for example “a very large pharma company.”)

After recently hearing a service procurement practitioner for a very large information services/media company asserting to one of the FMS providers that he could not convince his boss of a positive cost-benefit, I started to wonder more seriously how difficult it is perhaps for FMS providers to actually sell their solutions. In effect, one might ponder: no news, is…no news.  

So I would like to challenge FMS providers to meaningfully answer a few questions to the extent that they can, without divulging too much:

  1. How many new sales have been made in the past year and in what kind of business? For FMS providers that have been largely focused on field tech services, how many sales have occurred outside of that segment?
  1. Where some type of agreement has been established with clients, what has been the extent of penetration/adoption in the client organization over the past year? Could it range from a “limited pilot” all the way to “full adoption” across the enterprise to be able to manage all independent workers? How many VMS integrations have been done?

Besides answering these question, I’d love to get free-form comments/additional inputs. Comments from enterprises are also welcome – these can range from far-off opinions on the subject to having actually engaged and implemented an FMS.   

Please respond by sending your answers/comments to me at akarpie (at) spendmatters (dot) com. Answers and comments will not be shared with other businesses.    

If there are sufficient responses, I will likely analyze the data with the intent of publishing another article on the findings. You can be assured, however, that all identities will be concealed and the write-up will not allow inferences to identify a specific provider.  

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