Self Sourcing, Services Procurement and More: Beeline Conference 2016 Dispatch

Beeline Conference 2016

At the 2016 Beeline Conference, I’ve now spent a couple of hours in and around Beeline’s Tech Expo (demo floor) between last night and today. Two of the product areas that I wanted to investigate further stand at two opposite ends of the services buying spectrum: complex services procurement (MSA/SOW/project-based) and the freelancer management system (FMS) area.

Beeline has put a lot of thought into both, as it has built out its services procurement module as well as fully integrated its OnForce acquisition into the core platform. (Stay tuned for detailed coverage in this later area from my colleague Andrew Karpie.)

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In looking at the latest releases of both modules — albeit quickly — a few things come to mind. I’ll start with services procurement in this post and share my layman (compared with Andrew’s) thoughts on the “Self Sourcing” module in a later post:

  • Beeline is very much taking a “suite” approach to services procurement, with an end-to-end solution that starts with up-front requirements definition that go into an RFI for setting up a specific MSA or SOW (or both) and then takes the user through to contract award, onboarding and management (the latter areas leveraging the VMS components of the tool). The sweet spot for Beeline’s services procurement module, as with other VMS and procurement suite providers today, appears to be for lower-to-mid value specialized services engagements, as well as programs transitioning from a staffing model to SOW for compliance and other purposes. (My quick take is that the management of complex services agreements for larger consulting and BPO programs is better suited to specialist providers, although clearly the SOW/MSA capability in Beeline is superior to a generic procurement suite or Microsoft Office-led models.)
  • From a sourcing standpoint, Beeline has continued to build out capabilities that overlap with the e-sourcing modules of standalone tools and source-to-pay (S2P) suites. Customers that have access to both will need to make decisions about where they “do” sourcing. It won’t be a cut-and-dry decision given how Beeline has fleshed out its side-by-side comparison features, added multiround capabilities and other sourcing elements and integrated this with the rest of Its services procurement capabilities, including contracting, onboarding and contractor/resource management.
  • Beeline has enhanced its services procurement supplier performance management (SPM) capability with deeper capabilities around scorecarding and surveys, including the ability to survey internal stakeholders around supplier performance. As with sourcing, it’s not a full-blown supplier management module that we’d see in specialized toolset or suite, but it begs the question for companies that have access to Beeline and another tool: should feedback, performance management and continuous improvement activities for strategic services suppliers take place in the VMS or a different technology? There’s an advantage to integrated approaches and capturing all information in one place, and there’s also an advantage to specialized capabilities as well. It will be an individual call for each procurement organization, no doubt!

Stay tuned for further live coverage from the 2016 Beeline Conference, including a look at how “Self Sourcing” (i.e., the FMS component of Beeline) is now integrated with the core platform.

Read more of our contingent workforce and services procurement coverage.

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