WorkMarket Acquires OnForce: Not Such a Big Deal, or More Significant Than It Appears?

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WorkMarket announced Wednesday that it has acquired OnForce from The Adecco Group for an undisclosed amount, forming a strategic partnership with Addeco as part of the deal, according to a press release.

The acquisition of OnForce will increase WorkMarket’s existing footprint in the field tech contractor work execution vertical. OnForce, founded in 2003, was a pioneer in that segment, which WorkMarket entered in 2010. WorkMarket subsequently has been investing in its state-of-the-art platform and has begun to serve a range of different verticals, including retail and media.

Since its inception, WorkMarket has raised $66 million in five rounds, most recently a Series D round in April 2017 led by Accenture and Foundry Group. WorkMarket considers Accenture a strategic partner, and some have noted that the acquisition also aligns with Accenture’s field services management practice.

Tactical and Strategic Significance of the Deal

OnForce and WorkMarket have served a small niche in an expansive field services technology solutions market with what came to be known as a freelancer management system (FMS). This type of digital platform solution enabled the dispatch and control of assignments and work performed by independent contractor field techs on behalf of OEMs, large integrators, VARS and the like.

Despite the size of the market segment, it has remained a significant, profitable business vertical, WorkMarket CEO Stephen DeWitt told us recently, alongside the other new verticals WorkMarket has begun to serve with its more comprehensive platform strategy. Moreover, there is only one remaining competitor in the segment (Field Nation), and markets outside of North America are still, for the most part, untouched.

“The acquisition of OnForce further expands our commitment to building the best work automation tools,” DeWitt said in the press release. “Solution providers and tech integrators can now fully automate their entire bench of labor — full-time techs, independent contractors and vendors — all from a single platform that integrates into leading IT service management platforms like ServiceNow™ and includes dynamic provisioning, real-time analytics, compliance tools and more.”

While the deal is a certainly a consolidation play in a niche segment where the OnForce technology platform is considered legacy, DeWitt told us that the replatforming of OnForce clients onto the WorkMarket platform will be paced by the customers themselves, recognizing that some customers have developed intricate integrations and processes around OnForce.

DeWitt also stressed that the acquisition of OnForce was not simply a market share grab; rather, it brings significant data assets to WorkMarket, as well as strengthens and develops key ecosystem partnerships (e.g., Accenture and Adecco).

More to Come

Accordingly, the acquisition has deeper significance than perhaps apparent, not only in terms of direct benefits to WorkMarket (as discussed above) but also as a part of the ongoing digitalization and transformation of the human capital supply chain and the evolution of work. That being the case, we will publish a follow-on PRO research brief that will analyze the acquisition in further depth and examine its significance in a broader industry context, considering the implications for contingent workforce and services procurement practitioners.

For more in-depth analysis of about WorkMarket, refer to our recent WorkMarket Vendor Snapshot series (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). And stay tuned for our in-depth analysis of the acquisition coming up soon.

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Voices (3)

  1. Jim Kirschenmann:

    Surprising that SpendMatters is of the mistaken impression that this acquisition is a positive thing for the ongoing digitalization and transformation of the human capital supply chain and evolution of work. It is, in fact, a false assumption that leads them to this impression – thinking that each supply chain provider is EXCLUSIVE, wile in fact, most I.T. contractors are signed up to supply human capital on ALL service marketplaces.

    I myself, for instance, was an early adopter of OnForce, then WorkMarket and Field Nation concurrently. I would watch the work order requests come in and spot the ones that were worth my paying attention to in terms of routing and time allotments. There were days I could route all call through the same platform, but most often I used all three platforms and picked up calls on a general driving circuit that made the most sense for my availability, while interleaving with other activities. So… combining 3 service platforms does NOT mean you are reaching 3 times the number of techs, it simply means the techs have 1/3rd the options to choose from.

    So much for “evolving work” environments. Kind of like thinking you could benefit the consumer by breaking up the phone company and then having SW Bell swallow up the other RBOCS and the “consumer” still had to deal with the last mile of copper from the same company they always had!

    This is NOT an “evolution” – quite the OPPOSITE! WM may be aligning itself to the benefit of investors, but it is NOT helping the I.T. Pro in any way.

    1. Andrew Karpie:

      Hi Jim,

      Thank you for your comments. I understand and appreciate your point to view — in particular, with respect to the potential contractor impacts. We don’t address these in article, as we tend to focus more on the buyer side audience. That is the market we serve by providing information about supply chain technology solution developments. That said, a change like consolidation of supply chain chain intermediaries can effect suppliers–even negatively–and those impacts could also impact demand side users. Time will tell.

      I do take issue with a number of your assertions, however:

      > “SpendMatters is of the mistaken impression that this acquisition is a positive thing for the ongoing digitalization and transformation of the human capital supply chain and evolution of work.” We don’t say that it is a “positive thing,” only that it has bearing.
      > “a false assumption that leads them to this impression – thinking that each supply chain provider is EXCLUSIVE, wile in fact, most I.T. contractors are signed up to supply human capital on ALL service marketplaces.” We don’t make any such assumption. The matter is not addressed in the article. Individually, I never assumed this to be the case, on the contrary–unless the cost was was prohibitive, savvy technicians like you would optimize in this way and probably in other ways.
      > “combining 3 service platforms does NOT mean you are reaching 3 times the number of techs” We don’t say this and don’t think this. Clearly the number of techs is the same whether there is one or more platforms (unless the impact of consolidation is negative, and some techs drop out). Note: I’d be surprised if WorkMarket and Field Nation consolidate any time soon (so there should be an Uber and Lyft for some time). It also looks like there is a new entrant in the market.
      > “it simply means the techs have 1/3rd the options to choose from” I guess that’s true in the number of platforms, but may not in terms of the number of assignments, unless some of the senders of those assignments decide to leave the platforms.

      It’s true that very often consolidation is not good for consumers, but not always the case. Again, time will tell.

      We agree that WorkMarket is trying to maximize the value to its investors — but it won’t do that by not serving its contractorswell and maximizing the value they get.

      As for WorkMarket’s significance in “the ongoing digitalization and transformation of the human capital supply chain and the evolution of work,” we look at this more broadly than what is happening in the Field Services segment. Platforms like OnForce and WorkMarket have already been significant in “the digitalization and transformation of the human capital supply chain and the evolution of work.” WorkMarket may continue to be a part of this innovation in a broader market going forward.

      Just wanted to clarify our point of view. That said, your points are very well taken. And the ongoing gig technology evolution does appear to have pluses as well as minuses for workers.

      Thank you again.

  2. Paul Walters:

    It’s a disaster for the IC. Work Market is a horrible platform not caring if services are paid for. Their claim that they are a “Software Company” rings hollow when an IC performs a job for a buyer on their platform and then gets stiffed. I speak from experience. I have not been on that platform in 4 years and will never and their assuming the only legit platform in this space spells trouble for the I.T. IC professional.

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