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Beyond VMS: Beeline introduces its extended workforce platform

03/02/2021 By

Beeline, the global, contingent workforce and services technology solution provider, announced a strategic product shift today. The company, which has been known for its core VMS solution for two decades, is now going to market as an extended workforce platform.

The company noted that it is “pushing past the limits of vendor management and a narrow, spend-focused approach” to an extended workforce platform that is talent-centric and intelligence-driven, built specifically for the challenges of external workforce management today.

While the market has looked to Beeline for its global enterprise VMS solution, the company has actually been extending its capabilities beyond it for many years — with SOW spend, non-employee workforce tracking, modules and building a microservices-based technology platform. Now this development of the company’s technology and functional capabilities, along with a shift in how organizations increasingly view the non-employee workforce, has made going to market as a broader extended workforce platform with VMS capabilities almost a natural progression.

Beeline’s extended workforce platform

“The evolution of external workforce management demands a technology partner built for today’s reality,” Beeline CEO, Doug Leeby, said in the announcement. “Our platform goes beyond the typical benefits of a VMS. It optimizes the tremendous value that external talent offers, it leverages decades of data insights, it connects and empowers the strategic workforce solution providers in a company’s ecosystem, and it drives adoption by balancing an intuitive interface with robust functionality that can meet the needs of even the most global, complex external workforce programs.”

Beeline’s cloud-based, extended workforce platform will bring together new technology, functional capabilities, different worker and service types, multiple sourcing channels, and advanced analytical and algorithmic capabilities for organizations that are already facing new, flexible workforce sourcing and management challenges.

Beeline depicts its extended workforce platform in this way:

(Click image to enlarge)

Beeline’s extended workforce platform will offer client businesses the means to tap into fit-for-purpose functional capabilities, including contingent staffing, services/SOW procurement, extended workforce/resource tracking, direct sourcing (via partners), etc.

Beeline sees three key groups of capabilities that distinguish its extended workforce platform:

  • External workforce intelligence: Beeline’s own extensive data set and other sources of data will be “coupled with real-time workforce intelligence views and analysis” to provide businesses “with deep, meaningful data analytics to optimize their external workforce programs.” Beeline and Brightfield recently announced that they have co-developed a AI-data/analytics-driven “Smart Sourcing” set of capabilities.
  • Meaningful user experience (UX): Beeline’s new UX will be people-first oriented to put the “right functionality at the fingertips of workers, hiring managers, MSPs, and suppliers,” ideally, when and how they are needed. The new Hiring Manager’s UX is now being made available to business users and will be expanded in the second quarter.
  • Extended workforce connectivity: Beeline’s network partners (tech and services providers) continue to be brought on board with “beyond surface-level integrations” to ensure a unified client experience when partners are deployed.

Beeline also sees its platform as a kind of connecting hub that serves/supports several key groups/communities: clients, talent/workers, suppliers and third-party technology/services providers. Enabling access and targeted capabilities for multiple communities and providing advanced integration capabilities are two important hallmarks of a platform vs. an enterprise system.

Analyst viewpoint

Beeline’s reset as an extended workforce platform provider is definitely appropriate in terms of the changing needs of an increasing number of organizations as well as the new technologies that have become more widely applied, if not mainstreamed, over the past several years (e.g., predictive analytics, etc.). Organizations are not only concerned about cost and risk, but are also highly interested in having better access to the talent and workers they need on a non-permanent basis. The flexible, extended workforce is rising in importance and even being seen as strategic at the C-suite level across an increasing number of companies.

How these flexible work populations are sourced and engaged requires multiple sourcing channels and new technology capabilities. While “VMS solution functionality” is crucial and core to contingent workforce management programs today, we are seeing an appetite for more SOW engagements and direct sourcing. And it’s becoming clear that much more is needed beyond the well-worn process and technology models.

Beeline has made a major step that, with its extensive presence in the market, will begin to reshape the perspectives of organizations about what a solution for sourcing and managing a flexible workforce must be moving forward. Moreover, this is not simply a branding exercise, by any means, for Beeline. It is the culmination of a longer-term vision and significant investments in product development that we have been tracking.

In past years, Beeline has established a completely new microservices technology stack that supports the building of Beeline’s extended workforce platform. All of the new functional capabilities are being built on the new technology stack (which offers many advantages), and other long-lived solution components will be replatformed and enhanced over time.

Spend Matters has been tracking a trend in the market toward broader extended workforce solutions over the past years. This started with some VMS solutions offering SOW capabilities years ago. Access to direct sourcing technology capabilities and services came along in the past few years as did integrated networks of third-party tech and services partners. We have also been monitoring the emergence of new providers in the space that are developing purpose-built, state-of-the-art technology platforms that are broader than traditional VMS.  These include VNDLY, SimplifyVMS, Utmost and a few others that could change the competitive landscape and dynamics. From our standpoint, now is the time for this solution segment to redefine itself and move beyond concepts that no longer are useful or fitting.

Spend Matters has been already using “extended workforce” to describe an emerging solution model in the CW/S space. Whether the moniker “extended workforce” is explicitly used to describe a specific provider solution, or not, should be a minor quibble. What’s important is what current and future solutions do to address the evolving needs of organizations. Beeline understands this and has set its course.