Beeline Extended Workforce Platform: 3 Questions with CEO Doug Leeby

What’s in a name?

When we’re talking about categories of software, the answer is everything. Having a defined software category sets the expectations for functionality and provides a way for buyers to evaluate and choose vendors.

Beeline was an originator of the vendor management system (VMS) space, and we’ve stayed here for over 20 years. We use the term “originator” because we’ve brought to life many of the industry firsts that have become VMS industry standards – workforce intelligence visualizations, services procurement functionality, guided decision tools, embedded analytics, a fully integrated direct sourcing solution, and assisted intelligence, to name a few.

Over that time, we came to the realization that we had outgrown the category. While our innovation history shows that we never stayed confined to the VMS box, so to speak, we did evolve in a way that moved us way beyond a traditional VMS. There were a number of forces at play here, including the accelerated pace of technology innovation, the increased (and more strategic) use and value of extended labor, and our dedication to meeting our clients’ new program objectives and needs that go beyond what’s possible with a traditional VMS.

So, we did something about it.

Beeline Extended Workforce Platform reflects where the industry is headed, and just as importantly, incorporates more than two decades’ worth of data and experience that can’t be replicated.

Our CEO Doug Leeby sat down with Ardent Partners’ Christopher J. Dwyer to talk more about the announcement of our Extended Workforce Platform. Below in an excerpt from that conversation, and you can read the full interview over on CPO Rising.

CD: Doug, it’s great to have a chance to chat with you. Thanks for spending some time with us. Let’s get to the big news first. Beeline made a major announcement: introducing the solution as an extended workforce platform. Tell us all about it.

DL: Thank you, Chris. It’s always great to be with you. Yes, we announced Beeline Extended Workforce Platform. In a word, it’s about evolution. We’ve long outgrown the moniker of VMS (vendor management system). While the functionality of a VMS is still core and extremely important, it’s too limiting. The value of external talent has evolved. Talent is talent – it doesn’t matter whether they are employees or non-employees. As such, it needs to be managed not as a procurement category but as a strategic component of the workforce.

Evolving to the extended workforce platform means adding talent-centric value streams to all constituents on the platform – clients, MSPs, suppliers, and the talent itself. It also demands a thoughtful and deliberate approach to building an ecosystem with other great companies. This gives our users access to superior capabilities and benefits that are not associated with VMS today.

CD: One thing that Beeline has been known for is its commitment to both the “talent side” of the industry and the power of intelligence and analytics. How do those attributes factor into the revamped platform?

DL: I appreciate you pointing that out because it is core to Beeline. This is not about managing a commodity – it’s about people. That’s an important starting point. This manifests in the beautiful new hiring manager experience that considers our users as consumers vs. business entities, our integration with behavioral and psychometric solutions, and our new resume visualizer that elevates people from a mere resume. The data (and therefore, analytics) serves as another massive point of differentiation in the market. Beeline Extended Workforce Platform leverages our $700B in global talent spend data to provide insights that align behavior with the enterprises’ goals.

The power of data is leveraged in multiple facets in Beeline Extended Workforce Platform, but perhaps the most exciting and innovative is in the “SmartBuyer” solution we are developing with our long-trusted partner, Brightfield. Industry marketing is replete with buzz phrases like “powered by AI.” Much of that is pandering. Machine learning is promising, but it is predicated on having a deep and historical data set that can actually inform with statistical veracity.

CD: This is a major shift for not just Beeline, but the industry itself. What is the future of the extended workforce and the technology required to manage and control it effectively?

DL: Workforce agility has risen to the top of the priority list. Nearly everyone is focusing on digital transformation. Thoughtful planning and deployment of the extended workforce is more critical now than ever before. This will only increase, and you’ll see more and more organizations finally address this important talent component as strategic.

The future of all workforce management, not just the extended class, is outcome-based sourcing. We all yearn to unlock the insights historical data offers so that we can be more contemplative and deliberate in how we get work done. This goes back to my comment about this really being about Total Workforce Optimization. Knowing, on the front end, the appropriate “mix of talent” (full time, contractor, freelancer, project based) will be the next profound transformation. The underpinning is data and machine learning.

And we must remember this is about people. Thus, the future will exploit the insights from machine learning while treating labor with dignity and offering value to them as well. Remember, a platform is about its network and as stewards of this platform, we must consider all who engage on it and ensure that we are providing more value to each constituency. Beeline VMS is a proven and trusted global leader. It isn’t going away – it is an integral component of Beeline Extended Workforce Platform. We are simply, but judiciously, adding to the overall value proposition by offering future-proofed, well thought out, talent-centric solutions from one platform.

We’ll be talking to more of our leaders here on the blog in the coming weeks, about what the extended workforce platform means for our customers and partners.