During this week’s annual Beeline user conference at the Loews Sapphire Resort in Orlando, the Vendor Management System (VMS) solution’s CEO and president, Doug Leeby, stated that the technology market within the non-employee workforce industry is smaller than other major business spaces. However, the most interesting factor in that statement is this: the level of innovation, progression, and exciting developments in the contingent workforce management (CWM) marketplace can rival any other industry based on the evolution of the talent and labor worlds, as well as the developing concept of the Future of Work.
What was made clear this week were Beeline’s main goals for the immediate months ahead: continue to innovate within the VMS space, generate new thinking and products (and enhance existing offerings) from the recent IQNavigator merger, and keep its commitment to its client base.
“There’s great disruption coming ahead,” Leeby noted, and, by looking at much of the news and developments coming out of this year’s conference, he was not kidding.
As Leeby noted at the beginning of his keynote address, one of the burning questions he knew he would tackle at this year’s event was the company’s recent merger with fellow VMS powerhouse IQNavigator back in mid-December. “[Beeline] never strived to be the biggest; we just wanted to be the best,” Leeby said. “And [the IQN merger] allows us to do just that.” He added: “We can be better by being together. Our cultures came together in a meaningful way.” Leeby expanded this discussion by stating that, seemingly overnight, the merger allowed the company to “double its subject matter expertise,” and the ramifications and new innovations from the Beeline-IQN merger would allow the solution to do great things in the coming months and years.
Leeby also outlined many of the “quick wins” he and his team felt would be immediate benefits from the newly-minted Beeline brand, including the solution’s integration abilities, its self-sourcing, Talent Pools and Request for Talent modules, ATOM’s machine learning and cognitive analytics capabilities, and the solution’s mobile application approvals.
“It all has to be about the experience,” Leeby said in regards to the innovative path ahead for Beeline. He noted several key offerings that are in various stages of development (in addition to more discussion about ATOM, IQN’s machine learning engine), such as Beeline Agent and Beeline Assistant:
- The Beeline Agent mobile app, currently in beta, leverages both texting and voice recognition to generate quick information and execute specific processes while on-the-go. As Leeby joked, “No one ever gets excited to log into their VMS,” and stated, “Agent changes that and lets you go on with your day.”
- The biggest pre-conference news (announced last week) was the arrival of Beeline Assistant, an artificial intelligence-led bot that is linked to all aspects of the Beeline and IQN VMS tools. At this week’s event, we learned a lot more about its ubiquitous capabilities, including checking on project and worker status, gaining deep supplier information (including real-time scorecarding intel), understand expiring engagements, as well as extend assignments and execute other key VMS-led features in an on-demand manner. Beeline Assistant will work on all smart devices, including Amazon’s Alexa tool, the iPhone’s Siri feature, and on applications like Microsoft’s Skype.
“I’m very thankful that we had this opportunity to bring our IQN and Beeline clients and partners together for the first time” said Leeby, adding, “Our goal is for our conference is for clients and partners to learn about what we are doing, to network and learn from each other, and grow personally by listening to our outside speakers; I believe we achieved that and more!”
Other Beeline Conference Highlights
This week’s conference included several other key highlights beyond the bigger, innovation-focused news regarding the union of the two VMS platforms, such as:
- Beeline’s CTO, Sherri Hammons, and SVP of Strategy, Colleen Tiner, discussed “Horizon,” the company’s “microservices” approach. Horizon will involve the enhancement of once-siloed back-end systems (especially from the two disparate back-ends from both the IQN and VMS tools) into a faster, seamless series of processes and support systems that will enable faster deployment, more flexibility and agility from the unified platform, and quicker value-add from core offerings. “This whole journey, which we’re on together, is to reduce the friction within the traditional VMS experience,” said Hammons. Tiner added some news on other Beeline-IQN convergence attributes, such as enhanced onboarding and offboarding, a new hiring manager experience (which will infuse AI for predictive engagement and a better overall user experience), enhancements to the supplier score-carding capabilities, and both a candidate shortlist experience (still in design) and a candidate fit prediction model.
- A panel discussion moderated by Beeline’s head of marketing strategies, Brian Hoffmeyer, on the Future of Work, featuring Hired’s Matt Pierce, Pontoon’s Jennifer Torres, GRI’s Steve Dern, SIA’s Bryan Pena, and myself. We covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of robotics, artificial intelligence, and the growing non-employee workforce on the future of organizations, as well as the reality of total workforce management.
- Shawn Achor’s interesting discussion (based on his TED Talk, which has been viewed over 15 million times) on the link between positivity, happiness, and productivity.
- A rousing acrobatic performance from America’s Got Talent finalists, The Chicago Boyz (who also involved Leeby in one of their final acts).