Ten months after buying freelancer management system OnForce, Beeline announced a new plugin that enables organizations to source freelancer talent alongside staffing agency searches via the VMS. This gives enterprises a simple means with which to access freelance talent and is good for the contingent labor ecosystem as a whole.

While Beeline and OnForce had been operating essentially as two separate entities, OnForce will now be “plugged into” Beeline’s VMS to give enterprises an option for self-sourcing workers. When a company (or its MSP) inputs a requisition through the Beeline VMS, they will now have the option — in addition to sending the requisition to staffing agencies — to send an invitation to independent workers to apply for that job directly. So while users of contingent labor can still access agency talent through Beeline’s VMS, they can also search for and hire a temporary independent worker directly at the same time (at a purportedly far lower total cost and with faster fill times if that option is ultimately chosen), while managing all aspects of the requisition through the Beeline VMS platform.

Given the war for talent, the OnForce Sourcing plugin will enable customers to be more competitive and have access to a wider pool of talent. As it does not require an additional piece of technology to install or integrate, enterprises can (in theory) begin sourcing workers directly when convenient without disrupting their existing business or learning how to navigate a new platform.

MSPs may applaud the announcement (a direct-to-talent model potentially gives MSPs a whole host of extra responsibilities); staffing agencies, however, may be disheartened that another technology solution appears, at first glance, poised to take market share. The fact is it is unclear how this will pan out.

It’s likely the “self-sourcing” portion of Beeline’s VMS will be a small percentage of total spend at the beginning. However, time will tell whether this signals a catalyst for a time when self-sourcing grows in use to rival agency spend (perhaps even consuming it entirely). The likeliest scenario is enterprises will continue to use both agencies and directly sourced workers, through their VMS (through platform integrations such as Beeline/OnForce) or directly through standalone third-party human cloud platforms such as ShiftGig (US), Staff-Finder (Switzerland), or Freelancer.com (Australia).

At the end of the day, the integration of a direct-to-talent platform into a VMS is an important innovation signaling the evolution of the contract labor ecosystem.