CWS 3.0: September 11, 2013

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New Offering Shifts Online Staffing Model

By Andrew Karpie

OnForce, a provider of platform services that enable businesses — like cable companies, electronic equipment providers, etc. — to engage and dispatch “field service contractors” across the U.S., has introduced a set of service offerings that enable any kind of large enterprise to deploy an IT-related “managed contractor workforce” in almost any U.S. location.

OnForce announced yesterday it is introducing two new service offerings coupled with its sophisticated online contractor management platform. The company places both of these service offerings in a new enterprise workforce solution category that it calls “workforce-as-a-service.”

Effectively, workforce-as-a-service provides an enterprise with a fully managed workforce of contractors who can perform work assignments on demand. But unlike a managed service program/vendor management system kind of model, where contingent workforce suppliers (like staffing firms) are managed as vendors, in this model OnForce manages the contractors directly, and provides crucial services such as workers’ compensation, general liability, and errors and omissions, as well as risk mitigation for misclassification of independent contractors. In this sense, OnForce acts as a general contractor, but one which can provide different kinds of (highly-flexible, even on-demand) managed contractor workforce service offerings based on its digital platform.

The two managed workforce solution offerings being launched are:

  • Workforce Optimization, a solution is designed for businesses that need to increase operational efficiency and maximize productivity due to a variety of reasons such as the need to sustain existing product lines while new ones are in development.
  • Workforce Expansion (a solution designed for companies that need to rapidly expand to support a product rollout or new line of business, especially in a new geographic market area.

This is an important development in the shift toward online platform models enabling innovative, flexible, on-demand work-outputs for large enterprises. Online platforms typically have been leveraged to support remote freelancers in virtual work categories like software development. Now we are seeing online platforms deliver ‘boots on the ground’ in offerings that shield businesses from independent contractor compliance and similar risks. These new offerings are unique in that they provide companies with a “managed workforce” service that delivers work outcomes as opposed to workers.

Andrew Karpie is an affiliate analyst with Staffing Industry Analysts. He can be reached at akarpie@staffingindustry.com.

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