“When it comes to buyers and their strategic partners, the market is really looking for two things. One is a bridge to the future and (the other is) how a strategic partner can help take and guide them from where they are today to what their desired future state is. That’s the reason we settled on the name Pontoon.”
— Mike Wachholz, global president, Pontoon, an Adecco managed service provider and recruitment process outsourcing business
It’s hard to stand out from the pack. Of late, a common buyer complaint is that the host of offerings out there — various MSP models, RPO and varied VMS partnerships —are confusing. How does an end user of contingent labor distinguish one company or offering from another?
Adecco, by separating and defining its MSP operation, is making its attempt to stand out. The company’s MSP and RPO business will be unified under the Pontoon brand, while the VMS/technology unit will remain as Beeline. Pontoon is touted as a vendor-neutral MSP that is technology agnostic, i.e., it would partner with the right VMS provider.
“With Pontoon, we are immediately the largest MSP provider on the planet in terms of spend under management,” says Wachholz. This may not be most relevant, but “what is relevant is that the new organization clearly outpaces the rest of the marketplace in terms of market presence, experience and capabilities,” adds Wachholz.
This gives the buyers more clout. “It’s an opportunity for the buyer to leverage Adecco’s investment and experience in the MSP and RPO business, given that the whole investment is coming to force under one leadership team, under one delivery model and under one global team,” says Wachholz. So far, this has been diluted across two organizations.
It also increases Beeline’s ability to continue working with other MSPs. Pontoon and Beeline are sister organizations, but separate entities with separate P&Ls. Adecco’s strategic partners are no doubt heaving a sigh of relief. MSPs like Allegis or TAPFIN can feel easier about their decision to go in and compete against Pontoon and still choose Beeline as the VMS provider. “Our partners think this is great news because it lets them know clearly that Beeline is focusing strictly on technology, and the company will partner with whomever the client deems the best MSP,” says Doug Leeby, president of Beeline VMS.
And in the meantime, Pontoon is working out a transition plan that would ensure smooth sailing for its customers. There are those who believe that the emergence of Pontoon does clarify the landscape for the buyer. Others claim it is a smart marketing maneuver.
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