CRN Exclusive: WorkMarket Buys OnForce To Boost Technology Services Firepower In Workforce Automation Arena

Work automation software provider WorkMarket has purchased freelancer management system company OnForce to gain access to its massive data repository and deliver richer insight to customers.

New York-based WorkMarket also will forge a relationship with current OnForce owner The Adecco Group whereby customers and partners of the workforce solutions company will have access to WorkMarket's automation platform, which enables solution providers and others to manage traditional employees, freelancers and various components of their agile workforce in a single location.

OnForce customers will benefit from WorkMarket's state-of-the-art, mobile-first cloud platform, which WorkMarket CEO Stephen DeWitt said was purpose-built to leverage underlying data repositories. OnForce operated on more of a legacy technology stack, DeWitt said, and was part of a staffing company in Adecco rather than a software company.

[RELATED: Partners: Work Market Is A Game-Changer For Finding On-Demand Technical Talent]

"Inside of Adecco, OnForce would have faced operating challenges given the fact that its parent's business is somewhat orthogonal to the software business," DeWitt told CRN exclusively. "I think customers are pleased to see consolidation in this space."

Financial terms of the transaction, which closed Monday, were not disclosed. The WorkMarket leadership team will remain unchanged after the acquisition, DeWitt said, while changes to OnForce's management unit will be detailed over the next several weeks.

IT services customers of both companies will benefit from increased scale and the operational efficiencies associated with bringing the two marketplaces together, he said, as well as enhanced account engagement and customer support.

Pretty significant overlap exists for WorkMarket and OnForce as it relates to the companies' IT-focused labor pool and solution provider customers, which DeWitt said speaks to the logic of the acquisition.   

OnForce has a rich repository around technology services given that it has sat at the breakfast table of literally hundreds of thousands of customers, DeWitt said. Gaining massive amounts of intelligence will make it easier  for WorkMarket to automate talent pools and pricing decisions and enable solution providers to shape labor against the business they do, DeWitt said.

The combined company will look at integrating OnForce and WorkMarket's business road maps to develop a set of technologies and tools that will lead the work automation software industry, DeWitt said. The company ultimately would like to get OnForce and WorkMarket customers onto a single, unified platform, according to DeWitt.

DeWitt said a rollup of technology services capabilities was critical as work automation technology matures and the labor cloud becomes increasingly set in place. Although WorkMarket faces competition from work automation startups as well as legacy field staffing firms, DeWitt said the acquisition will put the combined company in a leadership position.   

"There really hasn't been a platform that scales across the entire ecosystem," DeWitt said. "We are a category creator."   

WorkMarket in April said it had raised $25 million in its latest round of fundraising from the Foundry Group and Dublin, Ireland-based Accenture, No. 2 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500. But that investment had nothing at all to do with the OnForce acquisition, according to DeWitt, as it was purely driven by WorkMarket's core strategy.

WorkMarket will serve as the ultimate brand for the post-acquisition company, DeWitt said, although it is still working with customers to determine how to name and brand things in the interim.

It's virtually impossible to scale in the technology services ecosystem without acquiring players and resources, according to Romi Randhawa, former CEO of Fremont, Calif.-based Cancom HPM Networks, No. 198 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500.  

"We knew that [they] would probably have to do an acquisition," said Randhawa, a WorkMarket customer as CEO of Cancom HPM Networks. "In their model, they really need that skilled talent."

Randhawa said WorkMarket would have been hard-pressed to grow organically given the industrywide skills and manpower shortages. An attractive talent pool is vital for attracting large, fast-growing companies to the platform, according to Randhawa.

"Partners are struggling to have that kind of labor force on their own, and need to leverage guys like WorkMarket to fulfill their project needs," Randhawa said. "Acquisitions [for WorkMarket] are the way to go."  

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