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4/18/2011
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OnForce Eases Outsourcing For VARs

Cloud-based software gives solution providers a way to put their contracting work on autopilot.

Bill Lucchini has a message for tech service companies--solution providers, integrators, and the like--outsourcing work: If you're running your own network of independent contractors, you're taking on too much and putting yourself at a huge disadvantage. You should be using a software solution, like the one his company offers, to do the work for you.

"There's so much complexity to outsourcing these projects," said Lucchini, COO of OnForce, in an interview. "We've invested a lot of money in a SaaS solution that does it all for you."

Here's an example of how it works. Let's say you're an SMB VAR in Chicago. You've just won a contract with a national retailer that wants to update its POS systems across the board. Great, right? This is a lucrative deal; the retailer has 1,000 locations, from New York to California. But how are you going to cover such a broad area with your limited resources? Sure, you've got talented staffers in Chicago. You've even got some connections in surrounding states. But you have no idea how you're going to hook up with techies in the Midwest, or in Seattle, where the retailer has several high-profile locations.

This is where OnForce would come in.

With OnForce, you would create a work order online and upload info into the cloud-based system. From there, everything would pretty much be on autopilot. At each retailer location, technicians in the OnForce network would be notified that there's work available. The software would profile each technician and, if you choose, select the independent contractors that are the best match for the job. The system even tracks performance and attendance and handles payments.

"The whole process is very simple," said Lucchini. "There's no contract; you just go to our website and sign up for account. You can immediately create a work order after that."

Lucchini said about 90% of the service companies that use OnForce are SMBs--tech shops with five to 100 employees. And with 90,000 registered technicians, the OnForce pool of independent contracting talent is substantial. OnForce's system is getting a lot of use from VARs that work in the healthcare and retail spaces, Lucchini said.

"With self-checkout becoming the norm and the growing popularity of mobile shopping apps, there's a lot of integrator activity in the POS arena," he added. "As for healthcare, clinics are becoming popular alternatives to hospital ERs, so there's a big focus on updating those facilities and their technology."

The key benefits of OnForce for tech service companies? Geographical reach (OnForce's independent contractors are all over the country, from big cities to small towns), reduced costs and high-quality work (OnForce's techies compete for work; for each project, the system chooses people who have the right skill set and are willing to do the job for the right price), and low risk (all OnForce technicians are fully insured).

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