Considerations when selecting a VMS and MSP Partner

Over the last two years, I have helped five organizations select, contract with, and implement or optimize their contingent workforce program with various MSP and VMS providers.

These three points came into play with every client as critical to the decision-making process:

Vendor Neutrality – is it right for you?

Vendor Neutrality has two meanings, one for the VMS and one for MSP

  • A vendor-neutral VMS is not propriety or not owned by a Managed service provider. Examples of vendor-neutral VMSs are VNDLY, SAP Fieldglass, and Beeline

  • A vendor-neutral MSP is not affiliated with or owned in conjunction with staffing organizations. Examples of a vendor-neutral MSP include Geometric Results Inc and Workforce Logiq.

Overwhelmingly the clients we have worked with (and with Enterprise Leaders I’ve interviewed since) have preferred Vendor Neutrality for two main reasons – Visibility and Flexibility. Having the ability to retain a VMS tool independent of the MSP is valuable if the Enterprise ever considers a Self-Managed Approach. Conversely, if a new technology integration comes into play, the enterprise can switch from the current VMS.

Market Information – what are the analysts saying?

One approach I use when evaluating my clients existing or when they are selecting new VMS or MSP providers is to provide my clients with public information such as:

  • 2020 VMS Technology Providers from Ardent Partners

  • Everest Group’sGroup’s Peak Matrix

  • Spend Matters Solution Maps

  • the HRO baker’s dozen

In addition to these analysts’ assessments, I also encourage Extended Workforce Leaders to research and collaborate with peers from other organizations and industries that have assessed these solutions to find what fits best for their goals.

What’s the Roadmap? Are they going where you want to go?

Here are some key points to consider for the VMS technology or Maturity Mapping for the MSP

  • Identifying key features and functions of a VMS and the strategic & operational direction an MSP wants to take your program shows how well they align with your organization.

  • Consider the best method of partnering with your VMS or MSP on their roadmap overall and as it relates to your program?

  • As part of the roadmap, are you surveying your users' satisfaction with the MSP/VMS services?

  • Output: it is critical to have discussions with your current and potential future providers on what the roadmap looks like, how often it is reviewed, how an organization’s objectives are aligned to it, and to ensure that satisfaction surveys from all participants are incorporated into it?

And, the BONUS point to consider in addition to the above is:

Is the Cost/Quality dynamic (which I define as VALUE) off the charts? Procurement wants cost savings; Talent Acquisition wants quality talent fast. You can have both, and yes, there are trade-offs. Yet, getting the Cost Savings/High Quality = VALUE measure dialed in ensures your program will be a showcase model for other Enterprise organizations.


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