Selecting the Right VMS Technology
Updated: May 15, 2020
In our last blog: “Which contingent workforce model is right for you” we explored four models for contingent workforce programs. In this blog, we will explore criteria for selecting which VMS technology provider aligns with the needs of your organization:
Understand Your Desired State:
When building out your business case the first step is to document which benefits from a VMS are most desired. Start by partnering with internal stakeholders in finance, procurement, HR, IT, legal, security as well as identity management to understand what data they need, what integrations are required, and which would be nice additional benefits. Determine if the partners you have worked with on the business case will be a part of your governance committee as well. Determine if they have the bandwidth and desire to contribute to the assessment of tools, the implementation process by providing insights to future states, and the resources to commit to constructing any required integrations. Also, establishing stakeholder’s participation in the testing phase or validation of solutions in the implementation process is crucial.
Determine Your Organization’s Buyer’s Identity:
This is a common approach for procurement buyers and often organizations have the same personality for different solutions or categories. If yours is a financial organization, you likely have a risk-averse or conservative approach to engaging new providers or technologies. If yours is a startup, then your organization may be tolerant of new approaches and providers. Also, consider your companies geographic footprint: A VMS solution managing your contingent workforce may require multi-currency and multi-language support, as well as local employment compliance support.While your organization may be a large global enterprise organization or a first-generation program with only US-based operations, some of the procurement research providers have identified varied provider maps based on the buying persona of an organization.
Do Your Research:
Engage a consultant or partner with peers in other organizations such as your staffing providers in order to determine which tools they have used recently, where they have had good experiences, and what lessons they have learned. The key is your peers with recent experience as the landscape of VMS providers has changed significantly in the past few years. Five years ago there were essentially three principle providers along with several smaller subsets of either MSP specific tools or emerging tools. 2020 has proven to be an exciting time to be in the contingent workforce technology space. Two of the largest providers have merged a couple of years ago and there is a large wave of new technology providers emerging and creating a more competitive marketplace.
To RFP or not to RFP?
In a previous blog: "Five Benefits of Issuing an RFI or RFP in the Contingent Workforce Space,” we highlighted the benefits of conducting an RFP. There are benefits to conducting an RFP, yet it can be a lengthy and labor-intensive process, therefore, it is not required so long as you take the time to identify providers and access their capabilities in a fair and equitable manner. Tracz Consulting has recently conducted an accelerated VMS evaluation in just a couple of weeks for a client. Schedule a consultation if interested in learning more about how we could do the same for your organization.
So... What are You Measuring?
As a part of your business case and your desired future state should be the measurement of your supplier’s performance. You can utilize a similar scorecard methodology when evaluating any solution... especially a VMS. Rely on your business case and focus the agendas and presentation from the VMS providers to answer those critical components. Is pricing or a great user experience the most important factor? Some tools are highly configurable and complex which may align with your organization, however, those solutions often require ongoing training support and certification of users. The governance committee members whose system and or processes that may be impacted will likely have varied opinions on the solution. It is critical to have their input and participation in the evaluation process.
Consider the Soft Skills:
The measurement of the requirements that are needed provides great insight into selecting a provider. However, ensure you are also considering the "soft skills", just as you would in interviewing a candidate. Were they transparent about what additional fees could be charged? Also, consider who presented to you: was it a single sales resource or a team including who would be one of your points of contact once live? Were the resources working together as a team or were they all looking to one key resource before answering? In today's world of transitional workplaces, it's important to have relationships with more than one resource in the partner you select. Also, when entering into relationships with organizations that you are selecting a partner whose organizational style aligns with your own. Conduct reference checks of organizations of similar size and industry. Use this data to probe into the success of the implementation, satisfaction of their suppliers, and ongoing support provided by their organization.
Making a Decision:
Often the decision is clear, and there is a natural front runner to choose. However, it can also be challenging to decide between providers. With providers who were not selected, it is critical to be transparent: let them know you are moving forward with another provider. As well, it is important to continue to communicate with the non-selected providers in the event that you cannot come to contractual terms as future needs will likely change.