When Selecting a New VMS: Who Ya Gonna Call?

Join us Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 1 p.m. CDT for the webinar, Choosing a VMS: How to Maximize the Process and Limit the Stress, with Beeline.

A contingent workforce management program lacking the right vendor management system (VMS) is kind of like a haunted house: an empty, scary place where almost anything can happen. Fortunately, whether they are already users of a VMS or “first-time buyers," procurement professionals and their businesses are fully prepared and competent to exorcise their demons and select their next VMS.


Well, the answer is usually no. Procurement people who are in the business of buying stuff won’t like this, but even for them selecting the right VMS is an extremely complicated challenge to address. And let’s face it, it is not something that comes up every day — so it would be unreasonable to think that the organization would be in a state of readiness to tackle this. The proper response to selecting the right VMS for your organization: Be scared, very scared.

To complicate the matter further, common wisdom has it that VMS has become a mature industry with just a few large players concentrated at the top and solutions more or less at a static equilibrium. This may be true for some VMS solutions on the market, but for most of the important players this is far from the case. In fact, those VMS solutions have arguably changed more in the past 18 months than they have in the last five years. In addition, this change is not going to stop, with some players already devising or starting to implement product road maps in order to address emerging contingent workforce requirements (for example, direct sourcing and engagement of independent workers, exploiting new digital sourcing channels and online talent pools, etc.). Sound industry research and intelligence will be needed to reduce uncertainties. And such uncertainties can range from “future product direction and new capabilities” to the more mundane question of “whether the VMS provider will likely be acquired.”

Selecting the right VMS is a not a simple matter to address — it requires a number elements to reduce uncertainty and incomplete information and guide decision-making:

  • A sound framework and set of process steps, including the critical ones on the critical path to a selection
  • Adequate research and accumulation of knowledge about individual providers and their solutions as well as analysis and intelligence about how industry and providers are evolving into the future
  • Finally, as selecting and implementing a VMS is not only complex but also impacts a whole organization, it is critical to engage and orchestrate the necessary expertise and business functions (IT, finance, HR, et al) throughout this process

VMS projects are complicated enough to also make seeking external expert advice necessary. In this matter, it very important to appreciate the lesser or greater risk associated with different providers of this very specific kind of advice. It might be assumed that an managed service provider (MSP) would certainly know the ins and outs of VMS and therefore would always be a reliable guide — but this may not be the case, though there is no question that at the very least your MSP should be a part of the project team discussed above. Reducing risks associated with VMS projects will probably best be achieved by engaging highly specialized consultants that have a singular focus on VMS.

Selecting the right VMS does not have to be a choice of “whistling in the dark” with false confidence or proceeding in an unknown territory with fear and trembling. The upcoming webinar will unpack the important considerations and key requirements — as mentioned above — for pursuing a process leading to a successful VMS selection, including necessary framework and critical process steps, necessary research and types of intelligence and finally the necessary organization of business team and the sourcing of appropriate, specialized consulting expertise (in other words, “Who ya gonna call?”). Join us…

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