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In a rapidly changing world, companies need API-integrated technology ecosystems to meet immediate needs and be ready for the future

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The way we work today is different, even from how many of us worked only a few months ago, which means operational practices must keep pace. The global economy continues to shift, with workers requiring more flexibility and employers evaluating alternative engagements for specific projects that can spur savings and outcomes. Companies that make the decision to embark on a digital transformation journey have a brighter outlook, maximizing their chances of success.

Digital transformations require companies to make honest, clear evaluations of their existing technologies, some of which may work well. In other cases, legacy platforms may not integrate with modern tools, hampering progress. So choosing the right technology platforms becomes the linchpin in the change process. When an organization’s systems can fully integrate with one another, the resulting ecosystem alignment brings formerly disconnected departments together. This creates an atmosphere where operational practices can be revised or replaced to become more comprehensive, which can be especially important with regard to managing a company’s workforce.

With COVID-19 presenting unforeseen challenges, companies are trying to optimize their internal and external workforces. Organizations have to remain nimble, recalibrating quickly to respond to unexpected situations, whether that means scaling worker numbers up or down. When pressures like these act upon organizations, there is a significantly increased demand for them to adopt cloud-based workforce management platforms that allow them to integrate seamlessly with other departments, including HR, finance, IT and legal.

Not all integrations are equal — API integrations reduce technical debt, create true technology ecosystems

For any organization to move from legacy technology to a modern suite of tools, those systems must be able to effectively communicate, sharing data across previously siloed departments. When first-generation solutions providers rolled out their answer, their fix was the simple file transfer protocol — SFTP — which is not usually set up to support real-time information transmission and isn’t truly an integration.

With modern, cloud-based platforms, an application programming interface (API) delivers the data that allows one or more software applications to connect. Those integrations are the technology piece of the puzzle that create instant communications channels, significantly improving internal processes and customer experiences, resulting in more agile, strategic and profitable companies.

By taking advantage of fully integrated technology ecosystems, companies have been able to put an end to multiple systems, including applicant tracking, employee performance management, payrolling and time tracking. They have also utilized the capabilities to run sourcing events, create finance reports and analyze costs across departments to reduce expense. All of these integrated functions speed processes, reduce manual tasks and errors, and give companies another way to save time and money.

Beyond that, an organization can make more strategic investments that provide the opportunity to shift their focus to their mission. When companies harness the capabilities of their technology and its accompanying APIs, they can reduce their technical debt and unburden the organization from the complexities of change management. Future integrations will also be less complex. Automation and data analysis, among other benefits of a modern technology stack, allow workers to spend more time on business goals, strategy, research, product development — whatever activities support the mission — while delivering operational savings.

Determining the best software choices must begin with individual department goals and objectives, then making sure all of those tools can properly integrate. The transformation can begin with one department, weaving its way through other departments or it can take place in all departments concurrently. Often, companies choose the speed of their journey based on how well new technologies can integrate with foundational legacy technologies in procurement, HR and finance that likely haven’t kept pace.

Since its launch in 2017, VNDLY has committed to building integrations into our platform that seamlessly function with leading single sign-on and provisioning providers like Okta and ServiceNow. As companies adopt these purpose-built solutions, that means they rely less on those same functions that were incorporated into their legacy solutions as sub-processes.

Even though it may seem counterintuitive, we realized the benefits of providing APIs that allow our clients to use the tools they choose. This lets our clients gain the greatest advantage from their individualized ecosystem, seamlessly connecting their modern tools. We also have integrations for other services, business management and human resource management tools. Our engineers build our APIs, which means integrating with other modern technologies really is as effortless as flipping a switch (or clicking a button in the application).

Getting started

Sometimes, the most difficult part is figuring out the first step, then midstream and downstream solutions will follow. For companies with a sizeable external workforce, finding a way for procurement to better-manage the provisioning process can be a strong choice. Provisioning can mean different things in different industries, but for our purposes, we define it as securing services to be provided by an external workforce.

There are many moving parts in that process — from the moment a person is contacted until they are working — and a number of different departments, including procurement, HR, finance, IT, security and legal may be involved. To successfully hire one worker, a company might need information such as:

  • candidate pre-screens; skills testing
  • credit and criminal background checks
  • certification and visa management
  • NDA compliance
  • corporate policy adherence (COVID-19, health, safety)
  • network security and access; asset tracking and allocation
  • insurance (suppliers and workers) and indemnification

If individuals have to manually run these checks and create the necessary documentation, it can take days or weeks. Automating these processes and using API integrations among departmental tools speeds things up. The integrations also mean companies can glean broader data, generate more effective strategic reporting, and significantly improve compliance to corporate and public policies.

From integration to optimization

Moving to a modern, fully integrated technology stack sounds easy and potentially business-changing. But how can procurement teams and hiring managers take advantage of their newly integrated technology stack?

It comes down to whether your organization is ready to employ the tools at hand to meet challenges like a global pandemic. Optimizing available technology can set up a company to run smoothly, allowing it to grow or contract in response to rapid changes. By effectively managing their external workforces, which requires cooperation among departments, companies can engage workers that are aligned with company culture and meet workforce needs. They can also look at ways to reduce operational costs and capitalize on arrangements with resources that can become transformational.

In the final installment of our series, VNDLY will look specifically at our built-in API integrations, highlighting those with Workday. Our clients are experiencing coronavirus-related disruptions like so many others, and our integrations are helping them to meet variable, and sometimes erratic, workforce needs.

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