You’ve built consensus across all the internal stakeholders and their respective departments – HR, IT, procurement, the executive suite. You’ve been greenlighted for preliminary budget approval by finance. Now it is time to embark on the selection process for that vendor management solution you’ve championed. But, before you can prove the manifold benefits that flow from using a vendor management system to automate workforce management processes, you must ensure you select the right solution for your organization from among an ever-growing field of solution providers. Here are some of the common mistakes that have stymied many of those who’ve run before you through the VMS selection gauntlet. Learn from their mistakes!
Define Your Goals Ahead of Time
It may seem obvious, but many VMS shopping excursions go south because the purchasing organization didn’t have a clearly-defined business strategy or goal to address via the application of VMS technology to their operations. Whether you’re choosing a tool to automate an entirely manual workforce management processes or to replace an incumbent solution, articulating concrete goals is critical to successfully implementing an effective vendor management solution. With so many different systems in the marketplace, you may end up with buyer’s remorse if you choose the wrong system.
For those seeking a new VMS technology for the first time, the search should focus more on how well the solution can accommodate the existing workflows within workforce management operations. List the core responsibilities that any new VMS technology must accommodate. Understand what you ask of your data because it is important to know what kind of information you’ll need the system to collect and display.
Be Honest About Current Risks and Pitfalls
If you’re seeking to replace a poor performing incumbent VMS solution, make a careful and thorough assessment of the issues plaguing the current provider and sapping the efficacy of their solution. Many solution providers will ask pointed questions about the challenges you’re encountering with the existing solution. They do this to identify more appropriate solutions or configurations and avoid repeating the errors of their predecessors. Do not be offended, and answer honestly for best results. After some introspection, select a VMS that offers remedies to the specific challenges you’ve identified with your existing provider, and above all, select one that will offer room for growth.
Align Your Solution with Your Organization
Next, achieve a clear-eyed understanding of the levels of service your organization requires from a solution. Weigh factors such as the number of employees in your workforce, the effects of volume fluctuations/seasonality of hiring, the types of worker classification your business requires and other relevant considerations. The size, scope and purpose of any technology solution implementation must be aligned with business requirements; otherwise, the initiative risks poor performance. For example, a mid-sized company simply does not need a VMS system with extensive global capabilities. Find the “right-size” solution.
To prevent high turnaround in VMS technology and avoid failed implementations, be sure to think about your business needs over the long term. How might your business change in three years? Five? Ten? If your business is evolving or planning to expand, the new vendor management solution must be able to evolve alongside your business.
Keep an open mind. A good VMS provider has done dozens, even hundreds of implementations and has deep experience in ensuring successful deployments. Sometimes they will point out poor/imperfect processes within your operation and urge you to change the way you perform certain tasks in line with VMS/automation best practices. Insisting on automating old or imperfect processes instead of embracing change can lead to poor VMS performance or even failed implementations.
Selecting and implementing a VMS is a complex task. Take the extra time in planning and avoid these common mistakes for a more effective vendor management solution.