You’d think there are more important things to think about when it comes to Vendor Management Systems than the way they look and how system stakeholders get to use them.  Here we uncover some of the reasons why at SimplifyVMS we take User Experience (UX) seriously. (New to VMS systems?  Read our guide “key features of vendor management systems.”)

Users today expect systems that ‘just work’

The commoditization of IT has led most of us to expect the kind of ease of use and functionality we get from consumer-focused apps like Google Maps, Facebook and Twitter, in our business apps.

It’s never been easier to produce a top-drawer user experience thanks to advances in technologies like HTML 5, chatbots, in-browser processing, data visualizations, and native mobile apps.

Candidate Code Testing

Third-party online testing tools are revolutionizing code testing in the IT market to vet the promised qualities stated by candidates.  As AI introduces new possibilities in onboarding checks, these industry specific checks are becoming more commonplace across all industries.

Vendor Management Systems have a major role to play in facilitating access to code testing tools by integrating their features within their own system.

Bias Avoidance

Recruitment bias happens when people either intentionally or unknowingly insert terms into documents such as job applications or descriptions, or recruitment processes. For example:

  • Requiring roles to be fully co-located or inflexible hours will rule specific groups out
  • Sifting through CVs that contain potential triggers for bias, such as the use of only masculine terms would potentially alienate female applicants
  • Adoption of a policy to reject CVs with an unexplained gap in employment history that can impact people from poorer backgrounds who are more likely to take time off to care for relatives
  • The unknowing installation of interview, short-list, or onboarding bias where operational behaviours aren’t corrected where bias might exist.

Recruitment bias can introduce unintentional discrimination and result in poor decision-making. It’s a hot topic in an era where demonstrating fairness and parity of opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds is not only a legal requirement, but also a major contributor to a good brand reputation.

Vendor Management Systems have a major role to play in the prevention of recruitment bias, and yet very few solutions embrace explicit functionality to enforce positive behaviors.

Job Pricing Intelligence

VMS capabilities to aid organizations in gaining a rich appreciation of the rates they should be charging for the right skills to get their jobs done have moved to a new level with AI-led solutions. A range of third-party ‘big data’ oriented platforms now harvest job category pricing data across regions to offer employers forensic pricing indicators they can use to make sure they pay the going rate for the talent they need in their area. 

Vendor Management Systems have a key role to play in bringing access to these platforms and seamlessly merging them with job boards and recruitment tools to build a joined-up. rate-aware Total Talent Management (TTM) ecosystem.

Vendor Risk Management and Compliance

With an increasingly regulated business environment, further exacerbated by changes to tax systems and the introduction of the EU’s GDPR, organisations are under pressure to ensure they don’t fall foul of employment law. Vendor Management Systems have a key role to play in governing data appropriately and enforcing vendor terms and conditions; honouring tax systems, data protection, data security, and diversity policies.

Levels of belief in the merit of a system are hugely influenced by usability

There can be no doubt that User Experience (UX) is a major influencer on the overall perception of the value of a business application. It’s easy for users to ‘switch-off’ when it comes to giving applications a chance simply because they find them too awkward and frustrating to work with.

Quick-wins fuel successful projects

Without evidence of quick-wins, projects can lose their energy and ambition. Getting users onboarded and happy to work with a new Vendor Management System rapidly increases the volume of useful data added, which in turn makes the system immediately more effective and relevant—creating stakeholder critical-mass and resulting in better feedback, more word-of-mouth support, and more system adopters.


All stakeholder groups must profit from using a VMS

For a Vendor Management System to be effective it has to deliver value to all of the key stakeholder groups including hiring managers, procurement, HR and Finance teams, vendors, program managers, and of course contractors who are the heart of the ecosystem.

For many of these stakeholders, recruiting is only a part of their work-life, for others it is a moment in time from one contract to the next. It’s therefore essential that everyone can rapidly learn how to operate and manage a VMS, and that it works in a way they’d expect.


Users that can’t access a system don’t use it

Accessiblity is about far more than just the act of logging in, it’s also about knowing how to operate the system. Users should never have to read the Terms and Conditions before using software.

At the very worst case, they’d expect to find training content online through video tutorials, but most of the system features should be intuitive and easy to operate.

Features that people don’t know about, or don’t understand how to use, are a waste of time and money

According to research, 64% of software features are “rarely or never used.” I think most of us can admit to not using all of the features an app has to offer.

SimplifyVMS is committed to practical usability. Our users use almost all of our features DAILY, which means our system stakeholders really do get the most from our technology.  We achieved this feat by prioritizing developments on what our existing customers and stakeholders say they want (rather than guessing!).

Good UX design is not just nice to have; it has a detrimental impact on your brand reputation. We know that the systems you use are a key part of the value you bring to your stakeholders. It’s not simply about providing a smarter way of getting things done, it’s an important ingredient in your value story.

Ian Tomlin

Ian Tomlin


Ian Tomlin is a marketer, entrepreneur, business leader and management consultant. His passion is to help make great ideas happen. Relentlessly optimistic about the potential of technology for good, Ian’s 30+ year career has focused around the intersect of strategy, technology and marketing. He writes on subjects including workforce management, future of work, talent acquisition technology and organizational design.
Ian has written books, articles and guides on brand, digital transformation, enterprise applications, data science, and organizational design. He can be reached via LinkedIn or Twitter.