Vendor Management Systems are going mobile, driven by buyer demand. Find out why—and what you’re missing if you don’t use a mobile VMS!

VMS in an age of mobile first apps

Vendor Management Systems play a key role today in managing contingent workforce staffing vendor relationships, and the administrative burdens that come with operating a large contingent worker population in your workforce.

It’s never been more important for your organization to maintain a certain level of fluidity in its workforce. The COVID-19 epidemic has brought business agility front and center in the minds of policy makers and strategists.

Those organizations able to adapt faster (and smarter) to the crisis are proving themselves to be capable of managing costs better and embracing change to be first in line for new opportunities. Here are two examples:

The Mercedes Formula One business has used its engineering design prowess coupled with organizational agility to leap into the medical technology market responding to emergent demands for ventilators and breathing apparatus.

The global pharmaceuticals giant GSK has quickly diversified into testing labs on a massive scale when it became apparent the market leaders located in Germany weren’t able to support international needs for testing.

If you’re company wants to stay ahead, it will need a workforce able to adapt to an unpredictable economy. To do that, it needs to increase use of a contingent workforce.

And to manage that contingent workforce, you will require a Vendor Management System. Otherwise, the management of workers and suppliers is likely to run up your operating costs and create a hefty drain on your time and resources.

The leading VMS solutions today are going mobile. Why? What are you missing out if you don’t use a mobile VMS? Here are FIVE GOOD REASONS why you should be thinking about a mobile-first VMS solution:


Five good reasons to invest in a mobile-first VMS

 

1. Approve on the go and boost workflow productivity by at least 20%

On of the key roles of a Vendor Management System is to streamline the administrative processes that underpin the operation of a contingent workforce.

Whether it’s selecting candidates for an open role or making sure a worker timesheet is signed-off, the number of events happening in a VMS at any time of the week can be measured in the thousands.

The participation of Hiring Managers in the processing of requests is key. Here’s why:

Consider that many of these activities will require the intervention of hiring managers to make selections and approvals. In reality, Hiring Managers aren’t ONLY managing staff, they’re also doing a full day-job running a team or department themselves. They represent an important step in many of the workflows used in a VMS which is why they can install significant delays in workflows being completed, if their responses are delayed.

In a modern age, Hiring Managers are on the move. Often, they don’t have time to get back to their desk to authorize documents. They need to discharge these activities on the go.

When a Hiring Manager fails to respond to a request on the day it’s received, the net impact on the processing of documents can be a 48-hour delay.

In a workflow that takes normally 10-days to complete, the lack of a mobile feature to ‘approve on the go’ can cause a real-time inefficiency tax of 20%.

 

2. COVID-19 means when and where people work is changing

Long gone are the days that people went to work, sat at their office desk for seven or eight hours, then went home. COVID-19 has made the majority of the workforce ‘mobile or remote.’

We are seeing remote working becoming institutionally acceptable because the global experiment is proving that modern collaborative technology is making remote work possible, practical and affordable.

The ability to take your VMS on the move is vital in order for processes not to stop whenever people can’t (or choose not to) get into the office.


 

3. Allowing workers to snack

 

If you’re one of the 3.5 billion smartphone users, you most probably wake up with your smartphone next to your bed and check your messages before rolling out of the covers.

 

We have become a generation of people tied to our social media and email accounts.

 

For the 77% of Americans that have a smartphone, snacking on the web is a common habit.

 

From a VMS perspective, helping people to get jobs done on their smartphone while waiting in line for their first Starbucks of the day means they have fewer things to get done when they land at their desk.

 

 

 

4. Usability is the critical success factor in VMS adoption

 

The consumerization of enterprise IT is a phenomenon resulting from the wider use of apps at home. As consumers, we enjoy high-quality intuitive apps like Google Maps that ‘just work’ without need of User Training or a manual.

 

Users of enterprise software reasonably expect the same high standard of apps at work, but often they’re sorely disappointed.

 

Poor usability of apps increases User frustrations with systems—and if you’ve ever tried to remove a smartphone or tablet from the grasp of a small child, you’ll know how likeable these little bundles of technology can become.

 

Users today want to use their smartphones to get jobs done on their terms. When VMS solutions don’t support mobile functions, they soon kick up.

 

The last thing any business wants is to invest in a system that their Users don’t want to use. Respecting system User expectations is important for widespread adoption of solutions.

 

Additionally, don’t forget that a solution that only supports 60% of the features of a VMS isn’t really a solution at all. These ‘half-pregnant’ offerings result in higher system User frustrations, not less, as they find everything they’re trying to do is held back by functionality roadblocks they’d expect of a modern VMS.

 

 

 

5. If you’re VMS doesn’t support mobile it’s probably architecturally flawed

 

While smartphones are common, they haven’t been supported by enterprise IT particularly well until the last few years. Pre-2010 you would find most enterprise systems offered browser support for use on smartphones but lacked ‘designed for mobile’ features.

 

Today, it’s not acceptable to use desktop formats on mobile. The usability just isn’t there. If you want to keep users happy, you need a software architecture that adopts a mobile-first persona.

 

The lack of mobile-first functionality is always a sign that the underpinning applications platform your VMS sits on is… well frankly, old.

 

It might well be a sign of underlying issues with the long-term supportability of the technology platform used by a VMS that you are unknowingly relying on—and here’s why.

 

All applications are created on a bedrock of operating systems and programmable building blocks. Whenever these are outmoded, maintaining a consistent version of a completed app gets harder and harder.

 

Most software vendors that don’t use a mobile-first ecosystem will have produced their mobile versions on a completely different app platform. That means, your vendor isn’t running ONE platform, they may be running with two or more.

 

You might wonder why that matters to you as a customer. It matters because any additional costs in support and platform version management will inevitably be passed on to customers somehow. You’ll notice the difference in the form of upgrade costs and subscriptions.

 

 

 

About the author

 

Ian C. Tomlin serves on the UK management team of Simplify VMS and writes regularly on business topics including transformation, design and resourcing. He can be reached on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

 

 

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