What are the next gen features found in Vendor Management Systems that will take hold in 2022?  In this article, we ask our expert team to give their perspectives and pick out the five most impactful enhancements that will separate the market leading systems from the rest of the pack.

It may not be the best description for an enterprise system, but the platform used to source and manage a contingent workforce is called the Vendor Management System (VMS). The term originates from the time when the role of contingent workforce management software was chiefly to manage and govern the behaviours of staffing vendors.

We expect the VMS to become one of the most common enterprise software purchases for small, medium, and large businesses alike. This is largely due to COVID reminding companies around the world of the importance of business agility and the existential threat of not being able to scale their workforce up and down, based on market demands.

Our list of top five features to look out for in a VMS comes from a polling of our team and the broader Contingent Workforce Management community we serve at Simplify.

1.  Features that Bring Greater Access to Talent

Much of the hiring activity today happens through online social networks and businesses are increasingly wanting to tap into their addressable audience to hunt out the best talent that wants to work for their brand. Mouhanad Abbas, SVP, Operations & Technology for Simplify suggests,

“Businesses not engaged in Direct Sourcing—whereby they can advertise their vacancies to online audiences directly as an alternative to paying staffing agency fees—are missing out on potentially great savings and talent that’s keen to work for their brand. When buyers are looking at their VMS options in 2022, they should definitely check out the routes to the talent market served by the VMS systems they’re considering. For example, does the VMS have a ready built Direct Sourcing and talent pool building solution? Does it offer guided buying for SOW users?

Guided buying is not for SOW users only; it’s really for all types of sourced talent, to guide users to best efficient procurement outcome. Our clients see it as a lower risk way to source talent—contingent workers, SOW, freelancers, 1099/IC, etc. Guided buying increases efficiency, lowers costs, as well as risks.

These features bring companies instant economies and opportunities to source better hires at lower cost; people who are already known to the hiring business, or are passionate about what they do.

2.  Speed to Innovate

Sameer Srivastava, SVP for the APAC region says, “Speed to innovate has become critical for VMS solutions. Any company that has implemented a VMS in the last decade knows that it’s simply not possible to buy out-of-the-box solutions; there will always be the need to tailor systems to business processes, not to mention the talent and vendor channel strategies that are peculiar to the user organization. “

That said, there is a huge difference between systems that require customisation (and re-coding) compared to those systems like SimplifyVMS that adopt a modern tech stack.

Newer systems assume tailoring will be needed and therefore offer options for configuration, making a tailorable solution something that’s affordable and achievable fast. Additionally, modern cloud systems offer agile development sprints that allow for monthly innovation by vendors.

4.  Turning Data into Insight; Insight into Value

Suresh Gupta, Chief Solution Architect for Simplify thinks VMS platforms able to offer transparency across the total talent and workforce management ecosphere will grow in popularity in 2022.

He says, “This last few years, I’ve seen the quality of technologies like big data and data visualization improve exponentially. As a technologist, I can say it’s become far easier to deliver the personalised reporting experiences modern users expect, to harvest data and serve up rich perspectives on performance. Examples include our ability to tailor User Interfaces so that users can gain instant access to key performance metrics on their mobile device. Rather than asking managers to go looking for issues and answers, modern performance systems are today giving recommendations to promote best practice and highlight when actions are necessary to correct underperforming areas of the workforce management life cycle.”

5.  Ease of Use

Michael Byrnside, Vice President of Sales and Strategy at Simplify says,

“While any major VMS vendor will share their all too familiar list of the key functionalities needed to support a flexible workforce, there is clear blue water between modern intuitive systems like SimplifyVMS that ‘just work’ and the older systems that didn’t really have to worry about usability and an era characterized by the consumerization of apps. Our VMS business users use Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Instagram on a daily basis. They expect their business apps to work in a similarly intuitive way. Buyers know that if users don’t want to use the VMS they will go back to old ways and old systems. Good systems thrive on the goodwill of their stakeholder audience. That’s why, in 2022, buyers are expecting a mobile-ready VMS that’s easy for clients, suppliers, and workers to use—complete with in-app training videos and a chatbot ready to help its users.“

Summary

Vendor Management Systems are turning into talent platforms offering a 360-degree view of performance across the whole talent ecosystem. While the new features and capabilities we highlighted are clearly value-adding, some workforce professionals who read through this list might realize how far behind the curve their current VMS systems are. The fact is, transitioning from one system to the next is one of the biggest obstacles for businesses to cope with.

The last word goes to Jason Main, Vice President of Product Strategy at Simplify, according to who, “The time associated with implementing and/or changing VMS systems is an inevitably lengthy process. Buyers may want to consider a VMS platform that is quick and easy to implement. This is definitely one of our strengths with SimplifyVMS because of the highly configurable design of the system, as well as the fantastic implementation and customer service teams that go the extra mile for every one of our customers. Additionally, there are contributing technical aspects — such as the glueware approach we’ve taken to our next-gen private cloud architecture that sits on Microsoft Azure and fully leverages its security, open API interoperability, scalability and, best of all, ease of deployment.”