VMS Procurement Guide

Essential Reading for CPOs

Read our guide today to discover why more CPOs are prioritizing next-generation Vendor Management Systems procurement

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Updated January 2022

In This VMS Procurement Guide

This is an abridged version of our guide.  For the full article, please download the PDF version.

Section 1 - Architectural Considerations

In this section we outline the key architectural considerations that underpin the performance, scalability, security, extensibility and usability of a modern Vendor Management System tech-stack.

Embracing Familiarity in User Interfaces

Mobile-First Accessibility

User Group Personalization

Modularity/Embracing Best-in-Class

Ease-of-Use that Leads to Popularity

Section 2 - Functionality

In this section we describe ‘environmental factors’ that shape enterprise demand for talent technology such as Vendor Management Systems.


Order Management

Candidate Management

Applicant Tracing


Background Checks and Credentialing

Float Pool

Time/Expense Management


Evaluations and End-of-Term

Direct Sourcing

Statement of Work

Section 3 - Procurement Planning

In this section we cover some of the more obvious selection decisions based on what today is state-of-the-art in Vendor Management Systems.

Supporting the Lifecycle of Contingent Workforce Sourcing, Management and Exiting  


Configuration, Not Customization

Responsiveness and Uptime

Interoperability Standards

Data Security and GDPR Compliance

Internationalization Features

Section 1 – VMS Architectural Design

In this section we outline the key architectural considerations that underpin the performance, scalability, security, extensibility and usability of a modern Vendor Management System tech-stack.

Embracing Familiarity in User Interfaces

Consumer facing technologies, like Google Maps and Facebook, have educated a generation of people to learn and use applications in a certain way. That’s important knowledge for User Experience (‘UX’) designers, because any system that works in a different way isn’t ‘innovative and refreshing’ anymore, it’s just annoying. 

Mobile-First Accessibility

Mobility matters in today’s market, so it’s important to invest in a mobile-first Vendor Management System. 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.

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%.

The endgame is to create technology ecosystems that orchestrate business models and maximize the return to shareholders of the customer value created.

Modularity/Embracing Best-in-Class

Your VMS should focus on Ecosystems and outcomes, not tools and coding, means the management team is wholly committed to embracing the best third-party tools in the market.

User Group Personalization

The influence of cloud computing, big data and global e-commerce means that modern enterprise applications are designed to serve multiple User groups. Assigning User identities to User Groups means that collections of Users benefit from a common role-specific view of the VMS.

Ease of Use that Leads to Popularity

If Users don’t like using a VMS, or see no personal productivity dividend from doing so, they can easily revert to their own self-authored tools, third party apps—or worse still, fail to get tasks done. Usability REALLY matters.

Book a Test Drive

There’s no substitute for a test drive so why not take a tour?  In addition to web demos and webinars, we also arrange for a trial system – so you can see our system with your data, protecting the personal data of candidates and workers.

Section 2 – Functionality

In this section we describe ‘environmental factors’ that shape enterprise demand for talent technology such as Vendor Management Systems.


Living in a data-driven world, sourcing the key facts that tell you everything you need to know about your indirect talent spend and market is a critical function of a VMS.

If you want to source useful insights from a Vendor Management System, there are some necessary technology capabilities and building-blocks that must exist in the VMS by design. The data structures and visualization tools of a VMS must be shaped in anticipation of the standard reports and ‘what-if’s’ that Users will need to drive their talent strategy forward.

Application Tracking

At any point in a recruitment, Hiring Managers, Candidates and Staffing Vendors need to be kept informed on how things are progressing; a task usually performed by a Program Manager.  An Applicant Tracking Module makes list work of discharging this task. Modern systems will use software robots and email alerts to manage updates and progress escalations.

Invoicing and Purchase-to-pay

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Modern VMS systems use federated calendaring to allow participants to suggest and confirm dates. Use of automating tooling, then automates confirmation emails and arrival instructions to minimize the administrative overheads of this task.

Evaluations and End-of-term

A VMS should support features to manage worker evaluations and address end of term activities, such as running an experience interview to learn from the experiences of the placement.

Float Pool

Float Pool Management creates a constantly updated list of approved providers to fill open shifts. This advanced recognition of resourcing needs means that workers can be blocked booked against schedules while payment and incentive plans can be updated based on worker utilization.

Direct Sourcing

Direct sourcing describes the activity of harvesting the talent pool formed by their internal recruiting activities and brand reach to source gig workers. It offers organizations benefits as a mechanism to source talent.

Order Management

Finding talent that not only fits your competency and experience aspirations, but work ethos and cultural fit demands isn’t easy. Expect modern VMS solutions to include some qualitative measures of ‘best-fit’ for potential candidates to maximize efficiencies in the CV screening process and optimize the time and effort Hiring Managers need to put into the recruitment.

Candidate Management

Your VMS helps in maximizing the effective targeted distribution of open roles, then aggregating and filtering candidate CVs. Quite how this is achieved will vary from system to system. Today, a high level of tailoring is expected, together with fine-grained User controlled flexibility towards approaches used to filter the best talent.

Time/Expense Management

Timesheet modules capture, track and pay workers for worked hours easily through an application available on multiple platforms seamlessly (mobile phones, desktop, and browser extensions). They vary in their complexity, but also have to cope with multi-current, multi-disciplinary and multi-locational variations.

The complexity of pay rates, and the variation in the way timesheets are managed within a business demand that VMS platforms offer a high degree of configuration flexibility—to shape to fit the way your organization works.

Statement of Work

A Statement-of-Work (SOW) is a form of contract between a company and a staffing provider or individual that agrees to pay a contract worker for their efforts based on the achievement of pre-determined project outcomes. Typically, these outcomes are formed around project way-points (sometimes called ‘Milestones’).

Background Testing/Credentially

The world of business has never been more unpredictable. To make sure your organization can navigate the bumps in the road, you require a flexible workforce. But with hiring comes risks. It’s therefore important that background checks and compliance are performed to ensure your hires don’t come with undesirable risks. Your VMS should help with this. 

How to Procure a Future-Proof Contingent Workforce VMS

VMS is a software platform that helps hire and manage your external workforce, adapting to your changing needs. But what features do you need?

Is your VMS showing its age?

Is your contingent workforce management software adequately supporting today’s business needs and future goals? Here’s what you need to know.

What makes 2022 the right time to upgrade your VMS?

Post-pandemic, businesses are reconsidering how they manage their external workforces. Is your business prepared or is it time to upgrade?

Supercharging Your VMS

Are you missing out because your VMS tech is out of date? Here are the 5 add-ons to supercharge your VMS and talent management strategy.

Drive Your Talent Strategy with the Right Vendor Management App

We look at how finding the right vendor management tool can improve the performance of your indirect staffing vendor management program.

Key Features to Look for in a VMS

What makes a Vendor Management System great, not just good? These key VMS features are essential to help you successfully manage your talent.

What makes the best VMS in 2022?

Looking for the best VMS in 2022? In this article, we highlight the 5 key factors to look for in a Vendor Management System (VMS).

Talent Technology and diversity goals

Employees respond positively to employers who value diversity. How can talent technology be utilized in creating a fairer workplace for all and at the same time help achieve diversity goals?

Our top 3 articles this quarter

It’s been a busy period for Simplify VMS, and 2021 promises to continue in the same manner with the upcoming CWS Symposium Online event. Here, we’ve handpicked three of our hottest articles from the last quarter we think are worth revisiting. Topics include, talent...

Talent Technology and the Future Workforce

The world of work has rapidly moved from long employment contracts and commutes, to bite-size gigs and work sessions punctuated by walking dogs, picking up the kids and taking a break in a caffe. The little legs of employer talent leaders are paddling like crazy under...

VMS platforms now support hybrid working

A VMS for Hybrid Working There are a great many ‘hybrids’ in the digital age—hybrid cars, hybrid cricket pitches, and, more recently, hybrid working practices. A hybrid is qualified as a thing made by combining two different elements. In the working world of 2022, the...

Benefits of Capturing Global Indirect Staffing Spend

What are the benefits of building out a global picture of your indirect staffing spend and what opportunities does it bring to your business?

VMS solutions: Tech for the future of work

Here, we look into VMS solutions and what they have to offer organizations. More specifically, how are they adapting to the future of work

VMS Trends for 2021

Following a year interrupted by COVID-19, Jason Main, Product and Strategy Leader, reviews the 3 biggest challenges 2020 has left behind – areas where the most change in talent acquisition and management will be witnessed – followed by his perspectives on the Top 3...

Remote Workforce Management 2021

2021 promises to be a year of remote working, continuing the new normal of 2021. Is it time to move your flexible workforce recruitment online? In this article we take a look at ten tech innovations that have made remote recruitment a practical option.2020, the year...

5 things to look for in your VMS in 2022

We asked our expert team to give their perspectives and pick out the 5 most impactful enhancements to look out for in your VMS in 2022.

The Future of Work is ‘Hybrid’

McKinsey & Co. has just released an eye-popping report that looks into the future of work and the move to hybrid and flexible approaches.

Vendor Management Software—the unlikely hero of a digital talent industry

What are the advantages to purchasing a VMS to support your flexible workforce sourcing, onboarding and management? Read on to find out.

What Software do you need to Manage the Future of Work?

Choosing a VMS used to be about comparing off-the-shelf VMS apps that, once purchased, took months to make operational. Not today. Contingent Workforce Management software has evolved since the early days of Vendor Management Software. In modern systems, managing...

How can a modern vendor management system save you money?

Academics and experts agree the future of work is about flexibility and adaptability. Organizations have responded to a new market reality of a post-COVID lockdown era, by increasing their commitment to flexible working and the use of a flexible workforce increasingly...

How to Cut the Costs of Indirect Labor Spend

Cost reduction is among the top priorities for procurement teams. Learn how to achieve significant economies in indirect staffing spend.

When is a Vendor Management System not a ‘VMS’ anymore?

Modern Vendor Management Systems offer so much more than just vendor management. Find out how they can transform your workforce management.

Pay Transparency: Is it the Right Decision for Your Company?

More employers use transparency in pay as a means to build trust and close the gender pay gap. But is it the right decision for your company?

The Need to Improve Digital Literacy for the Future of Work is Only Compounded by Remote Working

The pandemic has changed how employers think about remote work. A gap in digital literacy is a persistent obstacle to working effectively.

Upending the HR Tech Space: Why I Became CPO of Simplify VMS

Vivek Bedi, the new Chief Product Officer of SimplifyVMS explains his passion for the young HR Tech startup and why he joined the team.

The Effect of COVID-19 on Financial Institutions

Financial Services: Leading the Charge to Recovery With the snowballing of the 2020 pandemic crisis globally, the financial health of organizations, communities and individuals have been siesmically impacted. Banks and other financial institutions have found...

Re-Balancing IC Compliance for the New Normal

There’s never been a better time to transition your workforce to a more fluid blend of full-time workers and independent contractors.  In this article we examine how artificial intelligence has found its home performing what is on the surface a very simple...

Five reasons to select a mobile-first VMS

The leading VMS solutions today are going mobile. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider a mobile-first Vendor Management System.

VMS Software Benefits

Vendor Management Software is used to manage staffing vendors and the contingent workers they recruit. Learn more about the benefits of VMS.

Tapping into the Gig Economy

The gig economy brings a competitive advantage by sourcing your workforce on-demand. Hiring contingent workers has a multitude of benefits.

VMS Software Performance Management – Five Features You Might Be Missing

VMS Software Performance Management increases the effectiveness of contingent workforce vendor management. Discover the five features you may be missing..

Simplify VMS User Experience

User experience is important to any software product, maximizing efficiency and productivity. Find out how VMS can help markedly improve UX.

Ten Capabilities Your Old VMS Probably Doesn’t Offer

View this infographic to see 10 VMS capabilities first gen systems don’t offer. A VMS is a tech platform for indirect talent sourcing.

Section 3 – Procurement Considerations

In this section, we’ve summarized the most common ‘hygiene factors’ that should be included in a procurement.

Supporting the Lifecycle of Contingent Workforce Sourcing, Management and Exiting

Your VMS should support all phases of the Contingent Workforce Management lifecycle.  In the table below, we’ve put together to highlight some of the areas where economies should be anticipated.  Not all are bottom-line financial impacts, but all are worthy of consideration.

Configuration, not Configuration

Such are the variations in the way organizations want to use a VMS, the incumbent systems they’re using, and the capabilities they adopt for their business, etc. means that no VMS will function well in your organization ‘out-of-the-box.’  SOMEHOW, your platform has to be adapted to fit.

Interporability Standards

Technology rarely works well in isolation.  Achieving tight integration with best-of-breed applications and back-office systems streamlines workflows.  It means your organization can maximize the productivity of its procurement teams and hiring managers. As the bare minimum, your VMS should support Web Services and a RESTful API.

Data Security and GDPR Compliance

Data Privacy features should also be incorporated into the design of the VMS (often described as Data Privacy by Design), and this should be evidenced through regular Data Privacy Assessments.


Achieving economies quickly should always be a target.  For any major technology deployment, it’s important that stakeholders see quick wins materialize to demonstrate a clear early-stage Return-on-Investment (ROI) and offer encouragement to project leaders and champions. 

Responsiveness and Uptime

Float Pool Management creates a constantly updated list of approved providers to fill open shifts. This advanced recognition of resourcing needs means that workers can be blocked booked against schedules while payment and incentive plans can be updated based on worker utilization.

Internalization Features

Even if you’re not currently operating overseas, it’s as well to future-proof your platform by ensuring it supports the most popular languages and use of multiple currencies.  Also consider that the way dates and currencies are presented in databases varies from.

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