Ask an Expert: What Is SMS? [VIDEO]

Following the commercial launch of Shared Managed Services (SMS), VectorVMS Marketing Brand Manager, Nikki Williams, sat down with Senior SMS Program Manager, Cindy Chunn, to learn more about what exactly Shared Managed Services provides to its clients. You can watch the interview here, or read an edited version of the transcript below. 

What is Shared Managed Services? 

It’s exactly like what it sounds. SMS is an option that allows our customers to successfully build and run their contingent program in-house. We’re your designated partner—we share in the responsibilities of your program. What’s great is that you control how much we are involved. Because our services are custom as well as scalable, you’ll be able to select from a catalog of services what works best for you and where we fit in your program. And when I say catalog of services, this could be anything from a day-to-day task that your team really doesn’t have time or doesn’t want to perform. It could be managing certain aspects of your overall program, maybe that with the depth of our team’s industry experience and knowledge, we can be more of a strategic partner. But what’s great about it is our team does spend a lot of time with you upfront. There’s a lot of time with you one on one to understand how we can best be of service and implement from implementation to go-live. So we’re with you from the start all the way to the finish. 

What do you do as Senior SMS Program Manager?

I provide the service that comes with SMS. We agree on certain responsibilities or certain tasks that I would perform on your behalf. And while that’s spelled out in our contract and our list of services, the one thing to remember is that I’m flexible. I plan my time around my customers’ needs. So, that could be a special project, it could be to update the application, it could be with a more strategic objective in line for the overall program, or maybe you just need a business intelligence report built. So while a lot of my job is spelled out in our services menu, and you can select from that, I can flex to my clients’ needs and I can be scalable as well. You may need me more one week and may not need me at all the next week, and that’s okay because I will flex my time and plan my week around your needs. 

Why would a company want to use SMS?

Because they actually get to control their own culture. As we see contingent move more and more into the talent acquisition space and become part of that team (as it should!), they get to control the culture of the onboarding of that person. While the vendor still “owns” them, you kind of create the culture that they come and work in. With SMS, they get an industry expert. Our team has over 60 years of experience in the contingent workforce space. Along with that, we can provide industry expertise, we can share our best practices among all of our other clients, and because we’re able  to flex to what the client needs, we can help you achieve your goals—whether they’re more task oriented or they’re strategic in nature. That’s really what sets SMS apart, the fact that we can scale our responsibilities and our needs to what our clients need, and be flexible to move back or move forward if that’s what they need to get the program working effectively. 

What is your favorite part about working with SMS clients? 

I don’t have a favorite part—I really like all of it. I like to dig in and really get to know what a client’s org looks like and what their overall objectives are, but I think my favorite part is when a client becomes very engaged. And usually our SMS clients are very engaged. By working with them on that daily/weekly/monthly basis, we’re able to continually increase the efficiencies in the application, their users are happy, their vendors are happy, and the overall program becomes successful. And the best part is we did it together, and so we get to share in that satisfaction as well.

What’s the one key thing that companies interested in SMS need to know?

When you’re selecting the services you need from the catalog, don’t just think that’s all we have. If you have a need, and we haven’t defined what that is, we’re flexible. So don’t just think we have one set of objectives that we’ll do on behalf of our customers—we’re flexible and we’re scalable. If you need more in the first year that you sign on, we can do that. If you need a different type of support that maybe we haven’t defined in our catalog, speak up. SMS is growing for us. While we’ve had it for quite a long time, we’re really starting to see our customers like the fact that they get to run their program in house, they control the culture. If there’s something you don’t see, just ask. I’m sure, within reason, we’re going to be able to do pretty much anything it is you need us to do. After you become interested in SMS and you sign a contract and become our client hopefully, just stay engaged. Take advantage of the fact that you have an industry expert at your fingertips. Stay engaged on those weekly calls and the task lists. It really helps us as program managers get to know you and understand what your needs are, not only from the day you implement but as your program grows and your needs change. We want to be on top of that. So I would say, if you don’t see something in our catalog that you need, ask. Let’s talk about it. And when you sign on and you have a SMS program manager, just stay engaged.