This interview was originally published in February 2019 by Spend Matters. It has been reprinted with permission.
Spend Matters and parent company Azul Partners make up the largest and most influential media and knowledge source in the procurement sector—and together have the largest and broadest range of practitioners and advisors consuming their content than any other analyst, blog, media, or subscription service.
The market for contingent workforce solutions has been evolving rapidly, including a new name for a vendor that has a deep history in the sector. VectorVMS, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based provider of a vendor management system (VMS) solution, recently became its own brand after spinning off from PeopleFluent, which had been Peopleclick.
Since “people” are a prominent thread here, we caught up with Marc Husain, the general manager of VectorVMS, where the human touch still drives the services and solutions it provides as part of the Learning Technologies Group (LTG). That spirit of serving people has been ingrained in the business since the late 1990’s, Husain says.
In a Q&A, he walks us through the latest updates in the industry and this company, VectorVMS.
Spend Matters: In case our readers are unfamiliar, can you give a brief history of VectorVMS, PeopleFluent and how your company has evolved over the years?
Our origins go back to a start-up called itiliti, founded in 1999, the year just about every company was in search of IT workers to ensure their systems would be ready for Y2K.
Itiliti recognized a need for a differentiated procurement platform for contingent labor. While there were plenty of procurement tools for material items back then, none had the human touch it takes to source contractors and consultants.
We started out serving clients directly, but our customers pointed us back to their staffing organizations and outsourced managed service providers (MSPs). That was actually my role: channel manager for MSPs.
At itiliti we also recognized the need for companies to be able to cast a wider net — that is, expand beyond traditional staffing models for contingent workers. So it was designed to tap into multiple channels, from traditional staffing to direct sourcing and more.
Two years later, itiliti was acquired by Peopleclick. Our VMS solution, together with Peopleclick’s recruiting software, created an ecosystem that spanned full-time and contingent workforce management. In fact, this was a first-of-its-kind offering combining an applicant tracking system (ATS) and a VMS.
So from our founding, VectorVMS has always emphasized a human touch, multichannel sourcing, and integration within the talent ecosystem.
SM: What was the goal of spinning out VectorVMS from PeopleFluent? What message do you want to send to your customers and prospects with that distinction?
When LTG acquired PeopleFluent in 2018, they saw our vendor management system as a unique offering, not just within the PeopleFluent suite of offerings, but across LTG’s entire technology platform.
For our clients and our partners, being our own entity means we can focus on their needs. We can be more nimble in the face of the rapidly changing market that is contingent labor. And we can continue modernizing our technology in very specific ways—for example, meeting WCAG 2.0 standards for accessibility to better support our state government clients.
SM: What about your company’s strategy and focus has changed with the new brand identity? What, if anything, are you leaving behind with PeopleFluent, and what is VectorVMS embracing that’s “new”?
The difference is having a single focus. Everything we do now can be tailored for contingent labor management.
For example, as part of the emphasis on market agility that I mentioned, we’re looking to evolve through partnerships to support more sourcing channels—specifically, freelance, online staffing, and direct sourcing. Contingent labor today encompasses more than the traditional staffing model, so we’re enabling our clients to cast a wider net to get the best talent.
SM: Given your continued operation as part of Learning Technologies Group, how will customers benefit from the combination of resources and expertise this ecosystem can bring?
Being part of LTG gives us strong backing and operational resources. And it gives us access to capabilities across the group. We continue to work closely with our colleagues at PeopleFluent, of course. And we’re excited about the possibilities of collaborating with leaders and visionaries at LEO Learning, gomo, Eukleia, and Watershed, for example, to integrate L&D into contingent workforce management.
Across what we at LTG think of as “high-consequence industries” (like financial services, manufacturing, transportation, and energy), learning compliance is and has long been critically important.
We’re already having early conversations with clients who want to tie learning management into their VMS to extend learning compliance to their contingent workforce.
SM: What makes your solution stand out from other VMS providers in the market? Why do your clients choose your solution over others?
In the last few years, other vendor management platforms and technologies have become quite sophisticated — lots of bells and whistles. But we’ve focused on that human touch, maintaining a simplified, straight-forward, and friendly user experience.
The comment we hear most often from clients is that VectorVMS helps them get their job done quickly and simply.
And that, ultimately, is what technology is supposed to do: Make your job easier.
SM: VectorVMS draws on 20 years of experience in the contingent workforce and services industry. How has the industry changed in that time, and what are the major challenges VectorVMS will help customers address going forward?
The gig economy triggered a major shift. Contingent workers have more options now for finding work. Think freelance management software like WorkMarket, direct sourcing, and online staffing resources like TaskRabbit and freelancer.com.
Looking ahead, VectorVMS aims to connect our clients to all these talent-rich avenues for closing skills gaps, ramping up operations, meeting seasonal hiring needs, etc.
While no single vendor management technology can deliver on 100% of a company’s contingent workforce needs today, we believe ours can serve as the platform that enables HCM integration across your talent ecosystem. This means our clients can be successful regardless of how they acquire talent.
SM: Finally, since you’ve decided to re-enter the market under a new brand, what does the name VectorVMS mean to your company?
We wanted a name that captured our excitement and renewed focus. The word “vector” signifies a purposeful direction and a trajectory into the future. From the client perspective, it’s the path from chaos to control over their contingent labor program.
For me, this connects directly to our laser focus on clients and partners, and the energy and vision we bring to our work every day—our ability to deliver a VMS technology and managed services that propel the talent strategies of our customers.