It’s an ordinary Tuesday and you’re making headway on your to-do list when the email comes through: Your boss wants you to be part of a team tasked with selecting a vendor management system (VMS).
Whether you’re in procurement or HR, or even a dedicated contingent workforce program manager, this is a good thing. No one knows better than you how the current tools to manage sourcing, onboarding, and offboarding of contingent workers is—or isn’t—working.
Your hands-on experience with your current system—even if that’s spreadsheets and email—is critical to finding a solution that will automate and streamline your program, without forcing you to adapt to its limitations.
With you on the team, your organization will be able to identify your must-have features and functions and write an effective Request for Proposal (RFP) for the right vendor management solution.
And you’ll be able to prep in advance for all the software demos.
Technology Demos: The Fun Part of Selecting a VMS
Once you’ve narrowed down the field of VMS providers, it’s time for the fun part: Technology demonstrations.
A demo gives you an in-depth look at the system, its features and functions, and its user experience. It’s also your opportunity to ask questions and make sure the solution
- Adjusts to your desired workflow across the full contingent lifecycle
- Features an intuitive user interface to speed adoption by procurement, HR, hiring managers, and other users
- Enables hiring managers to work at maximum efficiency
- Automates and tracks compliance by position and location
- Satisfies your needs for tracking KPIs and program metrics.
Read this: 3 Keys to Contingent Program Success
Who Should Be Part of a Vendor Management System Demo?
Before scheduling your demos, make sure you’ve got all the right people on the selection team.
This group will participate in product demos, review and rank potential vendors, and make recommendations regarding the best-fit VMS for your organization.
The ideal selection team includes a cross-section of multi-level stakeholders, including those who will use the system, those who will implement and support it, and those who will interact with the technology provider over time, including
- Procurement leaders
- HR leaders
- Hiring managers
- IT systems and security leads.
13 Questions to Ask During a VMS Demo
A good VMS provider will deliver a demo targeted for your company and addresses the challenges you face in sourcing and managing contingent labor. They will have read your RFP and talked with the leader of your selection committee and will be prepared to show you how their solution meets your specific needs.
Typically, the presentation kicks off with a review of the company—including years in business, summary of their offerings, number of clients (ideally with examples in your industry or similar in size and scale to your company), and other facts.
The presenter will then walk you through the solution, showcasing the user experience, standard and advanced features, and functions that can be configured, customized, and/or personalized for your organization.
Smart vendors always leave plenty of time for questions, so be prepared with a thorough list to ensure you make the most of your selection team’s time.
The list below will give you a head start, ensuring you have all the information you need to make the right selection.
- Does your solution meet our system specifications and deliver our required features and functions?
- How will your solution integrate with our current systems?
- Describe your approach to migrating data from our current solution.
- How often are software updates released?
- How long does implementation typically take for an organization of our size with similar requirements?
- What type of training will be provided to our procurement, HR, hiring managers, and system administrator(s)?
- Describe your support model.
- What pricing models do you offer and what are your implementation costs?
- How configurable is your system without incurring additional costs?
- Can your solution be customized to our specific needs? If so, at what cost?
- Are features and modules upgraded automatically?
- What type of business intelligence reporting and analytics are included?
- Tell me about your approach to data security.
Remember, it’s a good idea to share your list of must-have features and critical questions with each provider before the demo, so the solution consultant can have be prepared so show examples of how the VMS meets your needs.
You may also want to ask whether the provider offers contingent workforce program management services to augment your procurement and HR teams.
More Than a Technology Provider: Finding a Strategic Partner
A demo affords you more than just a chance for technical Q&A.
You’ll also get a sense of each provider’s customer service philosophy and focus—that is, how they will treat your company during system implementation and beyond. And you’ll see how eager they are to work with you.
Remember: The relationship between your team and your VMS provider should be a strategic partnership. Your provider should remain engaged with your contingent workforce program team after your VMS goes live to ensure you get the most of your new vendor management technology.
Your contingent workforce program needs will evolve in response to shifts in the job market as a whole, trends affecting your industry, and internal organizational change. You need a VMS—and a VMS provider—that can adapt to the way your contingent labor program works today and in the way it will evolve.
The VMS provider you select should be able to advise your contingent workforce program leaders on best practices, drawing on their expertise in vendor management and sourcing generally and on their experience serving other clients.
By making the most of your VMS demo, you’ll be better able to find a provider who can be your long-term strategic partner as your contingent workforce program evolves over time.
And that means your company will get the most from your new VMS—powering your talent strategies well into the future.