Implementing a VMS: 13 Things to Accelerate ROI

A lot of work goes into selecting the right vendor management system (VMS) for your organization.

This is especially true for companies that have been using spreadsheets, email, and other manual systems to manage their contingent workforce.

You assembled a team of stakeholders—procurement, HR, hiring managers, finance, IT, and others. Together, you documented your sourcing, selection, and engagement process from req to check, to determine which vendor management solution would work your way.

You researched all the features and functions of a VMS and determined which provider would help your team work efficiently and elevate the quality of your contingent workforce program. You sat through demos and asked all the right questions. And you wrote a request for proposals (RFP) and reviewed responses.

Now you’re done, right?

Not quite. So don’t dismiss your selection team just yet.

Still in selection mode? Choosing a VMS? 5 Success Factors Companies Often Overlook

Final Step in Selecting a VMS: Preparing for Implementation

Implementing a VMS is a major project. There are sourcing and compliance workflows to configure, approvals to outline, hiring manager dashboards and business reporting to customize, and data to migrate.

And that’s just a few of the tasks ahead.

The good news is that your VMS provider has done this before—many times (assuming you selected an experienced company). Their approach to implementing your VMS should’ve been spelled out thoroughly in their proposal, so there shouldn’t be any surprises now.

Still, your VMS provider can’t do it alone.

They’ll need input from the same stakeholders who served on your selection team. So after thanking your team for their hard work, enlist their support in developing a plan for successful implementation of your new vendor management solution.

By capturing their knowledge of the VMS and building on their relationship with the provider, you can make a smooth transition into the implementation phase and maintain the buy-in of these key stakeholders.

Get ahead of your spend: 8 Ways to Measure and Control Your Contingent Labor Program Costs

13 Secrets to a Successful Implementation Plan

With a detailed plan for implementation, you can avoid common pitfalls and position your contingent workforce program for maximum success and rapid ROI on your new vendor management technology.

A successful implementation plan captures everything it will take to configure and roll out your VMS. It defines what success really means, clarifies the important question of who’s doing what, spotlights risks so you can mitigate them before the rollout is compromised, and helps ensure that you maintain the collaborative spirit and great stakeholder communications.

Here’s a 13-point outline for an implementation plan that will get your VMS up and running smoothly:

1. Purpose, Intent, and Scope of the Project

This may come verbatim from your RFP or may reflect changes suggested by the winning provider. Either way, reinforcing a common understanding of goals and objectives is key.

2. Success Metrics and Measurement Plan

Define what a successful implementation means in qualitative and quantitative terms. This may also come from the RFP, but can and should be augmented with a timeline and milestones.

It’s important to set a realistic go-live date and measure success against your tracking to that determined date.

3. Implementation Team

Typically this includes some, but not all, members of the selection team, plus data security and IT administrators.

Whatever the make-up of your implementation team, ensure that they’re all are accessible from day one. Nothing derails a successful implementation faster than a change in workflow late in the game.

4. Roles and Responsibilities

Ensure everyone on the team, including the provider, knows who’s doing what and who is accountable for success. Your VMS provider should outline this for you, but it’s always wise to communicate early.

5. Level of Effort

Collaborate with your VMS provider as they estimate hours for each step, task, and team member. This will enable you to allocate resources effectively.

6. System Integration

Define any/all other systems to be integrated into the VMS. Work with the provider’s implementation team to determine the best approach.

7. Data Definitions

Clearly specify data that will be migrated or integrated into the new system and the source(s) of that data.

This is the most important step in an implementation. Dirty data is the number one reason an implementation does not meet the targeted go-live date. Make sure you know where your data resides and how you want it configured within your new vendor management system.

8. Project Risks

Define any potential roadblocks your team may anticipate—such as cost overruns, competing priorities, internal reorganization, or resistance to change among key users—so you can proactively address them with your VMS provider.

Tip: To generate and sustain energy and accelerate the adoption of your new solution, enlist champions across the organization. These people will serve as a channel for change communication and a source of momentum throughout implementation.

9. Communications Plan

Define your approach to communicating with key stakeholders, including executive leadership, procurement, HR leadership, and hiring managers.

10. Workflows

Map your sourcing, selection, onboarding, and off-boarding workflows. During implementation, your VMS provider may be able to identify opportunities to streamline your processes for even greater ROI.

11. Use Cases

Define example scenarios for hiring managers, procurement leaders, system administrators, and other users of the new VMS. These use cases will help your provider configure the system during implementation and serve as test cases to ensure the VMS is ready for launch.

12. User Acceptance Testing

Engage representative users of the system to test and provide feedback on configuration, functionality, and ease of use.

13. User Training Plan

The provider’s proposal should define an approach and level of effort required to train all system users, but your team may wish to augment that plan or document it more fully.

Engaging Your VMS Provider as a Strategic Partner

Remember: The relationship between your contingent workforce program team and your VMS technology provider should be a strategic partnership.

Your contingent labor 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 organization works today and in the future.

Your VMS provider should be able to advise your contingent workforce program team on best practices, drawing on their expertise in vendor management and sourcing generally and on their experience serving other clients.

Need advice on contingent workforce program strategies? Book a 20-minute consultation with one of our experts.

The planning and execution of your VMS implementation will set the stage for a long-term collaboration.

And that means your company will reap ROI from your new VMS faster—achieving greater efficiency in sourcing contingent labor, mitigating risks through automated compliance, giving you full visibility into contingent spend across the organization, and enabling business agility through ready access to top contingent talent.

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