G iven the recent news, it is no secret that we are seeing an increase in merger and acquisition activity in the contingent workforce procurement and management space, which makes me especially glad that I recently participated in a webinar for WBR/ProcureCon, along with Melissa Whitney of 3M.
During this hour-long webinar, I got to take off my Beeline hat and think back to when I was a buyer of a VMS and responsible for running a contingent workforce program for my organization, like many of you today. Providing value to my organization was a top priority, and I found that one of the best ways to accomplish this was to ensure that I was not only buying a piece of technology, but also investing in a stable and lasting partnership with my VMS provider.
My buying story starts very similar to Melissa’s – based on the needs of my organization, it was time for me to replace the existing VMS that I was using. As I completed my search (and ultimately made my decision to select Beeline), it was the subtle differences and the level of partnership that made the difference and had the greatest impact on the future success of my program. Right now, if you are looking for a VMS technology for the first time, looking to replace your current technology, or reassessing your current technology partner, be sure you know which success factors matter the most for your organization. Ensure that your partner not only meets your needs for features and functionality, but also aligns with your current business objectives and future goals.
The VMS Partner Evaluation Checklist
One helpful key to success that I found was creating a checklist for use during my evaluation of providers. The number of items on the checklist is not as important as ensuring that you are asking the right questions. On the surface, many of the VMS providers can look the same, but I promise you, the devil is in the details. Also, know that your checklist will most certainly grow and evolve as you evaluate solutions and partners. The following are a few of the key questions I asked as I evaluated potential partners:
• Is the partner willing to align to my current business processes?
• Will the partner be able to help me evolve?
• Does their technology have the flexibility to handle all of the variations in my processes, locations, etc.?
• Is this partner a cultural fit for my organization? Are they honest and forthright?
• Is this partner in it for the long haul? What percentage of their annual revenue is reinvested in product development?
• What is their ongoing Client Support and maintenance model?
Questions to ask during a VMS Partner’s Acquisition
And for those of you who are currently going through an acquisition of your provider, you may want to add the following questions to your checklist:
• What is the impact to my business?
• How will this change affect the products and services I have today?
• Will advances in my current tool be stalled as focus is turned to convert or assimilate new clients?
• What does the organization expect as a return on the investment?
• How does this change affect my contract and pricing?
As my co-presenter Melissa so eloquently put it, “They should not just assume that they will get to keep my business [in an acquisition]. They should be prepared to re-pitch to me.”
These are just some of the questions that made it possible for my organization (as well as Melissa’s) to select the best VMS partner. Above all, make sure you are considering all of the details, making sure any VMS partner you select has the qualities that make for a long and successful partnership. The best VMS is not always the biggest or the boldest – it will be the one that is right for your organization based on your needs.
To find out more about the qualities that make for a successful partnership, I encourage you to download and read Beeline’s new eBook.