Much akin to the terrible lament raised by Coleridge’s sailors “Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink”, every organization today boasts of tremendous capabilities for data acquisition and storage; but their managers can hardly claim to derive the required benefit of actionable information from it. While business moves at the speed of thought and data piles up in hard disks of unimagined capacities (at least for those of us who were around when Google launched its services); business intelligence is the only way to go for managers who wish to make sensible and effective use of the monumental amounts of data. Customizable programs like the VMS offer business intelligence solutions using operational data from the past, present and future (through projections) to provide a definite improvement to a manager’s decision-making powers.
If we were to plug all our data into an Excel sheet, without planning/knowing the correlations and deductions we might achieve through asking the right questions that will provide us with an insight into the operational lacunae dogging our program, the data might as well be not collected or stored. Using a BI tool is a dynamic process where the questions that need to be posed can be pre-determined or changed/modified as per the requirements of different stakeholders. Some VMS programs differentiate themselves through understanding the industry and its specific requirements in depth and incorporating that learning into the program in an effective and reliable manner to make the lives of the users infinitely better.
Depending on the tool’s functionality, we could ascertain the responses to various issues and get the VMS to:
Create dashboards of actual data like vendor bill rates, time taken to fill with a comparison across parameters like vendor performance, costs and quality on filling similar requirements can give rise to new variables which determine aspects of compliance and agreement with budgetary stipulations,
Project information on various parameters, and monitor financial performance data like staying within the budget, or exceeding it at current levels of expenditure,
Suggest the type of employee (FTE or Contractors or SOW) we can use for a specific project and the financial impact in each case can be determined beforehand as an aid to the hiring decision.
Calculate probable savings by incorporating hypothetical changes to the vendor structure, and estimate the financial impact of negotiating better rates with suppliers of contractors/ consultants,
Isolate problem areas which may require modification in order to meet the projected plans and to drive the performance as well as results required,
Provide inputs on plan to adopt cost-effective use of contract workers across the various locations of the organization.
The resultant improvement will not remain a static, one-time affair but a cyclical one which the VMS will once again process the available information for further operational improvements. Then again, it is not sufficient or prudent for a company to stay mired in its own understanding of the world without benchmarking itself against the competitors and industry leaders. Most VMSes help to provide this additional capability by incorporating the measurements and information from the best practices of others in the industry.
This combination of operational improvements derived internally as well externally go a long way to define the quality and efficiency of the contingent program managed by the VMS to ensure superior performance, savings in cost and time and quality.
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