When you acquire a software program for your business needs, it helps to keep in mind that the vendor company selling you the software has a key role to play in your use of the software. Software vendor companies can impact your overall performance, and the very success of your business through acts of omission or commission. By ignoring this important insight, you could set yourself up for a negative impact on the performance of your business and pay a heavy price in the long term.
Let’s look at the best practices in vendor management when acquiring a software for your business, with specific reference to a Vendor Management System (VMS) and the VMS company that developed it:
Vendor selection: At the outset, decide the right reasons for your selection of a VMS vendor. Seek a VMS company that understands your industry in general and your business requirements in particular. Check if the product offers the various functions you require and, if not, whether the VMS provider can customize the various modules to fit in your needs. Don’t be carried away by their initial intensive approach to impress and dazzle you. How staunchly a vendor stays by your side, after the sale, is more important than how many people visited you before the sale.
As the contingent workforce umbrella, which includes “classic” temporary labor, complex contract talent (SOW, services, etc.) and independent contractors is evolving on a near daily basis, you’ll need a VMS company that offers a solution suite which include functionalities that don’t lag behind such as analytics, talent engagement and management capabilities as well as social networking strategies. Use your RFP/RFI process to choose a VMS company with an impressive amount of knowledge about the industry and the ability to anticipate and meet your requirements.
Check if the VMS provider has an innovative can-do approach that enables their team to quickly make any required changes to the software, to meet your organizational goals and objectives, when and if required. Incorporate all the tangible elements of your understanding on the continuing evolution of the product as an essential part of your contractual agreement. Cost is definitely an important factor in making your choice, but don’t make it overshadow functionality and customer service.
Size doesn’t always matter: Don’t get carried away by size as it’s not essential that the VMS providers should themselves be very big or be backed by a behemoth parent. You stay with those who are committed technocrats, with a proven track record of satisfied customers, even if they are relatively small. After all, there may be a serious loss of agility with the big players, which may result in a lack of responsiveness to your needs compared to a smaller player, whose turnaround time on a request may be more nimble.
Build a relationship with the vendor: It’s difficult to establish a direct correlation between the provider’s annual return and the efforts put in to build a positive relationship with its vendors. But the many positive outcomes from a good relationship with one’s vendors, like better utility, better service, reduced costs and increased satisfaction are undoubtedly important to a business. A good relationship with the VMS provider comes in useful, especially when there are any issues that need to be resolved.
Share expectations: Use the relationship with the vendor to create a mutually beneficial partnership by sharing your expectations clearly and getting them to perform to expectations and deliver a high quality of service. Establish a dedicated role to deal with your vendor to manage the relationship well.
Establish a measurement: Measure the effectiveness of the provider in meeting your expectations and on their responsiveness. Use the metrics to strategically improve the working relationship rather than to create a bureaucratic requirement. The measurement is not a one-time affair but an ongoing assessment and monitoring.
Remember that your association with your VMS provider could prove to be a lasting partnership extending over years if not decades, and will contribute to the success of both in the long run.
Do you have any best practices to share with us? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!
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