A client recently asked me what they could do leading up to the VMS Implementation project kick-off to ensure a running start. My answer did not include providing a bunch of completed excel files. While some of the data required to configure the VMS system may be readily available before any process questions are asked, such as lists of locations, or suppliers; most of the data will be garnered through good conversation.
So what can a client do prior to starting a VMS implementation project? Take a good look around internally. Identify who the correct resources are to engage in the project. While executive sponsorship may be key in getting the project successfully launched, key resources exist at all levels of the organization. The security officer at the front desk who hands out visitor badges with a joke each morning, the AP clerk that grudgingly calls up each engagement manager to get the right accounting codes for the incoming supplier invoices, the contractor who sits onsite for a week with no computer. All of these resources and more have a story to tell about the existing state of contingent workforce engagement and likely have opinions on how to improve it.
Clearly articulate an objective statement. Let it sink in around the organization. Evangelize it. What are you trying to achieve with the rollout of a VMS process? If it’s cost savings, set a goal. If it’s visibility to existing costs, help everyone understand why this is important. Maybe it’s a streamlined process, so that contractor doesn’t sit idle for a week before she is properly onboarded. Maybe it’s all of the above. Regardless of the mission; make sure the immediate team understands it, and outline it for the VMS project team. We’ll make it our mission also.
Take a good look at the existing process. What are the steps that are critical from a control standpoint? What are holdovers from a bygone era and no longer make sense? Who are the people that will resist change? These people have a story to tell too, and if they feel heard, and can be helped to understand the change; they could become the biggest proponents of the new process.
Engage Accounts Payable early and often. All too often projects get started with a clear mission and lots of excitement, leaving the complicated accounting stuff in the dust. Start with the invoicing requirements. This frames the collection of data along the way, and allows the technical teams to get ahead of system testing with mockups, or test scenarios. When it comes time to obtain sign-off on successful testing, you won’t be waiting for the accounting resources to be freed up to participate.
Review existing reports or lack thereof. What are the key data points you will look to pull from the system? What are some data points that you consistently deliver but have to practically stand on your head to do so? Articulate the report requirements early on so the process can be built to support them.
All of the items above can be discussed internally before the VMS team ever asks a single question. If we could leave a kick off session with a good understanding of the points above, many of the remaining conversations are already framed up. Get a head start on your VMS implementation before kickoff.