By Peter Parks, Vice President of Product Management
What do contingent workforce management industry buzzwords really mean? “Master Vendor” is a good example of a commonly used keyword that can be unclear. For some staffing suppliers, it’s synonymous with “Light Industrial.” For others, it may mean “spend of under $10M per year.” But across all staffing firms, Master Vendor generally means that they are filling all or most positions and they are a single point of contact for the customer.
This distinction from traditional Managed Service Provider (MSP) requires a change in focus and strategy by the Vendor Management System (VMS). A traditional MSP account is largely about the end customer’s needs – a VMS is brought in to deliver on requirements defined by the customer, and the customer usually makes the selection. But in a Master Vendor scenario, customers usually simply require that there be technology in place to drive efficiency and enable measurement and data analysis, but trust the supplier to choose their VMS.
This means our target customer is different, and this change means more than just a shift from the end customer to the staffing provider. Within the largest staffing companies, the organizations that manage Master Vendor are entirely separate from those that handle MSP – and these organizations appreciate our understanding of this separation and the dedicated attention we provide them.
For the VMS provider, a Master Vendor opportunity is all about enabling the supplier to execute their own standardized processes. This often means integrating the VMS into a supplier’s internal systems and letting them continue to do what they already do very well – we don’t try to reinvent the wheel. The supplier has methods of distributing requisitions out to their field offices, matching candidates with openings, and tracking and evaluating time. While our solution also handles these tasks, it assumes a large supply base. When one vendor controls 70% or more of the spend, you need to cater to that vendor’s existing process.
Within the VMS we give the end customer all of the features they require (self service, automation, controls and visibility, to name a few) and through integration we empower the supplier to operate most efficiently. And speaking of efficiency? When we land one Master Vendor, we land all of their customers in one fell swoop.
Contact us for more information on how Provade can help support your internal systems and processes.
Temporary workers are playing an increased role in today’s workforce, and organizations have had to modify their workforce management tools in response to this change. A recent HRO Today article, Technology Lending a Hand, highlighted some significant statistics that demonstrate the impact.
- 26% of the average organization’s staff is considered contingent, contract or temporary.
- Temporary workers comprised 91% of total job growth between June 2009 and June 2011.
- 89% of best-in-class organizations use a Vendor Management System (VMS) to manage their contingent workforce.
More and more, organizations are looking for a third party to step in and help drive efficiency, improve quality and shine a light on contingent labor spending, and a VMS plays a big role in this. According to Edward Jackson, President of Provade, sophisticated buyers are taking more control of their outsourcing engagements. “While we see most MSP contracts having VMS technology in place, the customer often is reserving the right to assign technology to another MSP, should they cancel the contract.”
This indicates that the technology is the backbone of contingent workforce management, and for MSPs to stay involved in their clients’ business, they must not only find a way to optimize the software but leverage it to add value to the services they provide.
Analytics are one way MSPs can add value to their services. “To have a world-class program, business intelligence is the engine to program management and business optimization,” says Jackson. “Additionally, embedded analytics allow for better decision making at the transaction level that can also dramatically drive program savings and effectiveness.”
Another major trend discussed in the article was the increased need for mobile VMS solutions. “Mobility has led to significant increases in responsiveness for VMS users, optimizing productivity, and reducing overall cycle times in contingent workforce management,” says Peter Parks, Provade vice president of product management. “Mobile line-of-business applications promote greater efficiency and performance, and enable workers to stay on top of time-sensitive tasks as they move throughout their workday.”
Provade was proud to be a part of this comprehensive overview of VMS trends and the impact these contingent workforce management solutions are having on businesses.
Contact us for a demonstration of Provade VMS, and read the full article at HRO Today.
By Edward Jackson, President
As the first quarter of 2013 draws to a close and financials become a topic of conversation (and consternation), I have spent some time thinking about the real value of our software. Discussions about success and the impact of a new program typically focus on cost savings and return on investment (ROI). These are great measurements – and sometimes the only tangible measurement a company can associate with a program – but are they telling the whole story?
Typically, procurement measures success as the following: I paid X for Program A last year. If I can pay 95% of X for Program A this year, I will save 5%. Procurement calls this “hard savings” – the only true measureable value (in their opinion).
These formulas work, and certainly demonstrate a measurable business impact. But they do not work when we are talking about human capital. Quality and productivity can blow away cost savings in terms of true impact. Remember the Steve Jobs quote that a great programmer is not just 2X better than another but 40X better? If you continue to pay X for Program A, but the service levels give productivity and time-to-fill a boost, you are still coming out ahead. And truly, “value” shouldn’t be about cutting costs – it’s really about growing profits. Spend management is only part of the picture.
I believe that now is the time to redirect focus, and start paying attention to the program offering and ways to empower the Managed Service Provider (MSP) and staffing companies so that they can exceed service levels and increase their customers’ satisfaction. To that end, I am thinking about how the vendor management system fits into an MSP or staffing company’s program offering and whether it is giving these providers everything they need to really deliver for their customers. A traditional Vendor Management System (VMS) only supports a fraction of the work that drives real change for their customers. What is missing? Help desk support, collaboration and an opportunity for the MSP or staffing company to expand their reach into their customers’ operations, to name a few.
Spend management has been a focus for a long time, but I see the landscape beginning to shift. It’s time to start thinking about program effectiveness, and helping MSPs and staffing companies become strategic partners with their customers to drive real change.
What do you think? Share your comments below.
By Sreenivas “Dinu” Davuluri, Chief Business Intelligence Architect
Interoperability is the key to successful business operations. Seamless sharing of functionality and information from different applications helps business leaders make the best decisions for an organization and enables business processes to flow between systems. Full interoperability is undetectable to the end user – it appears that they are working within one system to get real-time data from different areas of the business.
When implementing a new software application, it is important to consider how it will integrate with other existing applications. If your organization has already invested a significant amount of money in implementing business systems, you might be hesitant to add another management tool to the mix. All of the systems must play well together to create a complete picture of your operations.
6 out of 7 enterprise installations leverage Oracle and SAP to track organizational data – so we designed Provade VMS with interoperability in mind. Provade VMS is built using open architecture so it can easily integrate with your other business systems and allow you to view all of your data in one place. We have leveraged Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) data to build the backbone of our data warehouse. Provade VMS can serve up a pagelet that can integrate with any compliant dashboard.
Provade VMS’ robust reporting tools can pull in data from other business systems, allowing you to use the Business Intelligence (BI) tools to analyze the big picture. By taking a hybrid approach to BI, you can easily modify these standard reports to gain insight into the data elements that meet your specific needs. Even a simple spreadsheet or other data file can be imported into the data warehouse to create a comprehensive report.
Provade VMS can provide additional insight into your contingent workforce spending without disrupting the systems you already have in place. Click here to learn more about our business intelligence portfolio.
By Domenic Mancini, Senior Product Manager
Are you planning to implement a vendor management system to manage your contingent workforce? While every organization has their own unique nuances and cultural obstacles to consider and respect, there are a few best practices that will make any implementation process run more smoothly and help encourage program adoption across the organization.
Your company must be ready for the changes to existing business processes a VMS implementation will make, and business leaders must clearly communicate the new system’s value proposition to the masses. How will this software and the new processes help the individual employee, as well as the company? Which day-to-day workflows will be improved? What is the impact to the bottom line?
For a successful implementation, follow these guidelines to create your adoption plan.
- Create a steering committee that brings together key executives and staff from all relevant business lines. Any group who will be affected by the change should be represented to promote collaboration and avoid potential resistance later in the process.
- Define the implementation plan – how will you achieve a successful deployment? Clearly define key milestones with deliverable timelines to maintain visibility. Stay focused on the plan and consistently measure progress.
- Develop an internal communication plan to ensure that everyone is well informed in advance of each key phase of the implementation process.
- Socialize the solution throughout the organization. Again, make sure that this messaging reaches any area of the business that will be affected by the change.
- Hold in-person feedback sessions. Town hall meetings have proven particularly effective in building successful adoption. These sessions allow the steering committee to address and validate employee concerns and objections.
- Share the information from the feedback sessions. Raise awareness of the concerns that were voiced and demonstrate that attention is being paid to these areas.
- Train project leaders, administrators, managers and users on the software solution.
- Go live.
Overcoming resistance around a project that drives this level of organizational change is challenging but essential. If one business group is allowed to opt out of the new program and processes, you may soon find other business groups questioning why they have to be included. By communicating early and often, and addressing any concerns that arise, the launch of your VMS will be a success.
Contact us to learn how Provade can help you implement a solution to manage your contingent workforce.
Provade’s leadership team continually looks toward the future as they develop innovative contingent workforce solutions. Here are their predictions as they look to 2013 and beyond.
I anticipate a growing movement toward insourcing as MSPs are increasingly challenged to defend their value proposition. As VMS capabilities grow and customers begin to use these systems, they will continue to see value in the technology and lessen their dependence on the MSP. This will encourage MSPs to defend their value proposition by building technology and unique IP into their service offering, enabling them to maintain account control.
-- Edward Jackson, President
The United States’ financial situation and Obamacare will have a ripple effect on contingent labor, where permanent employees will be transitioned to or replaced by temporary staff.
-- Tom Rumberg, Vice President of Technology
Customers will start reassessing their program analytics to ensure they are effectively examining buying practices and patterns across the enterprise where they can make positive impacts. Meaningful data delivered through a comprehensive reporting tool will enable customers to make sound decisions to drive their programs forward.
-- Domenic Mancini, Senior Product Manager
My prediction is that we will see staffing companies continue their trend back toward ownership of VMS tools.
-- Peter Parks, Vice President of Product Management
What changes do you foresee in contingent workforce management in 2013?
By Domenic Mancini, Senior Product Manager
I recently returned from the Consero Procurement & Strategic Sourcing Forum in San Diego, CA last week. This event matched up strategic suppliers and various procurement professionals with similar interests, and our discussions – focused on managing contract life cycles, minimizing risk, legal and ethical obligations and overall relationship management – offered many interesting insights.
During my meetings, it became overwhelmingly clear how few businesses have full visibility into their contingent labor spend, and even fewer know how to introduce a good cost savings methodology. Many businesses are still relying on data dumps into Excel to run their numbers, while some less mature organizations are just beginning to build out procurement departments and develop formal, corporate spend policies. True transformational change is a slow process – it takes time to identify needs and figure out the best way to move forward.
Provade VMS offers immediate insight into spend, but the data requires a deep dive to truly transform a business’ contingent workforce processes. Quarterly business reviews and trend reporting can provide recommendations for process improvement, but you must have the tools in place to get to the level of analysis that can drive real change. Just installing the solution will not get you there – data analytics are what truly drive ROI.
As we discussed the conference attendees’ experiences with other technology solutions – and talked through the overall purpose and value of such a system – I saw continued attempts to draw comparisons between other procurement process management systems and Provade. Most systems address only a portion of what our solution offers, and their focus tends to be on talent management and coordination. Only Provade VMS offers a complete procure-to-pay system. Businesses need a full lifecycle system in order to properly extract the deeper level of analytics that will allow them to more clearly understand their spending practices.
With every conversation, we get one step closer to businesses fully grasping the value a VMS can bring to their organization. I look forward to next year’s Forum, where we can continue to advocate for data analysis and demonstrate the transformative abilities of Provade VMS.
By Peter Parks, Vice President of Product Management
Mobile devices are changing the way business is done, and when appropriately leveraged, they can help us sharpen focus and work more efficiently. Mobility has led to significant increases in responsiveness for VMS users, optimizing productivity and reducing overall cycle times in contingent workforce management. Mobile line-of-business applications like Provade Mobile promote greater efficiency and performance, and enable workers to stay on top of time-sensitive tasks as they move throughout their workday.
The introduction of business intelligence (BI) is the next logical extension of mobility into VMS. To appropriately leverage mobile BI, it’s important to consider who your audience is and how BI can advance their objectives. I see two primary audiences for mobile BI – the transactional user and the C-suite.
When effectively deployed, BI drives intelligent decisions and boosts productivity for the transactional user. This can be a hiring manager, an MSP or a supplier. Reports or alerts for missing timesheets, a pending response deadline or the upcoming end of an assignment help you make point-in-time decisions. This data can typically be delivered in a small package, so the smartphone is a logical target. You may even be able to perform the appropriate response through the mobile VMS – a scenario where a comprehensive mobile application really delivers improvement to your process and outcome.
Our C-suite BI consumers do not need the minute-by-minute detail that transactional users demand. They’re more interested in summary data with an option to drill down into detail when necessary. Because C-Suite users are rapid adopters of tablet technology, we have targeted this format for their dashboards and detailed reports. With tools like Oracle’s BI app for iPad, we have delivered an excellent medium for the consumption of this information.
Users do not typically access all of the available reporting features in a VMS because the options are so robust. One Provade customer implemented nearly 150 reports they deemed critical, but when we went through a review of their implementation we discovered over 100 of these reports had not been run in the past 6 months. Removing those extra, unused reports enabled them to focus on the meaningful data and ultimately improved their BI experience in our desktop app. As we move more users to Mobile VMS, whether for transactions or BI, we help them attain that critical focus – the compact format demands that we deliver the essentials.
Watch our webinar to learn how to leverage Mobile VMS to maximize efficiency and productivity.
By Tom Rumberg, Vice President of Technology
Too often, a company’s sales pitches are just that… a sales pitch. Companies put together compelling stories to entice customers to purchase their wares, but often have little substance behind them. In the software space, a true gauge of the validity of a sales pitch is whether the sales rep is using their own software or subscribe to similar methodologies when they are on the other side of the table.
Here at Provade, we offer our industry’s only ERP-class VMS and BI software, delivering our products as a Software as a Service (SaaS) offering in the cloud. Our sales pitch speaks to accessibility of Oracle applications at a far lower cost of ownership through SaaS than a traditional software license model. Our product is in the cloud and is instantly usable when our customers sign on the dotted line. Our message outlines the benefits of being able to get up and running on our cloud application without infrastructure or IT teams. Inevitably during the sales cycle, I hear our reps say, “You are a financial institution (or whatever their industry might be), not a software company. Why try to be something you are not? You can leverage Provade’s applications and expertise at a fraction of the cost.”
This isn’t just a sales pitch to us. We truly believe in offering software as a service, or the cloud model. Not only do we leverage our own software for procuring a contingent workforce, we also have a host of partners that we lean on for their cloud applications or experience. We offer Single Sign-On to our application via Ping Identity Management, a cloud-based SSO provider. To avoid the large costs of rolling out MS Project or Visio to the company worldwide, we leverage cloud application providers: Gantter for projects and Lucidchart for diagramming. Our CRM and Sales teams leverage Salesforce.com. We shunned the brick and mortar aspects of our growing organization by leveraging the Alteva cloud for our telephone system. And quite possibly our most important partner is Datapipe. Their Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering is second to none. We get premium service, lighting fast hardware and a quintuple-redundant network to run our Oracle systems out of their world-class data centers.
So next time you are given “the pitch,” validate it by asking if your sales rep practices what they preach.
Interested in learning more about Provade’s VMS in the cloud? Contact us to learn how our SaaS model can benefit your organization.
By Domenic Mancini, Senior Product Manager
As the holiday season quickly approaches, U.S. retailers are beginning to hire seasonal employees in greater numbers than last year, according to a survey from Aon Hewitt and HireVue. While this is great news for our economy, these businesses are exposing themselves to additional risk by taking on an increased contingent workforce. To balance these risks, it is essential to put a process in place to not only manage hiring and compensation, but handle other key aspects of the arrangement.
Start Out on the Right Foot
When taking on contingent workers, the first step to success is upfront education not only for the new worker, but also for the employees who will be managing and working with them. Contingent workers are increasingly managed by employees with no formal management experience. The on-boarding process of contingent workers is typically managed by procurement, but it is critical to include an HR rep in any and all supervisory training or workload discussions to be sure the appropriate standards are being set from the start.
Companies must ensure that all Full-Time Employee (FTE) managers of contingent workers understand exactly what tasks the temporary worker is responsible for and who they will be working with. While a Vendor Management System (VMS) is commonly seen as a solution for handling hiring and compensation for the contingent workforce, the tool can go beyond that to manage other concerns such as misclassification and tenure tracking.
Stay Aware of Data Access
In a retail environment, a contingent worker will certainly be exposed to sensitive data like customer credit card information and inventory shrinkage systems through point-of-sale (POS) applications and other business software. It is essential to build an airtight process of approval for giving access to these tools and removing access when appropriate. Your contingent workforce management process should include a solution that fully tracks the access rights given to every contingent worker in your organization so that in the event of a security breach or theft, the necessary information is available for review.
Risk is not fully eliminated when a contingent worker’s assignment ends. When an end date is defined in a VMS, the worker’s logins can be automatically shut off on their last day, and access to POS applications, computers and other resources can be disabled. By automating this process, you can be sure that the contingent worker is fully removed from the system at the appropriate time, eliminating the risk of human error. Don’t forget about tangible assets like security cards and keys – be sure to build collection of these items into your off-boarding process.
A contingent workforce brings its own management challenges to a retail organization, but these risks can be greatly reduced with proper planning and a comprehensive on-boarding and off-boarding process. To learn more about how to leverage a VMS to support contingent workforce risk management efforts, download our informative white paper.