Category Archives: Implementation

Vendor Management System Implementation: The Back-Office Perspective

By: Michael J. Franklin, PhD, Director of IS

In every vendor management system implementation, lots of time and effort is devoted to gathering required data relating to contingent workers, job descriptions and staffing suppliers. Everything must be input to the contingent workforce management tool for day one usage. As critical as this is, there is another vendor management system exercise just as important to successful VMS launch: ensuring everyone gets paid… not just the workforce but the suppliers as well. The VMS or MSP service provider must establish the right protocols to pay all suppliers, consolidate worker hours and convert that data into an acceptable customer invoice format.

Quickest Ways to Derail Successful Vendor Management System Invoicing
In any complex project, the key to success is careful planning. A vendor management system implementation is no different. Understand all the variables and how they can potentially interact. Ask the right questions and get answers before moving forward with VMS invoicing implementation. For instance, does the customer process invoices in-house or utilize a third party? If they outsource invoicing, then be sure to involve any third-party processors from the beginning to avoid errors in data formatting, eliminate the possibility of missed data and save time in development and testing. The same caution applies with an in-house invoicing process. Include the customer’s subject matter experts (SME) from both finance and information systems in any invoicing discussions. Finance SMEs understand what data is necessary on the invoice and how the invoice has to be sliced, e.g., by business unit, by cost code, etc. The tech reps understand how to get the data into their systems. They may also be able to simplify the invoice format so that custom invoice development time and testing can be greatly decreased.

Best Practices in Vendor Management System Invoicing Implementation
The most important points to consider when developing a VMS customer invoice are:

  • Get the right SMEs in the room when discussing the invoice process
  • Construct the invoice in the simplest possible format
  • If GL data is a critical element of the invoice, get a weekly GL data set from the customer to validate all GL codes
  • Understand data formatting requirements, whether for one or multiple finance systems
  • Identify all tax requirements and how they need to be handled, both in the VMS tool and on the invoice
  • Gain consensus on the invoice delivery schedule and method

The sooner invoice requirements are understood, the smoother and quicker the vendor management system implementation will be. Have we missed anything? What’s your experience?

For MSP Clients Who Want to Fast-Track VMS Implementation

By Mary Beth Vansen, Vice President of Implementation & Operations

VMS tool selection may give the brain a workout, but VMS implementation is where the heavy lifting takes place. So what is the answer to the very first question every client asks their MSP partner: “How quickly can we launch?” Here are our top recommendations.

Accelerate data gathering.
In VMS implementation, it is absolutely critical to establish a solid foundation and a strong framework to accommodate current practice and anticipate future needs. This is where you gather and input contingent workforce data and establish VMS process protocols. Anything missed in this phase becomes a drag on future process efficiency. Start by answering the following questions:

  • Who hires contract labor? (It’s not just those who currently have a contract worker but everyone who may need a contract worker in the future.)
  • Who is authorized to approve contract labor requisitions? (Again, think about present practice and future needs.)
  • Who are the contract workers?
  • What are their job titles?
  • What are their job responsibilities?
  • What are their pay rates?
  • Where do they report? (supervisor, department, business unit, geographic location, etc.)
  • Who supplied them to you?

Assemble the right resources to gather data.
Your MSP partner can help you plan your VMS implementation, but finding the data requires internal resources. To shorten and ease VMS implementation:

  • Onboard dedicated resources. (While in reality, many people working on VMS implementation also have a “day job,” the less focus given to pre-launch activities, the longer it will take to launch.)
  • Identify SMEs. What departments will have a stake in the outcome? Who can help you find where data resides? Think HRIS, Accounts Payable (invoice registers), Payroll, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP).
  • Put together a team of stakeholders to find all the client user, supplier and contingent worker data needed to populate your VMS.

Never shortcut data gathering to shortcut VMS implementation.
An “out of the box” VMS is similar to online transaction forms that repeatedly reject your submission if you skip a line or enter data in the wrong format. If you do not fill in all the blanks with correct data in the precise format required from the start, the system will never deliver its promised value. It will work, but it will struggle to live up to its potential. Your VMS program will encounter unnecessary obstacles; process efficiency and speed will be compromised; potential users will miss out on pre-launch training; change management will be especially difficult; user experience will suffer; program champions will disappear. Help your MSP partner help you. Set up your VMS for success by gathering the right data and planning for future needs before you launch. That is the secret to fast-tracking VMS implementation.

What is your experience? Do you have other advice to offer those ready to embark on VMS implementation? Please share it with us.