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Smashing One's Thumb Hurts Just as Bad With an Expensive Hammer

Aug 12, 2014 11:30:00 AM

Making the decision about whether to engage a third party solution for workforce management is a fraught one. However, once it has been established that an organization needs some kind of solution to achieve improved visibility, process efficiency, and financial control over its workforce planning and administration, the question then becomes: Which is better: a software or service solution? With the ease of use and low cost to entry offered by enterprise software, the decision would seem to be an easy one. But before reaching that conclusion, it is prudent to examine the realities of a software-only approach to workforce management and separate the fact from the fiction.

Bear with me for a minute. I have an amazing telescope I purchased to explore the cosmos with my nine-year old son. But I quickly learned that space is vast and complicated, and while there are countless things to theoretically train my scope upon, I was virtually useless with it because despite having taken astronomy in high school decades ago, I lacked the deeper astronomical expertise needed to properly utilize my expensive star gazing tool. Ultimately, I had to tap into the expertise of a science teacher from my local high school who studied astronomy in depth before he became a teacher. Under his skilled guidance, we were able to focus the scope on closer celestial bodies like Saturn and Jupiter with their respective moons, as well as objects much farther like the Andromeda Galaxy and the Crab Nebula. After some time and instruction with the teacher, I can now teach my son with the telescope all on my own!

What does this mean with respect to engaging a VMS tool to improve your organizations workforce management initiatives? The correlation is similar to talking about workforce management. Many practitioners may know enough about contingent workforce management strategies to realize that there are improvements and savings through an outside solution and may look at technology as the answer. But the VMS tool alone is not a solution that yields an optimized workforce simply by virtue of automation. In reality, if the underlying business processes that exist pre-VMS are broken, automating them isn’t going to make them any less broken. 

There are of course those organizations that have a best-in-class workforce management program already in place, and wish to automate their well-honed, best-practice-driven program. But those organizations are truly few and far between. For most, there may be plenty of excellent knowledge and experience within the enterprise, but simply applying a technology to the mix is not going to help standardize, codify, and enforce processes across the organization. 

This is why for many organizations, it is recommended that a third party workforce management solution involve both a tech tool like VMS as well as the expert guidance and experience that comes from a best in class MSP provider. Even if the MSP is only engaged for a year from implementation through the next 10 months or so of steady-state operation, the benefits of having the right people cannot be overstated. This is where NextSource comes in - we offer workforce management solutions through VMS and can help reach company initiatives.

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