If we’ve seen this once, we’ve seen it a thousand times. HR realizes the inordinate value (in terms of cost savings, risk mitigation, compliance, and reporting) of implementing a vendor management system (VMS) platform to automate the processes involved in contingent workforce management. No one else thinks it is important and the request to implement is denied. How can you change their minds?
As an HR pro, you know to your core that the visibility, accountability, process standardization, collaboration, and everything that comes with a VMS solution can transform an HR practice from reactive to proactive; from tactical to strategic. However, getting such implementation approved requires the buy-in of non-HR professionals – finance officers, internal IT leadership, corner office executives – who may not share your enthusiasm for such a project. Their goals don’t include making your job easier. They will move beyond skepticism if you can prove the benefit of your VMS project to the greater organization. So how do you accomplish that? You make a compelling business case, that’s how. So, what is a compelling business case and how do you make one?
First, let’s discuss what a business case is not. It is not, as this excellent article at TechRepublic jokes, “a thick tedious manuscript, written by professional consultants in an incomprehensible language… printed on high-quality paper stock and placed onto the top shelf of an executive's office to be used as a breeding ground for dust bunnies.” Read the whole article for a fantastic primer on the what, why, and how of making a business case. But here’s a condensed version of the framework they recommend for an effective business case:
- Executive Summary
- Objective including Current State vs. Future State
- Project Alternatives
- Preferred Alternatives
- Implementation Plan
- Appendices including supporting info, cost/benefit analysis, reference materials, calculations etc.
Ben Walker, a VP at contingent workforce strategy consultancy, Brightfield Strategies, is an renowned VMS subject matter expert and veteran business case writer. He makes a compelling argument in favor of the business case for VMS in a piece titled, “Creating a Business Case that Reveals your Smarts, Ensures Success” which is cross posted to StaffingIndustry.com as well. Also, very much worth a quick read, Walker stresses seeking the proper balance between brevity and detail. His suggested framework is thusly condensed:
- Current State
- External Examples
- Looking at Quality, Effiency, Cost and Risk
- Posing Question to Which you Don’t Have an Answer
Making your case to stakeholders outside the walls of contingent workforce management/HR is essential to success when seeking to gain approval for a VMS solution. Buckle down on business case creation and ensure your ability to drive your organization’s success via a powerful software tool to solidify your workforce management.