Over the past year and a half I have worked in the Vendor Management System (VMS) industry. I have heard many people who are new to the technology confuse it with many different names, including applicant tracking system, contingency workforce software, human resource information software, and others. I believe this confusion stems from the name of the technology and the lack of information provided to the vendors in this industry. This technology is essentially just an enterprise procurement tool that streamlines organizations recruiting processes and lowers cost when acquiring contract workforce.
Understanding the role (or explaining) the VMS technology has become increasingly more difficult as VMS organizations push to build a single source solution that encompass many recruiting, HR, and procurement functions all in one application. Many companies are expanding on the technology to incorporate more functions and modules to provide more value to their clients.
In the end a VMS solution should consist of several components, including requisition management, time and expense, consolidated invoicing and reporting. Once we start adding in applicant tracking and other modules to the software we end up with confusion of the role of this technology not just from perspective buyers but vendors as well.
To this day the best explanation that I have heard of a VMS is - a Web-based applicationthat creates a private marketplace for a company and its chosen staffing suppliers to procure contract resources. This is something that not only people in the industry can understand but friends of mine who often asked me what I do for a living then stare at me with a blank look on their faces while I explain.