IT Consulting Firm vs.VMS Program

by James P. Gardner on March 4, 2013



What are the benefits of working with an IT consulting firm versus a VMS Program? VMS (Vendor Management System) Programs are (typically) web-based applications that act as a mechanism for businesses to manage and procure a wide array of staffing services. While their inception is nothing new, the widespread adoption of the VMS, specifically by large companies attempting to manage their staffing needs, has exploded. VMS programs bring certain cost benefits to the user, streamlining an otherwise messy and arduous process, and enable the organization to more effectively manage the entirety of the recruiting process.

However, VMS programs have achieved quite a strong disliking amongst staffing firms, especially those who pride themselves on their unique selling propositions. While the theory seems desirable, the end result usually is not, with the IT consulting firm ending up as just a commoditized version of its competitor. While there are indisputable benefits the VMS brings to an organization, there remain solid reasons to work directly with an IT consulting firm.

  1. Personalization. The goal of any VMS program is economic – get the most for the smallest possible cost. VMS programs and the individuals who procure staffing services seek to streamline human capital into neat, cost-effective and identical packages. The VMS de-personalizes the individual and turns him into a numbered skillset, devoid of uniqueness and creativity. When working directly with the consulting firm, the hiring manager has the opportunity to get to know the candidate personally, as well as the recruiters and sales staff supporting that candidate.
  2. Flexibility. The IT consulting firm differentiates itself based on its customer service and care philosophies, something the VMS is not programmed to do. The IT consulting firm can identify a situation and craft solutions that necessitate pricing concessions or free-trial periods. Building a relationship between the client and customer opens the dialogue for creativity, flexibility, and partnership that the VMS simply cannot deliver.
  3. Creativity. VMS programs are designed to match round pegs into round holes. The IT consulting firm, however, has the ability to work creatively with the hiring manager to craft niche solutions that are in line with the company’s long-term strategic goals. This type of out of the box thinking can lead to exciting solutions for the clients that are both cost effective and unique.
  4. Partnership. The true value of the IT consulting firm is lost within the inherent objective of the VMS program. While some candidate’s skills can be commoditized and spewed out to the hiring manager on demand, the VMS eliminates critical business to business collaborative relationships. There is no question that hiring managers are pleased to eliminate the tenacity and harassment of the overly-ambitious sales executive pestering for requirements, but the VMS also removes any opportunity for mutually beneficial partnerships.

The VMS program is a necessary tool for most large companies that require ongoing staff augmentation services. Unfortunately, if the VMS program is in place, it is there to stay and the IT consulting firm must learn to operate within its boundaries. However, the undisputable benefits of the personal relationship trump the VMS in many areas, and will continue to give the IT firm a decisive competitive advantage.

If you are interested in learning more about why an IT consulting firm can benefit your company, contact us.

By: Jim Gardner