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The VMS has graduated! It’s now an External Workforce Management System

Jill Bassett discusses the evolution of vendor management systems into comprehensive external workforce management solutions.

Content Insights

Vendor Management Systems (VMS) have evolved into External Workforce Management Systems (EWMS), offering comprehensive workforce management.
EWMS are now utilised by HR, talent acquisition, CIOs, CFOs, CHROs, and finance directors, beyond just procurement departments.
EWMS integrate with HR platforms to manage the entire workforce lifecycle, improving efficiency and strategic planning.

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In a recent discussion, Jill Bassett, a seasoned expert with 27 years in the recruitment industry, shared her insights on the evolution of Vendor Management Systems (VMS), and their future. Her extensive experience spans from traditional recruitment to advanced workforce management solutions, making her a valuable voice in this conversation.

Jill started by reflecting on her career, which includes significant roles at ManpowerGroup and Recruit, a Japanese organisation. Currently, she serves as a solutions advisor, focusing on workforce management technology. Her journey from traditional recruitment to solutions-orientated roles highlights the industry’s shift towards more integrated and client-focused approaches.

The changing landscape of VMS

Jill explained that the term ‘Vendor Management System’ is becoming outdated. “The term VMS, which we have all known for 20+ years, has actually evolved into something that has much more capability than just managing vendors,” she explained. Historically, VMS was designed to manage vendors within Managed Service Programs (MSP) and Program Management Offices (PMO). However, the scope of these systems has expanded significantly. Today, they are better described as External Workforce Management Systems (EWMS) due to their broader capabilities.

From vendor management to workforce management

The traditional VMS was primarily used by procurement and purchasing departments to manage suppliers. Now, the user base has expanded to include HR, talent acquisition, CIOs, CFOs, CHROs, and finance directors. Jill noted, “We’re now dealing with a much wider job profile and persona within each customer, so we’re dealing more with HRM with talent acquisition, with CIOs, with CFOs, still with CHROs, and with finance directors as well.”

Comprehensive workforce solutions

Modern EWMS now cover the entire workforce management process, from hiring to retirement. They integrate seamlessly with the other HR solutions like SAP’s SuccessFactors, which manages permanent workforce processes such as onboarding, offboarding, upskilling, and reskilling. This integration provides organisations with a unified view of their internal and external workforce, enhancing efficiency and strategic planning. Jill highlighted, “it actually looks at the whole process from end to end, hire to retire if you like, same as we do with all HR solutions.”

The future of workforce management

Jill highlighted the importance of adapting to regulatory changes and the need for organisations to have a clear understanding of their workforce. This spans the most basic requirements: knowing who is entering their buildings, managing equipment, and ensuring compliance with appropriate regulations to the more strategic: workforce planning and improving productivity and retention. The evolution of VMS into EWMS is a response to these growing needs, offering more robust and versatile solutions for workforce management. The conversation underscored the significant transformation in workforce management technology. As the industry continues to evolve, the shift from Vendor Management Systems to External Workforce Management Systems represents a broader, more integrated approach to managing both internal and external workers. This evolution is crucial for organisations aiming to stay ahead in a dynamic and complex workforce landscape.


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