Mobility and the VMS Experience

Most of us have experienced dramatic changes in our work life as technology has evolved from using a stationary desktop PC at the company office, to a laptop, to a mobile device. We are thrilled to sit in our home office in our pajamas, dialed into a droning conference call while multi-tasking on email and other projects, free from the drudgery of a time-sucking commute to the office. Today, working from home has evolved from a day here and there to a growing number of us working full-time from our home office

What’s more is that work seems to be always “on.” Use of mobile devices has crept from a convenient addition to our personal life into a fully pervasive tool in our work life. The basics such as email, calendar and contact management have been in place for a long time, since the advent of smartphones like the original Blackberry. But now we have alerts, apps, Tweets, banking, camera, GPS and so much more in the palm of our hand.

So how will these changes in how we work affect the VMS landscape? Substantially, and in almost every facet.

First, the basics — requisition approval, time sheet approval, change order approval … ok, ok … all of the important things that need approval. This is fairly obvious, but we should see rapid acceleration of the bureaucratic process to engage resources and settle with vendors. These tasks were previously done only from a corporate desktop or laptop, but are now fully enabled, end-to-end, on a mobile device for users on the go.

Turning up the gas a little, content will be pushed to our mobile devices to provide alerts and analytics. This should drive intelligent insight to action. For example, a tenure alert can be sent to a manager to ensure that a unique resource does not have their network and IT access de-provisioned because they have exceeded a standard company tenure policy with just two more weeks left in a year-long project. A quick push of a button with a written justification — just a few minutes of time — can save the hours or days it would take to get the IT privileges back after corporate IT turned it off!

Finally, mobile VMS will take us into the most exciting arena: social. Crowdsourcing will become an effective tool that can be leveraged throughout the end-to-end process, from fulfillment to management. Location-based capability for collaboration will also grow. Think about Skout, Foursquare and Pinterest: these sites all leverage location-based logic and crowdsourced content in a way that can be easily transferred to VMS.

As usual, the consumer software market is leading the enterprise market. While these concepts sound quite thrilling for VMS, they are also long overdue.

Edward "EJ" Jackson
Edward “EJ” Jackson is president of Provade, which delivers an enterprise-class vendor management system for global workforce spend management.

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