Dear Mulling Over,
You could go either way with this. All the major U.S. VMS providers now operate in the European marketplace and their software has been developed over the past few years to be able to meet multiple local language and legislative requirements. Most, if not all, have clients in the U.K. market, but their experience in continental Europe is patchier and, of course, there are more complex issues to deal with in markets like France, Belgium, Italy and Spain.
So, if it is a Europe-wide implementation that you are planning, check that the experience of the vendors in your shortlist covers the markets you need to cover. It is important that you verify that they have a local presence to support you. Just because the software is configured in Dutch, if technical support is 2,000 miles away, your Dutch operations might have trouble buying in to the solution.
But there are also good local VMS solutions to consider in the key European markets as well and, again, the right solution will vary depending on which markets you are looking to include. The bottom line is -- if you are happy with your VMS supplier in the United States, there’s no reason to automatically discount it and go for a European alternative. Just be rigorous in your planning and selection and make sure to include representatives from your overseas operations in the selection process.
Companies that have been through this warn that all due diligence should be done upfront. Recently, one company ran into issues when implementing a VMS in Brazil. In this case, the VMS provider’s tool was not available in Portuguese, but many of the customer’s suppliers only spoke Portuguese. Even if Portuguese was supported, all the customizations, such as job descriptions, are still only in English. This made that VMS an ineffective tool in that region. Language barriers apart, it would have been great if the company had known this up-front.
So make sure you involve representatives from local regional offices in this endeavour. Education on the advantages of the VMS can help with local hiring managers’ attitudes and adoption. After all, you want your hiring managers worldwide to use the tool, not resent it.