Achieving Success: A Bright Partnership with a Renowned Higher Education Institution 


  • 90% Program Adoption at Go-Live
  • Spend under management increased from $5 million to $66 million within a 4 year timeframe
  • $11+ million in accumulated cost savings, which represents 7.5% of total program revenue
Rear View of Young Office Workers in Casual Outfits Listening to a Top Manager Explaining Something Using Illustrations.

What DZX Brought To The Table

  • Vendor-Neutral Managed Services Program
  • Strategic Roadmap for Solution Expansion
  • Optimized Supply Base and Continued Cost Savings

Strategic Achievements

  • Successful Implementation across Multiple Schools in a Structured, Tailored, and Phased Approach
  • Optimized supply base by 80%, reducing the number of suppliers from 250 down to 50, while maintaining 70% diversity spend across the entire program


The Dilemma

For more than 50 years, the university’s contingent labor program was fully decentralized with visibility to over thousands of contingent workers and over $100 million in spend.

Operating in this fashion led to a myriad of challenges, including:

• Challenges with cost controls and strategic sourcing across corporate HR and Procurement functions
• Inconsistent contract language and mark-up rates
• Increased administration and resource cost across the university for managing contracts, supplier performance, and invoicing
• Missed opportunities for driving supplier competition, candidate quality, and service levels
• Increased compliance risk with onboarding and offboarding procedures being decentralized

As one of the world’s most prestigious higher education institutions, the university was looking to keep pace with its standard of excellence by doing a complete overhaul of its contingent labor model.

In order for this to be successful, the university needed to identify the right partner who would take the time to understand their needs. They would also need to have the capability to deliver a comprehensive total talent solution and to create a strategic 5+ year solution roadmap for how to expand the program while working at their speed.


The Strategy

Based on the client’s needs, DZConneX (DZX) proposed and implemented a vendor-neutral Managed Service Provider (MSP) model powered by an industry leading VMS technology.

The Benefits of a Vendor-Neutral MSP Program

A Vendor-Neutral MSP is when the MSP partners with an agreed list of talent suppliers, which are all given a fair opportunity to service.

Historically, each university manager would choose which supplier they wanted to work with. This limited visibility and competition to qualified candidates which drove up the cost to the university while driving down candidate flow and supplier engagement. After years of inconsistent service delivery models, the university was ready for an upgrade to a fully-visible vendor model that would drive the best end user value for both hiring managers, suppliers, and the institution as a whole.

This model and partnership would support all elements of solution design, change management, and innovation, including:

• Thorough discovery into all existing teams, systems, and workflows across 13 institutions and central administration functions (HR, Procurement, Finance, and IT)
• VMS system configuration, testing, and training for hundreds of end users
• Reduced number of suppliers from 200+ to 50 and moved them onto one streamlined contract with a standard rate card
• Developed full integrations from HRMS and ERP systems into the VMS system to automate requisition approvals and consolidated invoicing payment
• Comprehensive reporting on spend, headcount, compliance, and supplier performance metrics
• Fully dedicated project management and program management teams who partner closely together, and with the client, to ensure the solution transitions seamlessly from implementation to service delivery.

One of the major reasons why DZX was selected is because of our flexible and methodical implementation process. The industry standard for MSP implementations range anywhere between 8 and 20 weeks – and this simply would not work given the culture and change efforts needed. The phased approach not only allowed for iterations and continuous improvements, it helped build stronger relationships across the various stakeholder groups which helped increase the level of trust and investment in the success of the roll-out.

DZConneX & the University – A Bright Partnership

In order for there to be long-term success, it was essential for DZX and the university to have a strong partnership throughout the program which still continues today. In order to be aware of everything going on within a program this large, communication has to be key. First, executive stakeholder meetings between the university’s HR department and the key executive decision makers to communicate and gain buy-in on the vision, implementation, and program results was crucial. A series of meetings were developed including a weekly implementation meeting with the core university delivery team, including HR, Procurement, Finance and IT, along with the MSP & VMS partners. Here they gathered and shared information on the configuration and the progress of their change management efforts. In addition, weekly stakeholder meetings with the university’s HR department and the MSP program leadership team were held to discuss challenges, successes, and to keep aligned on key program initiatives. Quarterly meetings were also to be established, including Business Reviews (QBRs) to review program spend, supplier performance, upcoming initiatives, diversity, Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and metrics such as headcount and requisition activity. Quarterly Supplier Meetings would also be created in order to gather feedback, drive engagement and provide regular program updates.

Not only were weekly, monthly and quarterly meetings put on the calendar, there were additional feedback loops that DZX and the client established to ensure that communication would continue to flow between meetings. A formal email communication workbook was established regarding program updates for various parts of the organization to ensure that everyone was properly updated on key implementation milestones and timelines. Formal training collateral was also created for suppliers, hiring managers and contingent workers to educate everyone on the process workflows and, additionally, live training sessions were offered to communicate the vision, value and process updates. A formal MSP program guide was built which included regular updates and to capture the roles and responsibilities for how to perform all operational activities, both for the VMS and MSP.

To ensure strategic alignment for a successful program expansion, DZX and the client created a 5-year program roadmap to help provide an agile framework for how the program would develop and grow over the years.

The 5-Year Roadmap

- Year 1:

  • A 3-year agreement was negotiated and signed
  • Implementation kicked off with discovery and custom configuration of the VMS
  • Supplier optimization and contracting established to bring select suppliers under the MSP program
  • Role specific training and reference materials created for hiring managers, suppliers, and contingent workers
  • 5-year strategic roadmap designed and agreed upon

- Year 2:

  • The MSP go-live took place with live trainings for all end users and hyper care phase to ensure seamless transition from implementation to delivery
  • Roadshows and phased roll-out to various schools commenced
  • Rogue Spend controls established with Procurement team to identify contingent staffing that was misaligned under SOW

- Year 3:

  • Significant increase in overall program spend including a 100% increase in Diversity spend
  • Program SLA’s benchmarked and amended into contract
  • COVID-19 contingent worker tracking/testing protocols established
  • Nearly $200K in COVID-19 cost savings initiatives realized

- Year 4:

  • All university schools fully implemented into the MSP Program
  • IC Vetting & Management expansion agreement signed
  • COVID Vaccination / Return to Campus process established
  • Direct Hire expansion agreement executed
  • Volume rebates added to drive additional cost savings to scale with growth of program

- Year 5:

  • 3-year contract extension fully executed
  • IC Vetting & Management implementation kicked-off
  • Automation of sales tax configured in VMS
  • Additional payroll supplier added to further cost savings and risk mitigation efforts
  • Global Payrolling and RPO solutions identified as “next-up” expansion opportunities

The Impact

The business impact of this vendor-neutral implementation has been touted as one of the most impactful organization-wide change initiatives implemented in recent history at the university. Also the leader of the HR team was named Staffing Industry Analyst SIA Game Changer for her role in leading this effort. The program adoption – growing from $5 million to $66 million and financial benefits of 11+ million in cost savings within a 4-year timeframe speak for themselves. Of the $66 million in annual spend, 70% of this spend has been generated through diverse suppliers – which is a testament to the shared core value of diversity within the university and DZX.

Sometimes overlooked, one of the most impressive accomplishments of the program was that it served as a catalyst for a decentralized organization that had been working autonomously for decades to come together around the shared goal of centralizing its contingent labor program for the greater good of the university. The program is now fully adopted across all schools with stakeholder involvement and alignment across almost every relevant central administrative university support function.

This alignment has enabled the ongoing development and expansion of the program from Contingent Workers, Direct Hire, Independent Contractor Vetting & Compliance and Offshore IT SOW services. Additionally, there is active dialogue happening about layering in additional service lines including Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), Global Payrolling, and SOW.

The successful partnership and program success can be attributed to the shared organization values and true grit and dedication on behalf of both teams in working to achieve a common goal. This shared success was memorialized with a 3-year contract renewal earlier this year. As the partnership between DZX and the university only continues to grow, the future looks bright for how we can set the standard for total talent programs within the higher education industry and we look forward to the bright future ahead. 


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