In the IT/tech industry, or any other industry for that matter, it’s easy to search for the trends and successes that are catapulting companies to success. However, it’s a good idea to look at what isn’t working. That’s why InformationWeek included a question about the mistakes 100 IT leaders made in an extensive survey.
More specifically, the survey questioned the IT experts about the mistakes they made when it came to working with vendors. Following are several of their most commonly cited vendor mishaps. Maybe they will help you determine where some of your vendor relationships aren’t measuring up.
Not truly understanding vendor charges. From the start, it’s important to make sure that you’re on the same page when outlining specifications for a project. As one respondent of the InformationWeek survey noted, “We underestimated the complexity and required budget of [the] project while working with [the vendor] and an implementation partner.” It’s important to clearly outline the expectations for your project, and make sure that the vendor’s understanding of it is in alignment with yours. Tips? Make sure you get everything in writing, and appoint a person from your team to ensure that the communication is consistent.
Letting SLAs to lapse. Another issue cited by the respondents is allowing performance-based service-level agreements (SLAs) to lapse. According to one company representative, the agreement was expanded to add key metrics, SLAs, and other industry benchmarks. However, it wasn’t until a year later that they realized the vendors weren't measuring up to the performance standards set in the SLAs. As a result, the respondent realized the need to take measure to hold vendors accountable for performance.
Failing to review service contracts. New product deployments, of course, require vendor service. However, it can be easy to forgo reviewing the service contracts before they renew. According to one survey respondent, “a large portion of an IT budget is comprised of service contracts, and frequently there are many legacy agreements that can be renegotiated and re-evaluated to lower spend." The respondent noted that taking the time to review those contracts could have resulted in cost efficiencies and fewer redundancies.
Failing to implement a vendor management strategy. Without vendor management, you are running the risk of losing out on cost savings. That was the case for a quickly growing company that realized too late that it was inadequate in negotiating rates with vendors, which could have led to savings opportunities. The company rectified that by setting up a dedicated vendor management team that focused on aggressively negotiating better rates with vendors.
These are just a few areas that you can identify to improve vendor relationships, steps that could significantly boost efficiency and cost savings.