Managing IT Vendor Relationships
Vendor relationships can have the potential to go south in any business, but this can be particularly true with IT vendors. The world of information technology can be very confusing to those who aren’t educated in technical matters, so it can be easy for miscommunications to happen between businesses and technology vendors. These miscommunications are the main reason why relationships can turn sour between businesses and IT vendors. It’s up to the IT managers in a firm to do their best to keep vendor relationships going strong. If you’re worried about maintaining IT vendor relationships for your firm, here are some tips for avoiding common problems.
Research Vendors before Signing Contracts
The best way to avoid any interpersonal or technical conflicts between IT vendors and businesses is to thoroughly research the vendor before you enter into a contract. It’s very important to ask questions about the services and products the vendor will provide and get as many specifics as possible. Also take the time to verify the vendor’s claims about their products and check all their references to make sure that they have a proven track record of success.
Get Everything in Writing
Before you enter into a service contract with an IT vendor, get a promise of service in writing. You want a document that will spell out every aspect of their services with your company and let the IT department look over the document to check for accuracy and make sure the vendor can meet your technology needs. If your company doesn’t have an IT department, you can hire an IT specialist or IT project manager to look over your vendor contract.
Follow the Chain of Vendors
Many vendors buy hardware or software from other vendors. In order to avoid problems with your primary IT vendor, check into these secondary suppliers as well. You should also ask your primary vendor how they will deliver on their promises if the secondary vendors go out of business or otherwise end their relationship.
Start a Trial Run
You don’t have to jump into a new IT vendor relationship with both feet. It’s a good idea to test drive your vendor by using their products or services in one office or a small portion of your business to make sure that they can fill your needs. If the vendor relationship helps your business grow in a small scale, then you know you can roll out the change to the entire company. If the vendor can’t meet your needs, then you will protect your entire company from risk.