Are Your Vendors Helping or Hindering Your Strategic Goals?
Choosing the right vendor is one of the most important (and sometimes underrated) decisions a firm makes. A good vendor partnership can last decades. A bad one can be costly, swift and time consuming all at once. It is therefore essential to find a vendor that not only meets your firms’ technology needs now but is also capable of meeting them in the future.
What are your firm’s strategic goals? What role and impact does a vendor have on your long-term goals? Do you see a given vendor as a strategic asset or a liability? Those are big but important questions to answer as there are plenty of ways in which a vendor can help or hinder your strategic goals.
Below are a few cases to keep in mind when assessing vendor suitability:
- Connectivity & API Support for Third-party Products – Does the platform allow connectivity to 3rd party products? Does the contract allow for it? Make sure to check what you are signing up for before putting all your eggs in one basket.
- Mergers and Acquisitions – Is the vendor an imminent takeover target by a bigger firm? Are they looking to spin-off a part of their operations? How will that effect your current contracts and service levels? These are important questions to answer as M&A deals can throw a major spanner to terms and support services outlined in a contract.
- Ongoing Support – How do you rate your current vendor on support services? Are you happy with the quality being offered? While a lot of things can be quickly renegotiated or dealt with, quality takes time to fix and it requires a cultural change in the vendor set-up.
- Flexibility – Business environment can change quickly. What works today might not work tomorrow and therefore businesses need to continue to adapt to stay relevant. Question, is your vendor willing to adapt as well? Are they fair and flexible in your dealings? Make sure your terms are flexible where you need them.
Without keeping your firm’s strategic goals and direction in mind when negotiating your core technology contract, you can turn the terms into hinderances instead of positioning your vendor as a trusted long-term partner.