Growing your business often necessitates the hiring of various vendors to meet different IT goals or complete projects for your operation. Managing vendors is time consuming, and as you set up your organization’s IT strategy, you should have a plan to do it efficiently.
Vendors should provide your business with innovative and creative solutions that your business can not provide in house. Because of this, working with vendors is much more than doling out assignments and receiving the completed work.
This can create an unmanageable workload for you and your staff and overwhelm your operation if there is no strategy in place. This is an area where the right IT consultants can provide incredible value to your business.
IT consultants should not only manage your vendors but also oversee a cohesive vendor strategy to improve your organization. Their vision meets the current demands of your business while identifying needs you may not yet be aware of.
With the right IT vendor management strategy in place, vendors creatively innovate and problem-solve for your business. Working with an IT consultant removes the burden of this process so that you can focus on your business and not vendor management.
When you’re ready to hire multiple vendors, be prepared to state your needs explicitly, with expectations, deliverables, length of contract, budget, and goals.
You will also want to understand the strengths and experience of each vendor and how they will fit into your operation. This will facilitate a smooth hiring process. Your IT consultant can help ensure you’re on the right track.
State your goals at the beginning of your relationship, and establish how the vendor will meet those goals. It is best if the vendor knows exactly what they are working towards and how they will benefit you. Establishing mutual expectations as soon as possible is critical to any successful business relationship.
Cost is always a consideration, and it can be more comfortable to work with someone you know or have a previous relationship with. However, the cheapest or most familiar option may not be the best fit for your business or your needs. It’s always worth it to explore new options.
Your IT consultant can help there, too. Not only can they help assess whether a previous vendor or a cost-effective vendor will be adequate, they can bring in new potential vendors with fresh ideas and effective methods.
Don’t forget, even though you’re doing the hiring, any relationship must be nourished both ways. The more you can understand what your vendor hopes to achieve through your agreement, the better you can facilitate each other’s success.
Clear and consistent communication is essential to the work of your business and your vendors.
Communications needs, goals, and expectations before the contracts begin and throughout the duration of the relationship set all parties on the right path towards success.
Your vendors should feel comfortable relaying updates, questions, and progress reports throughout their contract. With transparency in mind, these channels of knowledge keep your respective teams from drifting off scope.
Regular, focused check-ins will help your vendors stay on track and ensure they are on target to fulfill their obligations.
Though you may hire a vendor to avoid placing more of a burden on your in-house resources, vendors still require managing — usually more than you think. Handling the daily influx of tasks, especially as you add more and more vendors, can become unsustainably tedious and time consuming.
You’ll probably have to communicate in some way with most of your vendors every day. Your IT consultant should have the project management skills to take on this burden and allow you to focus on the bigger picture. They should have the acumen to serve as the medium between you and your vendors, keeping you updated on progress without tying you up in the minutiae of daily coordination and decision-making.
Above all, working with vendors is a relationship. A relationship of any kind requires work and time and effort.
A sound IT vendor management strategy focuses on this symbiotic relationship and keeping it healthy.
Your vendors may use different software solutions or reporting tools to do their job. IT Consultants have the ability to navigate these platforms efficiently and ensure the flow of information never stalls the project.
Working with multiple vendors could mean navigating multiple types of preferred software, management tools, and reporting systems. Stating consistent and shared systems will facilitate a cohesive strategy. All vendors need to be on the same page.
IT consultants not only serve as a medium between you and your vendors, but amongst the vendors as well. This allows your time to be devoted elsewhere while keeping everyone focused and working with the same goal in mind.
Fostering commitment in your IT vendor management strategy is also crucial to your success. All vendors should be devoted to their mutual success with one another and your business, and consultants facilitate this by rallying them together.
All vendors should be committed to the vision and what needs to happen. IT consultants advocate for the success of the greater process, helping achieve a result that all parties can be proud of.
Work with your IT consultant to schedule a post-assessment of vendors after a project’s completion. IT projects are long and complex. Gaining a holistic retrospective of the performance can help make it easier to work with the same vendors in the future, or give you direction on what to look for if you decide to opt for a different vendor.
For vendors you have an ongoing relationship with, schedule this assessment near the date of their contract renewal or expiration. Neglecting to do so can cost you.
- If you don’t review contracts that auto-renew, you can miss out on an opportunity to evaluate performance or explore other options.
- If you don’t anticipate the expiration of contracts that don’t auto-renew, you may face a lag in service or it may disrupt your billing.
Each vendor’s value must be regularly assessed to ensure they are serving their purpose and meeting their set expectations. You want to make sure your money is not being wasted.
Your IT consultant is vital to making sure vendors are aligned with the goals of the project, the business, and with each other. Everyone should be clear on how performance will be measured, and progress should be reviewed as part of your regularly scheduled check-ins.
It is ideal for vendors to go beyond the status quo for your business. Part of their worth is focused on what transformative innovation they can bring to your business. But you play a part in making them want to do exceptional work for you.
At Vudu, we are technology wizards who want to bring IT magic to your business and achieve supernatural results. Are you starting to accumulate more vendors than you can manage? Tell us more about your goals.