Have you ever noticed how one project can become a dozen?
You have a simple objective — like installing a new phone line in your office. You need to coordinate with your ISP cable company to make sure your business has enough bandwidth to function. You need to work with your IT consultant or department to ensure the new system works with existing ones. You need to manage the vendor coming in to physically install the phone line and check to make sure it’s up to snuff.
More complicated projects have that many more cooks in the kitchen.
The nitty gritty of managing your IT vendors is best left to your IT consultant, so you can stay focused on the bigger picture.
The process of hiring an IT vendor is the same as any other.
You’ll need to source vendors based on reputation and solicit them for quotes. Then, both parties will negotiate the process, which tends to drag out the process. Prolonged negotiations can significantly impact your project timeline.
Once the agreement is signed, you’ll need to onboard them with your business. This includes paperwork like payment info, tax forms, and licenses, but also the work of familiarizing your vendor with your business.
As the agreement progresses, you’ll keep track of your vendor’s performance in the form of specific outcomes, costs, and responsiveness.
Last but not least, as the agreement comes to an end, you’ll want a retrospective on whether the agreement was fulfilled to the agreed-upon scope.
Though the process is the same as a normal supply chain vendor, IT is its own realm. Servers, ISPs, SaaS integrations, CRMs, and ERPs may go over your head. However, your digital infrastructure is paramount to your business’s success. You may not have the vocabulary or expertise to vet or instruct vendors along the path to project completion.
Your IT consultant brings the knowledge and the network to make the entire vendor management process smoother.
Over the course of their career, your IT consultant probably has relationships with reliable vendors, and that familiarity can help make the negotiation process more efficient. The rapport they have with these vendors can ensure transparency around your project.
If your IT project requires numerous vendors, which it likely will, your IT consultant can serve as the single source of truth to ensure your vendors’ wires don’t get crossed.
Of course, these benefits assume that you trust your IT consultant to find the vendor who’s best for your business, rather than vendors who give your IT consultant referrals and kickbacks of their own.
Even if you don’t speak the IT lingo and your IT consultant is managing your vendors, you can still play a valuable role in the success of your project.
Overshare About Your Objectives
The more your vendor knows about the outcome you hope to achieve and how this outcome will improve your business, the more they can work to fulfill your expectations and help meet your broader goal. They may have additional ideas or suggestions that can meet your goal faster, or surpass it altogether.
Field Their Input on Business Strategy
Any good vendor should want to know how your business operates and achieves success. They should start work with a good understanding of how their help will fit into the overall business strategy. Don’t just tell them what you want them to do, but why you want them to do it. Because they live every day in the IT realm, they may point you toward other solutions or approaches.
Understand Their Business
Communication is a two-way street. What is a job well done if not two extremely satisfied parties? Work to understand how your vendor’s business operates. This will give you insight into how you can help them help you achieve your objectives.
Search for Long Term Partners
Vendors who just want to show up, do what they’re asked, get paid, and move on to the next might get the job done, but they aren’t the best solution. Firstly, it’s more costly and time-consuming to onboard a new vendor every time you start a new project. Secondly, they won’t have to figure out what the previous vendor did on your last project. Thirdly, vendors interested in a long-term relationship simply tend to do better work. They think beyond the hard deliverables of the project and consider strategy and training or acclimating your team to whatever work they’ve done.
Hire vendors who care about your business’s success, and be a business that cares about their success.
Your IT infrastructure comprises multiple pieces of complicated technology that must work together seamlessly for your business to operate reliably.
When your IT ecosystem isn’t functioning in harmony, the costs can be tremendous.
High compliance industries face hefty fines for violations. Beyond the penalties, a lapse in infrastructure can inflict reputational damage on your business and in cases like the pharmaceutical industry, actually compromise the well-being of your end customers.
Cybersecurity threats grow by the day. Ransomware attacks are expected to cost businesses a total of $6 trillion in 2021, and an average of 18 million websites are infected with malware at any given time.
Losing your data can put you out of business. Between 40% and 60% of small businesses don’t reopen after a data loss. Data loss is usually self-inflicted. 85% of data loss is caused by human error and insufficient hardware.
Sourcing IT vendors to alleviate a single pain point isn’t efficient for your business, nor is it optimal for your holistic IT infrastructure. Your vendors should all work to support a greater IT strategy orchestrated and overseen by your IT consultant, especially if your business relies on your IT consultant as a vCIO or vCTO, providing the IT voice at the leadership table.
Your business depends on its IT. Outsourcing vendor management to an IT consultant can help you cut through the noise and achieve the results you need.
Though many IT vendors claim to offer vCIO or vCTO capabilities, they simply don’t have the business acumen to marry your IT strategy up to your greater business strategy.
At Vudu, we’re business people first. When you work with us, you don’t just get one CTO—you get five. Our number one priority as your IT consultant is giving your business exactly what it needs, and seeing those agreements and projects through to completion.
At Vudu, we are technology wizards who want to bring IT magic to your business and achieve supernatural results. Are you looking for a way to bring all of your vendors into harmony? Tell us more about your goals.