With technology taking over most office operations these days, companies have multiple IT vendors to manage. And if one isn’t giving you the service you need, that can mean delays that negatively impact your business and customer service.
IT vendors go beyond just your IT service company, and include:
- Phone systems vendor
- Computer equipment vendor
- Peripherals vendors (scanners, copiers, faxes/printers)
- Managed services provider
- IT project consultants (eg. Website management)
- Line of business application vendors
Keeping all those separate relationships healthy and benefitting your company can be a challenge, especially when you’re trying to focus on running your business. That’s why many of our clients at Technology Visionaries take advantage of our vendor management services.
We provide a single point of contact for all IT vendors, taking the burden off your organization. We help maximize vendor responsiveness and reduce downtime by strengthening those relationships and keeping in continual contact with each one.
How do you get the most out of IT vendor relationships? We’ve got our top 7 tips for you! These could also be applied to other non-IT relationships as well to keep things running smoothly in multiple areas of your organization.
Build Strong IT Vendor Relationships with These 7 Tips
If you don’t nurture vendor relationships, then your own business suffers. While, you could choose to do all you can in-house, there are real cost savings and other benefits that make using outside vendors and consultants the best way to go for many companies.
59% of businesses say outsourcing helps them save money.
According to CustomerThink, the key reasons companies outsource certain parts of their operations to outside vendors are:
- Cost cutting tool
- Enables focus on core business
- Solves capacity issues
- Enhances service quality
- Critical to business needs
- Access to intellectual capital
- Manages business environment
- Drives broader transformational change
Many businesses find they cut costs while also expanding their IT capabilities after working with Technology Visionaries for outsourced IT management. They’re able to reap the benefits of our years of experience and multi-industry expertise.
Companies choose to outsource some vendor relationships for the above reasons, while some can’t be done in-house at all, like the relationship with your internet service provider or cloud-based website host.
So, how do you make the most out of those relationships? Here are our top tips.
- Take Time to Choose Wisely
You want to get off on the right foot with a vendor by taking the proper time to choose the best one for your company, instead of just picking the first one that comes up in a Google search.
Look at their reviews and what customers have to say about working with them, ask about contract terms, and call their customer support (not just the new sales line) to see how responsive they are.
- Build Long-Term Relationships
If you’re only contacting an IT vendor when something goes wrong, that’s not building up much of a relationship. Vendors will feel more connected to you and your company if you work to build up a long-term relationship with them. Share your company needs, not just the immediate ones but your long-term goals too, and form a relationship that’s mutually beneficial to both businesses.
- Be Clear about Your Priorities
If you give a vague direction, such as, “I’d like a copier/printer that prints in color,” it doesn’t give your vendor much to go on, and many ways to bring you a device you’re not happy with.
Instead, make sure you’d very clear about your needs and priorities, such as, “I’d like a copier/printer that can perform duplexing and that can be accessed wirelessly. Our goal is to print about 100 marketing brochures on it each week, so it needs to be able to handle that.” That type of clarity will help your vendor bring you exactly what you’re looking for.
- Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Do you have someone on your team that tends to make unreasonable demands of vendors? Giving them timeframes that are impossible to meet or calling them at all hours of the day instead of waiting for a weekly meeting?
While vendors are there to provide you with a service and doing their best to please you, they’re also human beings. Trying to see things from their perspective helps build a relationship of mutual trust and respect.
- Incorporate Vendor Friendly IT
Just like customer relationship management (CRM) programs make the process of handling customers easier and more fluid, vendor management software can do the same for vendor relationships. They can also help you track and evaluate performance, keep projects on task, and do risk assessments.
- Plan for Vendor Continuity
No company wants to find out after something catastrophic happens that their IT vendor doesn’t have a disaster recovery plan in place, which means your own is going to have a hole in it. Talk to your vendors in advance and formulate a business continuity plan together so you’ll both be prepared in the event of a flood, fire, or natural disaster.
- Get a Vendor Handler
Using a vendor management service, like the one Technology Visionaries provides, gives you and all your IT vendors a single point of contact. This allows you to focus on running your business, knowing your projects and vendor coordination is being expertly handled.
Learn More about our Vendor Management Program
Have you been juggling multiple IT vendors and are wondering if there is a better way? There is.
Call Technology Visionaries today at 732-587-5960 to learn more about our Vendor Management Program and how it can help keep your business relationships on track.