Canadian Manufacturing

14 tips for strong IT partnerships



EDMONTON: Whether you staff your IT department internally or by a Managed IT Services (MITS) Provider, here are a 14 tips to ensure you get, and keep, the right partners.

Vendor’s need to understand your priorities. If they can help, they will be able to find a way to provide the best solution. If they can’t, at least they know they are not part of current priorities. But make sure you let them know that you will keep them in the loop about what you need and how they may play a role down the road.

Seek alternatives if you are being reasonably underserved. The key work here is “unreasonably.” Are you communicating effectively to ensure your partners understand what you are seeking? Don’t put the entire onus on your partners to communicate effectively.

Build your business case. Experts and engineers often have a slew of white papers and Return on Investment (ROI) analyses available that can help you to both build a business case and persuade your team to come onside. But are the analyses realistic? Check the facts! Remember the axiom: good friends (partners) make each other look good.

Treat your potential partners and partners as partners– not vendors. There is a real need to drive contract terms and legal conditions but, in the end, no contract in the world will adequately cover your long-term goals and expectations. Build a solid, true collaborative partnership with your vendors, remembering they can’t deliver without facts! That is one sure way to kill a partnership

Accountability and responsibility. To be a partner, both parties must act like partners, which means helping each other beyond the cash exchange. Will the vendor continue to help you succeed after the sale? How and where have they done this before? What can you do to help them be successful beyond just buying their products? If they cannot think of ways for you to help them, then the only value they will get is money, and this means you will spend more for their products or services.

Don’t fear the RFP process. From the outset, be clear that they have to put their best price on the table. No one will get a second chance to rebid. And never, ever give one vendor’s bid to another to beat. But also make sure your requirements are defined so vendor’s aren’t cornered into guessing what you are looking for,

Be respectful to your vendors. Need I say more?

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