Enhanced ICT Vendor management – EKSTEEN BLABBER

Enhanced ICT Vendor management

How to get the best out of your ICT suppliers

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You’ve issued a tender (or RFP) and have gone to great trouble to evaluate the responses, negotiated the best deal and signed a watertight contract.

For the next three years everything is sorted and you only have to worry about extending the contract or re-issuing the tender in about 33 months’ time, right?

Wrong!

If you are part of a large corporate making use of multiple suppliers of a wide range of products and services, your problems may have just begun.

There are a number of factors to consider and some interventions required to ensure your vendors are managed adequately.  Risk logs, a central repository for documents and reports, RACI charts, liaison with your legal department and a balanced scorecard are just a few of the things that immediately come to mind.

A balanced scorecard, for example, should not just be a measure of operational efficiency, but to be really deemed balanced it should contain feedback and ratings from business as well.  Keep it IT-centric and you may run the risk of your service providers presenting green scorecards every month/quarter, while the business units you are supporting are bitterly disappointed with the service they are receiving.

One way to contain your exposure is through a well-managed risk log, one of the most important tools to help guarantee a long term relationship by addressing possible problems and shortcomings and preventing any nasty surprises over the duration of a contract.

One of the biggest areas of concern for the average IT department is the slow turnaround of the approval of contract documents by the organisation’s legal department.  This clearly presents a huge risk to many businesses, but all is not lost.  By bringing an experienced person on board who understands legalese and is able to, over time, build a trust relationship with your legal department, this process can be speeded up considerably.

The whole vendor governance process therefore brings all of the above together and incorporates many activities to contribute towards a successful ICT division with a well-managed vendor environment.  By establishing and implementing standards for risk logs, vendor portals, balanced scorecards, reports, communication & escalation matrices, agreed roles & responsibilities, and pre-arranged activities like meetings and reviews, everyone knows what is expected of him/her and what he/she can expect from everyone else.

Remove the assumptions by introducing order and certainties and things won’t fall through the cracks anymore.

In fact, you will be surprised at how your relationships with your vendors can be put on a new level and what (almost unexpected) higher levels of service delivery you will experience from them.

Are you worried that you are not getting the best out of your vendors?  Maybe it is time to bring in a consultant.  Contact me.  I can help.

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