More tips for dealing with IT vendors

Now that I’ve covered the more humorous (and hopefully the less typical) side of dealing with vendors, I’d like to present some “lessons learned” for developing and maintaining positive relationships with hardware, software, and service providers. After all, we all need to use vendors’ products and services, and I’ve learned in my own experience that there’s a great deal that the technology executive can do to make a vendor relationship a positive experience for all concerned.

Here are some general tips, tips for during the sales cycle, and then tips for after the sale is over. Topic of a whole separate post in the future will be negotiations; this post will focus on relationship building and value determination.

[Read more…]

Watch out: Top 10 statements by IT vendors

Enough serious posts for the moment: it’s time for a little bit of humor, hopefully with a moral or two in tow.

About 15 years ago, when I was still a director and not a C-level executive, I worked a great deal with vendors providing services, project management, software development, and so on. In particular, my company chose to enter an extended and extremely expensive relationship with a well-known large consulting firm, which was given near-total management control over resource allocation (meaning their own resources) and an apparently unlimited budget. For the next three or four years, I worked closely with them, Biedermann among The Firebugs, working to maintain a semblance of integrity and direction for the project and for my company’s financials.

In the course of all that, I heard certain earnest promises repeatedly, and came to regard such statements as canaries in the coal mine when dealing (especially in the early sales cycle) with new vendors. At the time, finding some strength in humor, I dashed off the following list, which I’m repeating here with some commentary. If you hear any of these statements from a vendor (not to mention several such utterances strung together in an elevator pitch), my strong advice is FAV: Find Another Vendor.

In true David Letterman style, here’s the Top 10 List of Vendor Statements, with annotations.
[Read more…]