Building a successful relationship with your IT supplier is essential to your system's success.
Trying to buy IT systems and services at the lowest possible cost - with no regard to your business goals or the overall cost of ownership - is likely to lead to a strained relationship with your supplier. This can cause both system and business problems.
Advantages of a good supplier relationship
Ideally, your supplier should have a clear view of your business goals and the role of IT in achieving these. This will help you build a relationship that can deliver a number of benefits including:
- ensure that service level agreements are met and that system availability is high
- speedy resolution of problems or queries
- valuable guidance from the supplier on your business' future IT direction through their knowledge of your industry sector and the latest IT developments
- delivery of the anticipated business benefits
Tips for effective supplier relationship
To build a successful relationship with any IT supplier you should be clear from the outset about what you both expect from the arrangement. Make sure:
- you both have clear expectations of exactly what you'll get in terms of hardware, software and services
- the business relationship is mutually beneficial - your supplier will have no interest in whether you achieve your business goals if you just want goods as cheaply as possible
- there are specific targets to be reached at set dates representing what your business gets out of its IT systems - not the delivery of boxes and cables
- the supplier provides regular reports of progress towards the agreed business objectives for the system
- you hold regular reviews with your supplier to see how things are going
- you have enough flexibility to accommodate change - whether this is through new technologies, the business environment or refined business goals
- you have a signed contract which you both agree to, that includes details of each party's obligations and what should happen in the event of a disagreement or dispute
Find out more about how to manage your suppliers.