Building a successful relationship with your IT supplier is essential to your system’s success.
Trying to purchase IT systems and services at the lowest possible cost – with no regard to your business goals for the project or the overall cost of ownership – is likely to lead to a strained relationship with your supplier and cause both system and business problems.
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:
- it will help ensure that service-level agreements are met and that system availability is high
- it will help in the speedy resolution of problems or queries
- the supplier can provide valuable guidance on your business’ future IT direction through their knowledge of your industry sector and the latest IT developments
- your system will deliver the anticipated business benefits
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 that:
- 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
Michael Rentmeister, Mesh Technology Ltd