You have already documented the need, identified sources, held initial vendor discussions and have trimmed down your list of potential vendors. Now you need to select the best, and more importantly, the right vendor to meet your needs. You want a winning hand.
According to The Digest, the most important attributes to look for in any vendor include trustworthiness, reliability, quality service, quality customer care, a competitive and simple to use product. Promises and pricing are not on the list.
All experts agree: do your homework. If you don’t, it could cost you. Make sure you have completely and thoroughly evaluated the product, have run the tests and have determined the results yourself. Don’t leave it to the vendor or someone else.
Of all of the attributes, trustworthiness is considered pivotal in any relationship. In an article posted on Trusted Advisor, “the level of trust in a business relationship…is a greater determinant of success than anything else, including content excellence.” The article offers four simple principles that govern trustworthy behavior: 1) focus on the other, 2) a collaborative approach to relationships, 3) a focus on the long-term, not short-term transactions and 4) a habit of being transparent in all dealings.
According to the article, applying these principles to all actions will develop the fullest possible sort of trusting relationship. Keep these four principles in mind when you begin researching your vendors. It will help you stay focused and compare vendors using like criteria. Remember: a vendor that lives by these principles will be key to the success of your project.
Consider the value of the relationship because not all vendor relationships are created equal. Take some time to research the company’s history. Prepare a checklist and be thorough. Learn the vendor’s background. The past is often a good indicator of the future. What is their relationship with current customers? More importantly, what is their relationship with former customers? Why was the relationship severed? Is there a history of litigation? This could be a warning sign. What is their reputation in the community?
A vendor will present itself in the best light during the sales process, but what happens after deployment? How does the vendor maintain the relationship after the sale? How does the vendor support you? Support the product? What is their customer care track record? Does the vendor have a record of making good on promises made during the sales process? If not, what was the end result? Is the vendor a partner with a solution or a peddler of software? How does the vendor describe their competition? If a vendor consistency speaks poorly of a competitor, what will they say about you later?
Don’t just call one or two references—contact as many as you need to get a three dimensional view of the vendor. Dig as deep as you need in order to make the best decision possible. You’re not looking for a one-time date—you want a commitment. You want your vendor to be there for the long-term, not just through the first invoice. Choosing the wrong vendor can haunt your business.
Of course, there are also other considerations when choosing an IT vendor—scalability, stability, functionality, training, support and more. However, trustworthiness is at the top of most lists.
At Adaptiva, we live by the four principles of trust. We don’t sell software. We partner with our clients to create practical, simple to use, solid and long term IT solutions that seamlessly integrate with Microsoft Config Mgr. We invest in our clients for a strong, open and trusting relationship that will endure because your success is ultimately our success. We work hard to learn your goals, set expectations and satisfy your requirements. We want you to try Adaptiva and see for yourself before making any commitment. We stand behind our software as it simply works. It’s real. It’s proven. Check us out for yourself. We do what we say we do. Our customers genuinely like us and we like them.
From time to time, we’ll be sharing best practices on vendor selection and other topics to help you better manage IT operations. Our goal is to help you get the right vendor for the right project that’s right for you today….and tomorrow. Regardless of what vendor you ultimately choose, we hope your project is a success.