If vendor management is a juggling act, many business leaders are struggling to keep the balls in the air.
Who can blame them? The number of software, apps and devices has exploded in recent years—and the IT onslaught shows no signs of slowing. Better, faster, more techy tools can certainly help you run your business better, but the time it takes to interface with each vendor individually when there’s a question or issue can easily overwhelm a small staff.
To keep so much software running smoothly—and with minimal hassle—more CEOs are now handing off vendor management to outside parties. These vendor management companies offer convenient trouble reporting through a single point of contact, in addition to reduced bottom-line expenses and educated, qualified recommendations as to which hardware and software suppliers are best suited to your unique business needs.
A third-party solution means that outside expert can leverage established vendor relationships to ensure prompt, decisive responses to any software issues, spelling out problems clearly and efficiently to get systems and networks back up and running with minimal delay. They also manage escalations, track progress and report status changes. When vendor management is left to the pros, it can also mean spotting potential system and support issues before they become bigger problems, and even monitoring vendor performance to help guide future purchases.
So why aren’t all businesses partnering with the pros? Some remain confused by persistent myths about the process. Let’s debunk them.
The Reality: Asking your staff to deal with vendors individually is a time suck—and, frankly, your employees will make you more money when they’re doing the job you hired them for, rather than navigating some byzantine customer service line with a software question. By handing off those issues and questions to a team that’s built healthy, respectful relationships with third-party tech vendors, your staff will get a swift, accurate response in almost no time. So, they can get back to work (and back to making the company money).
The Reality: There is no one-size-fits-all solution to vendor management, and discounting the service because of the size of your business only does you a disservice. Whether you need a simple consultation or more in-depth, ongoing infrastructure, a qualified vendor management office will be able to tailor their capabilities to deliver exactly what your business needs.
The Reality: Many companies come to see third-party vendor pros as trusted advisors and partners aligned with organizational objectives. That’s because they help leverage corporate buying power and guarantee that no contracts are signed without proper due diligence. And third-party pros can also coordinate outsourcing deals and guarantee that business terms, legal terms, information security and risk compliance requirements, vendor performance measures, and optimized pricing are maintained throughout the lifecycle of the agreement.
The Reality: Let’s face it: most CEOs don’t have a clear sense of the demands placed on their IT departments. Many small businesses tend to lean on one IT staffer in particular—someone with a knack for solving a range of tech issues. These so-called “office heroes” are subject to rapid burnout and steep performance declines, simply because they spend most of their time arguing on the phone with vendors. Vendor management offices make their lives dramatically easier, which means they’re more likely to stick around for the long-haul and will have more bandwidth to focus on larger, more pressing projects.