The Key To Productive Vendor Partnerships

Every other week it seems there is a new IT tool that promises to boost your business revenue or productivity. On the other hand, threats are evolving just as fast. Most of us know a business that has been affected by a virus, a ransomware attack, a phishing attempt, or a data breach that’s exposed sensitive information.

In the middle of all this dizziness, it can be tempting for small and medium-sized business owners and managers to try and stand still. Every system and vendor change costs time and money, so why not just choose a set of IT tools and stick with them until they break? “Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken” can be a helpful rule to live by.

Unfortunately, the risks of that strategy are high: you may be standing still, but the rest of the world is moving very fast indeed. If you don’t manage your relationships with your IT vendors, your systems can quickly fall behind. Just one unpatched operating system or out-of-date firewall could expose your business to attack – and a failed backup could destroy your ability to recover.

Juggling A Large Number Of Vendor Partnerships Can Quickly Overwhelm

Organisations with large internal IT departments can manage much of this complexity on their own. When they can’t, they’re often able to benefit from their size by getting priority treatment from vendors.

For smaller businesses, it’s often impossible to develop real relationships with multiple vendors. Many of them are often overseas and tend to lump smaller businesses in with consumers when it comes to support. That can put South African-based SMMEs at the back of the queue.

Fortunately, there is a way to solve this problem. A partnership with a trusted IT service provider can enable you to outsource vendor management to someone who is focussed on managing that relationship. An effective IT service provider will create the best vendor strategy choices that suit your business budget and needs. Plus, the performance of your vendors will continually be evaluated to meet operational objectives.

Six Ways Your IT Service Provider Can Help Manage Your Vendors

  1. A provider who has experience with firms of your size, or in your industry, will understand many of the problems you are facing.
  2. Service providers who are official partners of large IT vendors like Microsoft, Mimecast, Galaxkey and others, have access to expert support and better rates and prices that are passed on to clients.
  3. Since IT is their only job, service providers have to stay on top of technology developments in security, compliance and risk management. They’ll consistently protect your information assets and revenue flows, and alert you to new risks in good time.
  4.  There are many competing solutions in the market for every business problem, and some of them work together better than others. An IT service provider with strong vendor relationships will identify issues quickly, before they become a bigger problem. 
  5. An experienced IT service provider will have tested and implemented the vendor products and services they sell in several different environments. They will understand the intricacies of each technology, process, software or tool, and will be able to advise on which vendors will meet your specific business needs.
  6.  IT service provider partnerships allow you to be pro-active instead of re-active, by staying on top of vendor performance. 

A sound IT service management partner is in an excellent position to help you decide which vendor fits your business needs, paying attention to price, availability, risk, security and compliance regulations.

So, don’t fall into the trap of sticking with current IT vendors (, even though the service, price or features are not exactly what your business needs.