Choose and manage your IT supplier

Benefits of an effective IT supplier relationship

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 including:

  • ensuring 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

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

Subjects covered in this guide

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