Ward adds that today's IT relationship between the purchaser and vendor is more price-sensitive than in the past and more business results focused. It also requires more flexibility between the two parties to achieve the end result. Vendors need to figure out how to articulate the business benefits of their product or service in terms that apply to the CIO rather than the more traditional features/benefits. Because the purchasers have fewer funds, they need to show a return to the business for each expenditure. The vendors need to help the CIO show how their service or product can and does have a direct impact on business results.Explains Ward: "The expansion of technology has had a profound impact on delivery approaches for products and services, not to mention the impact of the virtual workplace that most companies are using today. Vendors need to be more sophisticated in the use of technology and service delivery approaches. As far as differences in the purchaser-vendor relationship within the IT industry versus others, I say there is very little difference. The IT industry is just catching up with many other more mature industries."
Test of trust
The purchaser-vendor relationship is advocatory when purchasers can best ensure that they can utterly trust their vendors with the key test below.Ward suggests that IT purchasers look for the signs of alliance. These are: "When price and terms are some of the last items to be discussed when working on a solution. When the words 'we' and 'us' are used instead of 'you' and 'I' in the conversation. When both parties are participating in the goal and both are willing to step out of their role to get the job done when it is necessary. When the discussion on price and terms is open, honest, and collaborative and allows both parties to achieve their goals. When the answer is 'yes' to the following: Would you work with this person if you were spending your own money instead of the company's money?" Ward concludes: "Ultimately it is the certainty that you want to, and will, work together again on the next project."
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