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4 vendor tactics that frustrate CIOs

Eric Ernest | Dec. 19, 2012
A CIO's job revolves around mostly dealing with technologies and implementing them in ways that will further the business interests of the company. However, one of the most important aspects of the job lies in the non technology field--that of managing people.

Yogesh Zope, Bharat Forge's CIO, also knows of vendors' not keeping to the end of their bargain, and how this consequently affects their image and reputation. He states that some vendors aren't transparent enough in their processes, and don't inform the client of delays and hiccups in project implementation well in advance. This creates major headaches for the client when it comes to actually having the solution up and running by the pre-decided deadline.

"If the client comes to know at the last day that a particular project is not complete, the company will feel very frustrated, and the credibility of the vendor is brought into question," Zope adds.

On the other hand, Zope also states that, such hassles could be easily averted if the vendor informs the client about possible hiccups in project implementation and keeps them in the loop for any and all interruptions that occur prior to the final delivery of the solution. Consequently, when the client company knows what's happening on the vendor's side, and has an idea of whether or not the project is moving in alignment with the agreed upon timeline, they can act accordingly in a timely manner. That way, they will also not have to wait till the last day to get a shocking jolt from the vendor stating that there is going to be further delay in the implementation.

However, every dark cloud has its silver lining. Yes Bank's CIO, Amit Sethi is of the opinion that however frustrating certain vendor attributes are, this can be solved by having a proper vendor management system in place. He is of the view that the core of any relationship lies in managing it properly.

Sethi believes that if your vendor comes back to you with certain problems, then the best thing to do is engaging with them as if they were your partners. "Once you start treating them as business partners and not as a plain outsourced vendor who just delivers solutions, the whole relationship will change."

"Move away from a transaction-related engagement to more of a partnership or business related-engagement so that the vendors become sort of your partners and share the same insights and vision as you," he adds.

He also emphasizes that you have to invest in that relationship, which means taking the time and effort to make sure that both you and the vendor are on the same page. As long as such efforts are not taken, the standard problems that CIOs face with vendors will continue to crop up.

As Sethi points out, "If you have an SLA-driven model with a vendor and you are not working with them in terms of monitoring the SLAs or improving their own performance by guiding them, you will only end up fighting and blaming each other." Yes Bank has also faced similar issues with vendors in the past. But, as Sethi puts it, they have been able to turn the situation around.


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