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6 Things to Know About Choosing a New IT Vendor

Picking an IT vendor is like picking fruit at the market. You have to get a feel for it, inspect it from every angle, make sure there are no unpleasant surprises. Rob Enderle writes for CIO Asia about the six questions you need to ask about your potential vendors.

Quiz Time

  1. Do they use their own products?
  2. Do they use forced ranking to measure employee performance?
  3. Do they use a lock-in strategy?
  4. Do they provide a good workplace?
  5. Do they use analytics to make decisions?
  6. Do they measure executives using NPS?

There are always exceptions of course, but speaking practically, there is usually a problem if the vendor does not want to use its own products. Another potential problem is if the vendor still uses a forced ranking system. Forced ranking pits employees against each other in such a way that collaboration, and thus growth, never happens. The bad signs continue with businesses that choose a lock-in strategy:

Vendors can use one of two strategies when building their products: Interoperability, where the vendor works to assure that its stuff works in heterogeneous environments, and lock-in, where the vendor assures its stuff just works great with its own things in a homogenous environment.

While there can be advantages to a homogenous shop, there’s also an obvious problem: The vendor knows you’ll pay whatever it charges and focuses all its efforts on customer acquisition, not retention, since you’re locked in. Eventually, you’re screwed — and so is the vendor, because those customers eventually escape.

Tying back to why forced ranking is bad, similarly seeing if a workplace is positive and stable could be a good indication that it will be easy to communicate with a vendor. This is because stable employees stick around, so you do not need to constantly learn new people’s names due to a high turnover rate. Analytics and Net Promoter Score meanwhile have become standard best practices for making informed decisions and measuring what is and is not working.

For further elaboration on all the questions highlighted here, you can read the full article:

About John Friscia

John Friscia is the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and continues to provide graphic design support for AITS. He graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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