12 Aug Procuring a new IT provider or service?
When it comes to procuring goods, services and outsourced support it’s really, really important to benchmark the vendors and their products. It’s no different when entering a procurement process for IT Support or any IT managed service.
Reviewing the pricing is clearly very important, is often the first and last consideration, and will no doubt be a big factor in deciding your provider. However, it is as always, good to remember that the cheapest option isn’t always the best deal and corners may be cut by some vendors to maintain that lowest price.
I’ve seen many situations where companies compete on price alone and inherit a service for a client that really isn’t commercially viable for them. This potentially leads to delivery of a cut-down service to try to make ends meet.
Look beyond the price and consider the added value. There may be hidden cost savings or benefits delivered through efficiencies, new tools, training, consultancy & advice that you may otherwise pay for additionally or suffer from a lack of efficiency by not having access to such services already.
We recommend that those who are responsible for procurement should not only be looking at cost, they should also ensure they review and compare:
- the service delivery
- any SLAs or KPIs
- payment terms
- contract term
- feedback/case studies
When talking about the service, it’s not necessarily how well they will service your business but how their employees will behave when on-site, do they fit in with your company identity, culture and etiquette? Have you met with the account manager who will run the account day to day and not just the sales representative?
Monitoring this the whole way through a tender or benchmarking exercise and scoring it quite simply based on factors such as how quickly they respond to emails, their proactiveness, the manner in meetings / on phone calls and their process of providing you information will help.
SLAs and KPIs
Any SLAs (service level agreements) or KPIs (key performance indicators), which mean your business will be effectively supported according to pre-set parameters should be considered and adjusted to suit your business needs. Don’t be afraid to challenge these if they don’t quite work for you, or ask for them to be implemented if they’re not naturally in place as part of the contract or agreement.
When considering suppliers, ask upfront about their payment terms. Some may be for services upfront and payment in arrears, which is clearly more risk-adverse for your business, and some may require payments in advance. For either, but particularly those in advance, ensure you check their credit rating using an online credit checking firm such as Credit Safe. This will help you identify if it’s a risk you are comfortable taking.
As well the payment terms, ask for their draft agreement or contract in advance of confirming the go ahead. This will help you to assess how they layout their terms and therefore care to clients and fairness of a mutual contract. Ensure there are termination clauses that work for you, and that can be imposed on breach of contract and/or not meeting SLAs or KPIs.
A relationship with an IT Partner is usually a long one, so you want to make sure you find the right Partner that is flexible, ambitious & will likely grow and adapt to your business and changing demands. Choose a Partner too small and with no ambition and you might outgrow their team & expertise. Choose a Partner too large and you may not keep up with their developments, re-structuring & potential price increases down the line.
Lastly, seek feedback and/or read case studies; use these to score the companies you’re speaking with as part of the overall procurement process.
Are you in the market for a cloud service? Already outsource and thinking of changing your cloud partner? We can help…
Our team is formed of individuals with front-line experience working in the IT industry and we now use our position to offer free-of-charge tech advice to businesses.
When you’re ready to go to market; Wingman operates a price comparison style service, where we vet providers of IT Support & Managed Services and link them with UK businesses that have an active need.
We can discuss your requirements, offer potential solutions and then link-you with our vetted Partners who offer no-obligation proposals & consultancy around your project or service requirement.