In the 20-something years we’ve been in the industry, we have repeatedly seen the same client problems. When they come to us, they’ve usually experienced one or all of the following:
- They feel their software or hardware vendor has misled them.
- It doesn’t work as it was supposed to and costs extra money to fix.
- The transformation hasn’t provided the benefits promised, and now they are locked in.
- The cost or time of the project blew out.
We believe it doesn’t need to be this way. Your relationship with your IT vendor should be mutually beneficial. Think of it as visiting a restaurant. You’re hungry; they have food. But how you book and order makes all the difference to your experience.
Follow these five steps so that you, as the customer, get the meal you want and need, and the vendor gets a satisfied diner who will leave a great online review.
1. Give your vendor a chance
Software and hardware vendors don’t always have the best reputation. And this can be unjustified. Ultimately they can only sell and advise you on what they think is right for your business in your industry. Perhaps you are gluten-free? Allergic to shellfish? Vendors can’t supply you with what you need without these facts. And as each business is utterly unique, uncovering these special dietary requirements can be a joint effort. Most software needs some or a lot of customisation. Without knowing the niche details upfront, this customisation ends up as an afterthought and additional cost.
2. Know your business processes
Before showing up at the restaurant, you need to book a table. Perhaps you need an early dinner? Or a later seating time works better? Are you someone that likes to sit outside on the terrace? Or a cosy corner in the back? Before digitisation can begin, it’s vital to have a grip on what your business processes are, from finding and acquiring customers to fulfilling orders. Whatever you do, make or sell, you must know the processes for managing your customers, financials, inputs and outputs.
3. Plan for before, during and after your project
How will you get to and from the restaurant? Do you need to book a cab? The saying goes, “When you fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” Without a solid implementation plan, you are likely to see poor results. Ensure the plan is embedded in your business and isn’t just a Powerpoint slide provided by the vendor. Outside the vendor, you’ll need to decide what to do with your assets. Sadly, we’ve seen millions of dollars wasted (with terrible environmental impacts) by organisations not properly planning what they will do with their assets after transformation.
4. Do a trial run
If you’re trying chillies for the first time, you’re going to ask for them on the side and work up to having ghost chilli on everything—the same for your transformation. Whatever you do, don’t go all-in. Start by digitising a small area of your business and go from there. We witnessed a large organisation move everything to the cloud, decommissioning their old assets, only to find their cloud bill was not the $3m a year promised but $3m a quarter! That’s an extreme but not uncommon occurrence.
5. Read the fine print
Ever turned up to a restaurant hoping for a juicy steak to discover it’s exclusively vegan? The devil is in the details. So read your vendor contract and fine print three times. And get someone who deeply understands the small print to read it too.
Third-party support like ours can help you achieve collaborative vendor relationships that work better for your business.