By now, you should know the “why” behind why your IT is important, plus three important pieces that can greatly benefit you and your company.
Today, we’re going to talk about the consequences, both intended and unintended, of paying a technology vendor who’s dropping the ball. Some of which, you may not even know about.
Here’s a common scenario we see; you get your invoice or project report from your outsourced IT vendor, and you notice your spend is outpacing your expected return.
That’s an uneasy feeling.
Being able to project your IT costs is important, and when your billing varies from month to month, that can be stressful. Regardless of the amount of time and money invested with a vendor, if the performance to date has been poor, the path forward will likely continue to yield less than ideal results.
Luckily, being able to detect problems early can be easier with digital services like IT and technology versus other products and services you pay for.
To help, following are some indicators that you might be in some trouble with your tech vendor.
#1. Are they transparent?
The level of transparency your IT vendor volunteers is quite telling.
From unrestricted access to the team’s backlog tool to detailed line-item billing, there should be consistent transparency. If obfuscation is common practice, you will likely experience problems. Transparency drives accountability. We’ve worked with several clients that changed technology vendors for a variety of reasons. One recurring symptom we tend to hear is their prior vendor’s lack of transparency
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#2. Too many meetings or too much listening?
A vendor that comes in with guns blazing and does not carefully listen to you explain your needs or does not request to talk with your end users should be a concern.
You know the problem you are working to solve likely better than anyone. Jumping into a solution without understanding the challenges in the context of the user is a recipe for disaster. If you find yourself being talked at more than being listened to about product and user needs, it may be a foreshadowing of problems ahead. When it comes to what needs to be built, your vendor should be listening to you and your users.
On the flip side, be wary of overly accommodating vendors.
Seemingly counter-intuitive, this can be indicative of a vendor that will say anything to win business and likely hide problems later. For effective development of your overall technology strategy, process and discipline are necessary. If the vendor does not have the confidence to challenge you and your team to maintain this discipline, you may be adding external cost without increasing velocity.
Recently, we spoke with a senior manager inside one of our client’s businesses. He told me that we had, “hurt some feelings” on the team. He followed by saying, “However, if some feelings need to be hurt to help the team improve themselves and the process, I’ll expect your team to do so.”
I’ll admit this might sound a bit harsh, but great technology partners vendor should not only accelerate development by providing incremental resources, they should also help your team work more effectively by teaching process, providing constructive criticism, and leading healthy collaboration.
Contrary to ’too many meetings,’ when it comes to how the technology plan should be built, the vendor should be guiding and pushing the process.
#3. Ego and the unwillingness to change course?
Team retrospectives are critical to ensure a healthy exchange of dialogue around issues and successes.
An open conversation around what has been working versus what has not should occur after each phase of your technology plan. Are these conversations being requested by the vendor? Is your technology partner acknowledging, and where applicable, adapting to your concerns and feedback?
Specifically, if your technology vendor is dropping the ball, are they presenting a clear plan that holds its team accountable on how that team will recover? The true measure of a technology partner, one like Logic Speak, is how quickly they identify, respond, and recover. We have found that by surfacing issues early and by addressing concerns immediately successful realignment occurs.
#4. Fixated on the contract or your end user?
Is your technology partner helping you build the best solution possible or are they fixated on the original requirements and contract?
Scope changes certainly have an impact on the project and discussions need to occur when these arise. However, if there is no flexibility to iterate, it can be indicative of a vendor who is more focused on getting paid than building you the right managed service solution.
Stakeholders (the ones who help you create your requirements) have inherent biases. We all do. If there are no plans built in to get the product in front of your staff or end users, questions should be raised.
Is it time for a change?
Technology can be a mess. Let us take it off your hands, so you can do what you do best in running your company. Fill out the form on this page to schedule time with us.