In associations and nonprofits, your technology suppliers play a key role in your success.
We believe that your degree of happiness with your current system can often be measured by the relationship you have with your supplier.
It is critical that when you purchase technology from any organization, that you don’t buy from a vendor.
You may be asking, “Well, how do you buy software without a vendor”?
Well, it may be a matter of semantics but we believe that associations should buy from a “Partner” rather than a “Vendor”. In other words, organizations should buy from a supplier who is viewed as a “Trusted adviser and partner” rather than a peddler of software.
Unfortunately, it is common today for many companies to find itself in an adversarial relationship with their suppliers. Further, it is not uncommon for overzealous procurement departments to consider it their mission to beat up on suppliers to get better prices or better terms. This is a very shortsighted way to do business.
Therefore, before you make a decision to buy your next system we suggest asking the following:
Are you focusing your efforts on selecting a vendor or an organization who is a potential long term partner?
Not sure of the difference? Then, you may want to consider the following elements below to discern the difference in the two choices.
The Difference in a Vendor and Partner Firm
Open Communication: Are you open to the idea of true transparency from the start of the evaluation process through to the ongoing client/supplier relationship? Systems today require that clients and suppliers share an open environment which foster a spirit of cooperation to fully understand the issues and the key desired outcomes for success. In our opinion, vendors are told what the client wants them to hear, when they want them to hear it.
Trust: Trust is critical. You need a partner which has demonstrated value and trust with similar clients during the evaluation process and continually displays a commitment to making your mutual relationship profitable.
Mutual Positive Results: Partners focus on delivering measurable results on an ongoing basis that are aligned to business objectives and values. Vendors are not concerned about your long term strategic business goals.
Shared Positive Reinforcement: Partners receive warm greetings and accolades for a job well done. If you are sending vendor RFP’s with canned questions the odds are your approach is dated. In our experience, RFP’s tend to have little relevance to the strategic vision of the organization and typically elicit nothing but a guessing game from the respondents.
Collaboration: Partners are asked to help set the agenda. Vendors are told what the client wants done.
Shared Metrics of Value: Partners earn business based on demonstrated expertise, business value and cultural fit. Vendors secure the work by slashing their price, being willing to make concessions and hoping something more profitable is in the cards for them in the future.
Proper Expectations: Partners are human, they make and admit their mistakes for which they are forgiven. Vendors are provided with no margin for error.
Trusted Adviser: Partners are viewed as profit improvement specialists who they want to hear from regularly. Vendors are looked upon as a potential adversary, who, if not managed properly could cause trouble .
We want to partner with our customers to mutually succeed in our respective business operations. We strive to do our best to be a trusted source of knowledge and skill which will add long term value to our clients bottom line.
Software success today is highly contingent on the partners you choose.
If you would like to partner with us in your pursuit of technology, please contact us.