Lesson 4 Vendors — Friends or Foes?

New Update

VENDORS, AH! Well, I take this moment as a chance to apologise to you for being too fastidious and arrogant about your ways of dealing with our IT partners. You must have noticed with surprise how I use the word ‘partner’ finally.


I was from the old school-of-thought and I confess of being too cynical and cold-shouldered with our vendors. Something you never agreed with. Not that I agree with you completely even now, because I am going to lecture you on SLAs once again in a while, but yes, I have changed a bit. Have grown more flexible and friendly than I initially was.

Working hand-in-hand rather than with a stick approach works for a long-term horizon, as my friend Vijay Sethi, CIO, Hero Motor Corp correctly followed.

Losing track of the importance of a vendor relationship is a major area of concern Rob Enderle agreed too. This Principal Analyst of the Enderle Group often cautioned me that it is easy to focus on price and promised capability and forget vendor performance as a partner taking them for granted. Often the real value in a vendor is their ability to anticipate and address problems because they know the unique needs of the company and have a deep relationship with it.


Replacing a vendor that understands the unique aspects of your company with one that does not generally leads to budget overruns and avoidable problems and that should be factored into the bidding process. Son, always be aware about implementation partner — i.e. one without sufficient experience/expertise in the particular solution being deployed, and/or sufficient knowledge of the customer’s industry and specific business processes/issues.

Inadequate communication among customer, vendor and implementation partner before and during the deployment. In the reckoning of Shrikant Kulkarni, Senior VP & CIO, KPIT Cummins Infosystems Ltd, implementation partner chosen may depute consultants who do not have thorough knowledge of ERP design and functionalities. This would mean inefficient architecture, business processes implemented for the customer. It is therefore important that the customers do not entirely depend on implementation partners but have their own key resources that can review and identify the inefficiencies in a timely manner.

Time now for some sermon on SLAs.