Competitive Analysis: 5 tips to making technology vendor decisions

We make a lot of choices in this life. Some of them affect only us– which entreé to try at dinner, which shirt we’ll wear to work, which car to buy. Other choices affect those around us – the way we choose to treat people, the charities we choose to support, and whether or not to use our turn signal. 

As a CIO, your choices effect the entire enterprise and even its customers. 

Making smart decisions about which vendors you choose for technology solutions like UCaaS, CCaaS, connectivity, and cloud, are critical to success. Nobody wants the pain, embarrassment, and repercussions of choosing a vendor that isn’t a good fit, or worse, fails to deliver. 

But, your due diligence needs to be balanced with making fast decisions–  let’s be honest, the pace of business isn’t slowing down for anyone. I’ve helped hundreds of IT leaders make thousands of decisions, and I want to share with you some tips I learned along the way.

1. Custom design, tailored results.
The solution you need may be unprecedented, which gives you the opportunity to set one. Instead of presenting problems and having vendors guide you toward a solution, create your requirements and design in-house. Once you have your desired outcomes and workings in mind, you’ll find out which vendor can get closest rather than settling for a solution that’s not a perfect fit. Plus, it presents the opportunity to get your design validated by multiple engineers and see if there’s a better way.

2. Create a scorecard. 

What are the attributes that are most important to you? I’m sure you have a loose list in mind, but I recommend you put them down on paper. Judge each potential vendor on your desired criteria, and compare them against each other. Creating a list of must-haves will help you trim the field quickly, and then you can take a closer look at the vendors that check the boxes.

3.Talk to your peers.

Referrals are worth more than their weight. Knowing what best serves the people in your network can guide you toward vendors with key factors like reliability, responsiveness, and efficiency. I doubt you’ll be steered to a poor-performing vendor from a friend. Beyond a referral, it’s worth asking around just to get a word-of-mouth account of what’s out there, which options exist, and what deals have been made behind closed doors. Information is leverage, and learning from those around you can help you figure out what to ask and who to ask for it.

4. Check the culture.

If you want work done right, let’s define what “right” means to you. If a vendor’s company culture matches your own, or places emphasis on your areas of need, the relationship will likely be well-managed and fruitful. Are you looking for someone who checks in often, or someone who lets you be until a problem arises? Which do you value more– proactivity or quick response time? Do you want independence in the procurement process, or a little bit of extra help? To meet your match, narrow down your options by placing your needs at the forefront.

5. Bring in Premier.

When you work with us, you work with a talented and experienced team of individuals who pride ourselves on not only our solutions, but the relationships we have with our clients and vendors. When you’ve been at this as long as I have, you’ve got the time and experience to weed out the best from the rest, and you’ve got the leeway and history to play hardball. You can leverage Premier’s extensive list of vendor contacts and our pre-existing knowledge of each of them to expedite the decision making process, with all the thorough, time-tested research done for you. Once you’ve chosen a vendor, we’ll lend you our clout – the negotiating power you need to get the best rates and terms. 

We think as hard as we can, prepare as much as possible, and do our due diligence when making the decisions that form our present. For CIOs, this comes with heavy pressure and load-bearing consequences. With Premier by your side, you can be confident in the commitments you make to your team, and the decisions made on their behalf.

Contact us today to get started on a faster, better vendor evaluation experience.