Vendor Selection and Engagement 101

//Vendor Selection and Engagement 101


Golden Rules of Selection

Organisations’ often jump from wanting and needing technology to purchasing in many cases. Usually, their depth and breadth of research and requirements gathering can be limited. This may be due to time, resource and knowledge constraints. In fact, it is common place to get referrals on technology and vendors from network of colleagues and friends. This can then immediately go down the path of selecting and purchasing. Here in lies the trap of selecting a vendor and their products/services which may not suit the organisation. While the recommendations from networks are a good and logical starting point, organisations’ need to do their own research. The vendor landscape and technology stacks on offer are changing and evolving to suit organizations’ every day. So picking something that has worked for a certain organisation at a point in time can limit selectors to a very small shortlist of offerings.

Every organisation and its culture is unique, so picking a vendor without considering the unique needs of the organisation is a very expensive mistake. That said, there is no need to get stuck in the rut of “analysis paralysis”. Here are three quick steps to ensure success with selection:

  1. Define and gather robust requirements: You cannot skip this one. Read more about this step here.
  2. Research current vendor and technology offerings in the market: This is paramount to success of technology selection. There is phenomenal value in engaging a trusted advisor and expert like HR Lead Consulting who keep abreast of current market offerings. This will save those valuable time and resources within the organisation in conducting limited research. After all, focusing organisation resources to do what they are experts in, is a logical use of their time and organisations’ money.
  3. Create a clearly articulated document: This to inform the vendors of what the organisation is looking for. This document can be a simple overview of:
    1. Company and its purpose,
    2. Detailed requirements of the organisation,
    3. Timeframes for delivery of products and services,
    4. Any budget sensitivities or constraints, and
    5. Timeframes for vendors to respond to your request for quotation (RFQ) and/ or expression of interest (EOI).

It is not necessary to re-invent the wheel on the above steps and documents though, luckily there is lots of help out there. A great tool to bring all the above together is to use tools like that have an established platform. The platform caters for most common requirements, automated production of relevant documents, and comparing the latest vendors and their market offerings against requirements.

The next logical step post system selection has to be setting up good relationships. This leads straight into Rules of Engagement.

Rules of Engagement

Once an organisation successfully selects the vendor, the next step is establishing some ground rules! Establishing rules of engagement ensures that both parties are equally invested and committed to the success of the relationship. So here are some good practices on rules of engagement:

  1. Set up a contract: While setting up a robust written (legal) contract is certainly crucial, having a relationship and deed of trust, partnership, integrity, honesty, respect and friendship can drastically change the odds of success. Discussing all the values that are important to both parties can go a long way in resolving conflict on paper.
  2. Be a partner not a master: A few years ago, and in some cases even today, organisations tend to use the old master-slave model of operation. While this worked really well in the industrial age to measure performance of physical products manufactured and delivered, this no longer works in the age of cloud technology and related services. Being a master just ensures quantity not quality. A relationship based on partnership will deliver quality.
  3. Discuss and establish channels of communication and collaboration: It is quite common for written contracts to have account management services. However, having that documented doesn’t necessarily equate to the quality of communication and collaboration. To ensure that both parties are listening, collaborating and actively engaging in delivering value to each other, establish forums that enable constructive conversations.
  4. Plan for success and reward people for the right behaviours: This is not a new concept by any means. To enable success, organisations need to collaboratively plan for this. A plan executed by collaborative teams will deliver greater success than a plan with isolated responsibilities. Rewarding people for achievements, working well together and learning is a very important part of keeping people motivated and excited about being at work. Great places to work are all about creating a work environment that enables their people and motivates them for displaying and living the expected behaviours.
  5. Don’t forget to have fun! Organisations often forget that delivering technology is about change. And change can be invigorating as well as tiring. Creating opportunities and an environment where people feel free to talk beyond work over a few laughs will enable an environment of trust and friendship. This will go a long way in keeping people energized, happy, healthy and motivated.

If organisations’ follow best practices stated above for vendor selection and engagement, they are on the right path to a successful outcome. But if help is required, companies like HR Lead Consulting are a great source of knowledge and expertise.

2018-05-01T09:45:11+08:00 December 13th, 2017|Uncategorised|Comments Off on Vendor Selection and Engagement 101

About the Author: