Vendor management used to be a simple process. Businesses of the past could survive with only one or two vendors. As time progressed, businesses became more diverse, and new technological advancements required more vendors.
Maintaining relationships and contracts with a large number of vendors can be a difficult task for any business. If even one slips through the cracks, it could cost your company money. That’s why it’s important to keep up with IT vendor management best practices.
Modern IT vendor management is a complicated process. There are so many tiny details to manage that it can overwhelm even the most organized companies.
Here are the five best practices you need to know to stay on top of your vendor relationships.
1. Get into the Right Mindset: Vendor Management is Important
For any of these best practice tips to work, you first need to get into the right mindset. Vendor management isn’t a trivial compliance function that can be passed off to the interns; it’s an essential business function that needs to be taken seriously.
For an effective vendor management process, your entire company — especially the leadership group — needs to be invested. Company-wide buy-in is the only way your vendor management system will have the support it needs to succeed.
2. Create a Transparent Central Database for Vendor Files
IT vendor management requires many documents, contracts, and conversations, and all of that information can be stored in various ways. Between shared server folders, emails, and filing cabinets, it can be quite time consuming to track down all your vendor information.
The best thing you can do is to maintain all vendor information in a central database. That way, it’s easy for anyone to access and find the information they need on any vendor quickly and efficiently.
3. Identify and Track Vendor Risk.
To provide their products or services, many vendors need access to your information. While it certainly creates seamless integration with your systems, it also could pose a security risk. The more people with access to your systems, the higher the risk of a data breach.
Around 58% of businesses believe that they’ve experienced a data breach because of vendor access. To prevent data breaches, you need to understand the risks associated with each of your vendors. Before signing a contract with a new vendor, think about the potential risks:
- How much access does a vendor need?
- How much risk does that access pose for your business?
- How would you mitigate those risks?
The higher the risk, the more you need to keep an eye on that vendor. It might take some additional effort to create risk management procedures, but it’s worth it to avoid a security breach.
4. Create an Ongoing Vendor Relationship
Signing a contract isn’t the end of the back-and-forth between you and a vendor; it’s just the beginning. For proper vendor relationship management, there needs to be constant communication. Continuously evaluate the costs, risks, performance, and compliance for each of your vendor contracts, and talk to your vendors about your findings.
Stay in constant communication with your vendors and nurture relationships to get the most value from your vendors. If you clearly communicate your needs, vendors will be better able to fulfill them.
5. Work with a Vendor Manager
With all the moving pieces to track, vendor management is a time-consuming process. Many businesses simply can’t keep up. But just because you don’t have time for it doesn’t mean it’s not important. Luckily, you can hire a third-party to manage your IT vendors for you.
Working with a vendor manager will ensure you’re following all IT vendor management best practices without taking up any of your precious time. They’ll handle all vendor and contract management so you and your team will be able to spend effort on more important tasks—like growing your business.
A vendor manager also acts as a single point of contact if you ever have any vendor issues. One phone call will solve any problem, simplifying the entire IT vendor management process.
Find the Best Vendors with OnCall Telecom
For most businesses, hiring a third-party vendor management partner is the most effective solution for IT supplier management. It allows you to follow all IT vendor management best practices without taking up valuable time.
If you’re looking for a partner to source and manage IT vendors, trust the experts at OnCall Telecom. We have years of experience working with businesses around the world and will help you identify the perfect IT solutions for your unique business needs. Once we identify your ideal vendors, we’ll get to work negotiating a contract that fits your budget.
Ready to find the perfect IT vendors for your business? Contact OnCall today for a free consultation.