What does digital transformation really mean? In the final post of our series, learn why you need to rethink your approach to vendor selection to get the most out of your investments.
With digital transformation challenging businesses to rethink the way they use technology, vendor selection has never been more vital. Technology touches nearly every facet of operation in one way or another, from processes to communication, and working with the right vendor ensures companies are integrating solutions that can help them achieve their goals.
No business ever intends to choose the wrong vendor, yet it happens often. You need a vendor that does more than simply supply a solution—you need someone who understands and cares about your precise needs. Failure to align yourself with the right vendor can lead to catastrophic results.
For example, just last year, the federal government froze funds to the T2 technology project hatched by the state of Texas due to a long list of problems. Originally launched in 2007, the T2 project was designed to build a better data system that would improve the way the state processed child support payments and investigations. Nine years later, the state still has little to show for the investment and the project has run $100 million over budget.
The root of the problem? Rampant issues with the vendors hired to pilot the project, from poor initial conception of the system to extensive implementation woes. The state is now in the process of scaling back the project to expedite completion, and the system originally envisioned by the state that would have benefited so many child support workers may never see the light of day.
Many companies take the wrong approach to vendor selection. They treat the process as a one-time purchase, and as a result, wind up buying a solution from a vendor with little insight into what the company actually needs.
The onus is on you to be more diligent in your selection. Instead of looking for a vendor, look for a strategic partner—an ally that is in it for the long haul and will collaborate with you to help you get the most out of your investments, both now and in the future. You rely on this partnership to stay ahead of the curve, and you need a vendor that will go the extra mile to help you adapt to whatever challenges arise.
There are numerous factors you need to consider as you look to reshape your vendor selection process. However, one of the most important steps you can take is simply setting expectations upfront. Let vendors know what you want from them and work out ways to reward them for their role in your success. This will help you quickly weed out the suboptimal vendors and identify the ideal partners.
At the end of the day, a healthy relationship goes both ways. In an ideal business-vendor partnership, both parties prosper.
Learn more about selecting the right technology partner for digital transformation in our report, The Digital Ultimatum.
Mark Troester is the Vice President of Strategy at Progress. He guides the strategic go-to-market efforts for the Progress cognitive-first strategy. Mark has extensive experience in bringing application development and big data products to market. Previously, he led product marketing efforts at Sonatype, SAS and Progress DataDirect. Before these positions, Mark worked as a developer and developer manager for start-ups and enterprises alike. You can find him on LinkedIn or @mtroester on Twitter.
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