Being an IT Buyer is a journey, and like all journeys, it has a first step–we’ll call it Phase One: selecting the right value-added reseller (VAR) for an IT solution.
To outsiders, this initial phase often gets misconstrued as the primary and even sole responsibility of the IT Buyer. In actuality, Phase One is the foundation of a much larger procurement process that includes staging and configuring a new solution, implementing it, then managing it throughout the lifecycle. Selecting the wrong reselling partner in Phase One can create unnecessary roadblocks for IT Buyers later on in their journeys.
Here are four symptoms to watch out for in a poor potential IT partner:
1. They’re slow in providing quotes.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but you need to receive quotes exactly when you need them. IT schedules can get hectic–emergencies happen, requests change and deadlines get shifted. The right partner should be there to make the Buyer’s job easier, so if they’re having trouble turning quotes around efficiently and minimizing lead times, that could be a sign they’re not the partner for you.
2. They have rigid financing models.
A common trend in IT is to shift investments from CapEx to OpEx. Makes sense–wouldn’t it be great if you could get subscription-based billing on capital expenditure or make quarterly payments on an upfront, multi-year contract?
Regardless of your budget constraints, an IT partner should be able to meet you halfway with creative, flexible financing solutions. The more flexible a partner is during Phase One negotiations, the more agreeable they will likely be through the life of the partnership.
3. They don’t know global shipping.
Today, business is conducted across borders and oceans, and global business requires global IT solutions. At a bare minimum, you should be able to get new IT equipment shipped into the country you require.
Global shipping can be a pain. There are a lot of logistical hoops for organizations to jump through, including managing customs, duties and taxes, global procurement consolidation and product classifications. This doesn’t even include the staffing and resource requirements needed to unbox, configure and implement a new solution once it lands in another country. Admittedly, none of these issues directly affect the IT Buyer, but the more thoroughly you can vet a potential partner’s global shipping capabilities and know-how during Phase One of the journey, the less likely your team will have to scramble down the road.
4. They abandon you after implementation.
The best IT partners stick with you throughout the entire lifecycle of your solution. What that should look like includes direct points of contact with the manufacturer, dedicated support for contract and asset management, proactive notifications about contract expirations and renewal opportunities and, in a perfect world, tools that help centralize multi-vendor asset data. Again, the better you can vet a potential partner’s asset management support, the fewer headaches your team will have after a solution has been implemented.
Phase One is an important part of the IT Buyer’s journey, but remember–it’s not the journey. However, doing your due diligence to find a best-fit IT partner and not just checking the boxes of a purchase request goes a long way toward easing burdens during future phases of your journey.
Want a sneak-peek at phase two of the IT Buyer’s journey? Download our guide to preventing logistics disasters.