Every business has hit the same sourcing crossroad -- to stay in-house or seek third party expertise? For service providers in a fiercely competitive IT ecosystem, vendor resource management is equal parts complex and requisite to realizing lasting business success.

Managing a roster of external vendors and suppliers can be daunting; however, a well-executed vendor management policy can help service providers improve market coverage, accelerate response times, offer new services and much more.

Vendors play an integral role it the IT and channel ecosystem and service providers must take steps to nurture mutually strong relationships within their partner networks. Here are our 8 best practices for making the most of your vendor resource management strategy:

  1. Evaluate your vendor landscape. Get away from the one-size-fits-all approach. Choosing an external vendor or supplier is going to be unique to your business. Vendor management begins with this evaluative phase -- find and analyze vendors on an array of criteria and determine if they fit your desired scale, data security requirements, technology integrations, and budget constraints at any given time.

  2. Outline the functions that need to stay in-house. Take a closer look at what processes can be kept in-house vs. outsourced, as well as if your business can or should manage a mix of both. Don’t overlook these analyses as they help you refine your resource limitations, talent gaps, and commitment terms.

  3. Delineate business requirements from the start. Be transparent with your goals and vendor management policy. Define your requirements, timelines, technology and access specifications early. Share both short- and long-term objectives and keep the lines of communication open.

  4. Make your negotiations a win-win for all parties. Strike a compelling balance between you and your vendor resources. Both sides are looking for a meaningful, mutually strong business relationship. Operate in good faith and make sure that you are getting competitive bids alongside the proven expertise you are looking for.

  5. Focus on aligning your values. Lasting, value-driven vendor relationships outweigh any marginal gains in the short-term. Vendor change and turnover will lead to increased costs and diminishing quality over time. Aligning your success objectives with those of your vendors engenders trust and shared accountability in the long run.

  6. Establish regular and frequent check-ins. Keep your vendors informed as your engagement progresses. Schedule regular, agenda-driven meetings to keep tabs on performance, share relevant information, and encourage accountability across all parties.

  7. Focus on collaboration. Vendor management best practices start and end with collaboration. Effective relationship models have to take a collaborative approach -- vendors should participate in key strategy sessions and expect comprehensive, constructive feedback throughout the course of the vendor resource management relationship. As a business, you need to make sure you’re working alongside vendors and not only voicing complaints when issues arise.

  8. Consolidate your vendors on a centralized network. Your vendor management process needs to be aligned and efficient. Taking a fragmented approach to managing your vendor relationships -- i.e. using various disjointed software systems -- is complex, time-consuming and inefficient. Vendor resource communication, management and engagement should be streamlined into one centralized ecosystem to ensure the greatest level of efficiency.

Whether you’re managing 10 vendors or 1,000, WorkMarket can help you radically simplify how you track, manage, and pay your vendors.

To learn more about how companies use WorkMarket to manage their vendors, request a demo here.