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Evaluating Technology Suppliers: How to Know Who to Work With

By Angel Israel Gutierrez - A3Sec S.A de C.V.


By Angel Israel Gutierrez | CTO - Tue, 06/14/2022 - 09:00

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Evaluating technology suppliers is essential to know, from the start, with whom you are going to work and, over time, to decide whether you should continue working with them or look for alternatives.

Surely, more than one technology supplier has come knocking on your door offering its products and services. But how do you objectively know which one is right for you? And how do you identify whether your current supplier is the best or whether you need to find another one?

According to the study, "Decision Analysis in the Selection of Information Technology Suppliers: A Systematic Review," by Lucas Grossi and Jose A. Calvo-Manzano of the Faculty of Information Technology at the University of California, Berkeley, "20 to 25 percent of large technology acquisition projects fail within two years and 50 percent fail within five years. Factors contributing to project failure include: poor management, poor requirements definition, lack of comprehensive assessments, inadequate vendor selection and contracting, insufficient technology selection procedures, and uncontrolled requirements changes.”

For the moment, I will not delve into whether infrastructure is required when contracting technology services, or if it is for software development. I am talking about technology in general. One of the main tasks — and one that is not always considered important — is the evaluation of suppliers of such services. Through an evaluation, we can measure the characteristics of suppliers, as well as the results of this exchange. In that sense, we will be able to polish or create new agreements to close business more effectively.

First, we must define the criteria we will use to measure their services. Throughout my career, I have seen that the following points and questions apply, in a very general way, before making a final decision.

Experience and references

The company’s track record should be evaluated before you accept or reject it. To do this, investigate if the organization is stable using strategic questions, such as the number of collaborators working with them, how many years they have been in the market, who are their clients, what projects they have done, etc. This will help you to size up the supplier. In addition, you should ask them for at least three references and contacts from other companies they currently work with in order to understand their strengths and weaknesses.

Credibility and reliability

It is essential that you constantly evaluate if your provider meets the delivery commitments of the requested services. The timing and form of deliveries are factors that impact all areas of an organization. Can you imagine if the delivery of a system is delayed? That implies a great loss of time and, therefore, of money. If the solutions to cybersecurity issues are only temporary, your data and those of your customers would be compromised.

A very important point is whether their advice is honest or if they are just trying to sell you the most expensive thing, even though you don't need it. Take a minute to reflect on the following: would you trust him for special projects? If you remain doubtful, it is possible that your current supplier is not living up to the stipulated agreements.

Who usually spots the problem first, you or your supplier?

Does your supplier have systems within your company that warn him of the presence of a failure or when a failure occurs, is he the first to know? If your answer is no, it means that you are not detecting failures in time, nowadays prevention is the key.

For this, you must have real-time monitoring of all technological services. Your technology service provider should alert you to failures before your company detects them.

Monitoring your infrastructure 24/7 ensures that all components are working as they should. This will avoid surprises. If there is a problem, your provider will be the first to know. You will also have the security of knowing the problem will be resolved quickly because they will know exactly where it is.

Support from the technology provider

You must evaluate the level of assistance offered by your technology provider, thus guaranteeing the performance of your company with the collaboration of a team of experts; nowadays finding specialized personnel is a challenge, which is why a team of certified professionals is a first step to provide you with security.

If the problems could not be prevented, their detection must be timely. At that moment, your supplier's team must have a great capacity to react, not only with trained personnel but also with the appropriate infrastructure and technology, in order to be at your side until the failure is resolved.

A correct evaluation means successful projects and lower costs

While you should start with the correct definition of your technology needs — hardware, software, internet services, and cybersecurity — a proper evaluation of your potential and current suppliers will save you time and money. The objective of an evaluation is to identify those suppliers that best meet those characteristics or indicators that you have identified as essential to achieve success in the execution of your project or service.

An area that is gaining relevance regarding the technological needs of most companies is cybersecurity. At A3Sec, we are digital warriors and we are convinced that the good ones always have to win. We are passionate about the speed of transformation and knowledge generation. Our goal is to shield your digital assets through solutions that generate prevention, detection and reaction.

Photo by:   Angel Israel Gutierrez

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