June 7, 2011 / 1:52 PM / 8 years ago

Management Tip of the Day: Choose the right IT vendor

Men use computers in server cabinets at the stand of the industrial enclosures manufacturer Rittal at the CeBIT exhibition centre in Hanover March 1, 2010. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

BOSTON (Reuters Life!) - Never underestimate a vendor’s willingness to say yes to a project that it knows it won’t be able to carry out, says Harvard Business Review. Instead, do your research before you get trapped.

The Management Tip of the Day offers quick, practical management tips and ideas from Harvard Business Review and HBR.org (www.hbr.org). Any opinions expressed are not endorsed by Reuters.

“When an IT project has enterprise-wide ramifications, you can’t afford to change vendors mid-stream, or worse, start over from scratch.

Here are three rules to get vendor selection right the first time:

1. Don’t make choices based on relationships. Be as objective as possible. Remember that relationships can cloud your judgment.

2. Test for capability. Just because a company handled one type of project, don’t assume it can handle a different one. If necessary, visit companies that have received the specific services you are looking for the vendor to deliver.

3. Complete the formal specification before work starts. Be wary of ‘specify as you go’ models; they can add significant cost and time to the project.”

-Today’s management tip was adapted from “I Broke All Six Rules for Finding the Right IT Vendor” by Robert Plant.

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