By Peter O'Neill

As part of my research around the IT management software market, I spent some days with CA last week and met several of their customers as well. One of the customers is a large financial service institute – their name is not relevant to the point of this blog so I will not name them (I would have to ask their permission first).

What particularly interested me was this customer’s definition of a partnership with their suppliers. They are pursuing a strategic sourcing strategy for their IT management software and wish to restrict their interactions to a select shortlist of vendors whom they wish to consider as "vendor partners". They have three simple requirements of a vendor who wishes to be in this list.

* Become transparent.  The vendor must be open to provide long term product roadmaps, be available for public briefings, provide educational whitepapers and speak at their internal events. The FSI even has their own advisory council where these vendors sit together at one table and discuss the customer’s plans.
* Become embedded. The vendor must commit to providing local and responsive support resources, include them in their product beta programs and contribute to events with customer peers where notes are compared among the customers.
* Share the journey. The vendor is committed to deliver and demonstrate value to the business of the customer – beyond talking about the technology itself. 

I thought that was a very succinct way of describing how vendors can work as partners. By the way, this customer was also quite clear with me about which vendors did not match these expectations and what that meant to their business relationship.  He also iterated that these requirements do not mean that only the largest of vendors can qualify as a partner-vendor. He also has some smaller vendors that provide best-in-class technology in critical areas – but he expects the same approach as described above.

I hear more and more that strategic sourcing is becoming a standard operating practice in IT management software. Does anyone disagree?

Always keeping you informed!