Today’s IT leaders are making decisions about strategy and operations at a breakneck pace. This pace, which often feels more like a blitz, is driven by two core goals. First, relentlessly protect against infrastructure downtime. Second, but just as important, defend against a security breach from a tireless community of cybercriminals. These goals require much more complex strategies which include a strategically selected matrix of solutions and vendors. Add to that shrinking IT budgets and a constantly evolving IT landscape and it is easy to understand how IT procurement can become a daunting process that can be riddled with challenges.
Our experts at QTS and Tier4 have the following insights on IT procurement and how to ensure your IT projects are successful.
How to Kick-Off an IT Procurement Process
Keep the RFI and RFP short and sweet and make sure you do an initial down selection. You’ll want to keep the count to a maximum of 10 vendors and there’s no reason to invite 50 vendors to bid on the first pass. Furthermore, maintaining a competitive environment is key. Make sure your team keeps their cards close to their vest until the contract is inked.
When to Engage an Expert Procurement Advisor
Organizational leaders charged with building scalable and effective IT strategies, from the C-suite to directors, have found that they often require more expertise (and time) when it comes to IT procurement. As enterprises focus on de-risking their business operations, especially publicly traded companies, healthcare organizations, financial institutions and tech businesses, they need a partner with the expertise and capacity to spearhead a vendor selection process from the RFP phase to execution of an agreement. These IT decision makers are also looking for a partner that will advocate for their interests and come to the table with proven, respected providers that are a good fit for their unique business needs.
Tier4 has built a proprietary procurement process that not only helps clients expedite the project cycle, but is also designed to help clients save money and mitigate the risk of obstacles that will cause project delay. Tier4’s goal is to make sure that a project is done right the first time by ensuring that contracted services are delivered as promised and that if a project experiences a setback, that issue is resolved quickly and to satisfaction. This procurement process progresses through five key phases:
The Vendor Vetting Process
Companies invested in de-risking their IT strategies and operations are not just focused on value, but are also looking for a quality provider that comes with a proven track-record of success. These companies’ organizational success and reputations are often staked on IT operations. Finding the right fit can require a more in-depth process than just a self-guided search. To access an expanded ecosystem of vendors, you may need the help of an advisor company that has a comprehensive provider network that supports a variety of requirements. This will ensure you have access to more vendors with both proven solutions and highly-regarded reputations.
When selecting a vendor, there are key characteristics any provider should bring to the table: integrity and ethics, financial backing, a strong Net Promoter Score, technology and delivery potential. Furthermore, you’ll need a cohesive engagement model with full transparency between client and vendor. Your provider must be able to offer training and accessibility that gives you the tools and expertise you need to reach full conversion to the specific solution procured.
Expanding Your Competitive Advantage with a Proven Provider
Your enterprise’s competitive advantage is tied to your ability to produce a good or service at a lower price or in a more desirable fashion. In order to future-proof your strategies and infrastructure, there are three key considerations to take into account: flexibility, agility and speed. These considerations must be balanced with economics that make sense with their needs to scale and evolve to meet future needs.
The way to enhance competitive advantage is strength in capacity management. Essentially, you must right-size your solutions, environments and investments to meet your current needs in a way that is designed to scale as you grow. Another key component of that right-sizing is finding the right hybrid mix of solutions and your ability to pivot resources among solutions.
QTS has recognized that solutions portability, or the ability to move and re-allocate investment levels within solutions without penalty, is key to maintaining a competitive advantage. As a data center, cloud services and managed services provider, QTS has designed a fully-integrated platform that eliminates the risks associated with investment lock-in by allowing you to move resources among your custom mix of solutions. This means your hybrid IT strategy will evolve as your workload, compliance and compute needs evolve.
QTS is proud to be included in Tier4’s provider network. As a leading provider of secure, compliant data center solutions, hybrid cloud and fully managed services. QTS offers an integrated technology service platform of custom data center, colocation and cloud and managed services, providing flexible, scalable and secure IT solutions for web and IT applications. Tier4 Advisors is committed to helping IT decision makers expedite the procurement process and serves as an advocate that works as an extension of your team. Learn more about Tier4’s Procurement Process here and explore QTS’ fully-integrated platform of solutions and products.
Tier4 Blog Edition 23: January 17, 2018