Vendors are in business to make money. Vendor sales staff are there to not only bring that business in the door, but make their own personal quotas doing it.
You should want your vendors to make money. Especially if you’re buying services, there is nothing worse than having your vendor go bankrupt in mid-contract.
Still, there’s no need to be generous about it.
This summer, there’s been a rush of unsolicited proposals hitting IT management tables. Any hint of a cost concern, and a services vendor (managed services, traditional outsourcing, colocation, or cloud-based solution) is right there, offering their answer to “bring that budget item down”.
Some of the proposals are quite aggressive, too. Very enticing, indeed.
Don’t jump, though. You have homework to do, first.
Wanting your vendors to be financially stable doesn’t mean paying for things you don’t need. You need to clean house first, before taking anything on.
Take something as benign as managed print services.
Most organizations would save money by getting rid of all the small printers scattered around the office and moving to some distribution point, managed devices, paying by the impression rather than for the paper, toner and servicing of all those devices.
If you haven’t taken the few weeks it would take to analyse what you’re printing, why it’s being printed, how some of that printing could be diverted and not printed at all, and so on, before signing up to handle “what’s left”, you’re overpaying for the service (even though this budget year you might be making a significant savings).
Your vendor of choice should make a decent profit on their services. Far better you should not quibble about 1/4¢/page — let the vendor make the margin — but reduce the number of pages to print by 40% first.
Too many of us in IT forget to do the second, then have a miserable life working with our vendors because of the first.
By all means buy services: just clean house, first. You’ll be glad you did — and the few dollars you spend analysing and reducing will pay back many times over.