The folks over at ChannelWeb have just posted an excellent story on midmarket companies that have had to ditch a vendor. Here are some tips in case your company has to end a supplier relationship.Scott Campbell's ChannelWeb story, Midmarket CIOs: Why We've Fired A Vendor, talks about how Kirby-Smith Machinery fired Websense, why Carfax dumped Websphere, and how NMS Labs abandoned the company routing its 800-number calls.
According to the story, making the decision can be broken into 5 steps: 1. Diagnosing the problem, 2. Bringing in help or getting a second opinion 3. Finding a replacement solution 4. Implementing that new solution 5. Executing that solution.
And here are some other common themes:
Know when to cut your losses. Hanging on in quiet desparation is not a good long-term strategy.
Find help. It can be hard to know what to do on your own, especially as you're dealing with the "divorce."
But have a Plan B in place before you call it quits. Once you make the decision, it's too late.
Build discipline around IT purchasing. Making good decisions upfront will reduce the likelihood you'll regret them later.
Support issues can be as important as product issues. Smaller companies don't always get the love from large vendors. Find vendors that won't ignore you because you're too small for them to worry about.
I'd add only that given the current economic situation, even smaller companies probably have more leverage than they think. That may help when trying to resolve issues with current vendors, and also when looking for replacements.