Should your Vendors be “Strategic Partners?”

These days, every vendor overuses the term “strategic partner” and many in IT have become obsessed with the idea of vendors all needing to be the illusive “strategic partner.” This obsession with being a “partner” actually hurts a lot of service providers, and creates misguided expectations of the buyer.

When the poop literally hits the fan, I need a vendor (plumber) fast. I don’t want coddling, advice on how to generate a “mission statement for my value-focused lean six-sigma strategic plumbing best practices,” or any of the other BS that passes for faux-partnerships these days. I need someone to fix my plumbing.

The same applies to IT. There are reams of vendors that spend time trying to be “strategic partners” when all parties would be better served by them just delivering the right product/service at the right price and in a timely manner. Many buyers are willing to pay for less hassle, and send more business your way if you provide a commoditized-service without adding the overhead of attempting to be a “partner.”


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