Vendor-bashing has become sport in some IT departments. But good customers don't rant and rave every time there is a problem with a supplier. Rather, they promote a system of accountability on both sides of the table. CIOs who are good customers forge relationships with their partners at multiple levels in order to have substantive discussions and solve problems quickly.\n\nThis SPECIAL REPORT takes a look at how CIOs can set the tone and the ground rules for good partner relationships.\n\nGood Partners Make Good Customers\nA first step to becoming a good customer is to think beyond your own interests and to understand what your partner wants to get out of the relationship.\n\nGetting the Best From Your Vendors\nAccording to a CIO survey, crafting airtight contracts that balance toughness with fairness is the best way to ensure your best interests and the best from your vendors. Fifty-four percent of those surveyed give high marks to the effectiveness of comprehensive SLAs. And other surefire techniques.\n\nSqueeze Now, Pay Later\nIt defies human nature to believe that a vendor that has been low-balled, dropped to its knees and capitulated to even the most bizarre buyer demands in a bid to get the business won't be constantly on the lookout for ways to make its money back.\n\nA New Way To Manage Vendors\nIn order to handle the increasingly complicated negotiations with his growing stable of vendors, one CIO expanded a group within IT known as the vendor management office (VMO). Would a VMO work for you too?\n\nSubscribe Now, Pay Later?\nEnterprise software vendors that have long sold their wares via the perpetual license (in which the customer buys and forever owns the software code and signs up for yearly maintenance and support for an added 15 percent to 20 percent of the license fee) are increasingly experimenting with pricing and licensing schemes that allow customers to subscribe for a limited period of time. But the new opportunities also bring added challenges.