How are CIOs choosing their tech partners in 2017?

Many companies are moving back to in-house teams, but is it the right call?

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When CIOs decide to rely on an external team to deliver the products or services they need, there’s a lot of nail-biting. Imagine putting your reputation as a CIO and the experience of your customers in someone else’s hands.

Due diligence is important. And, with relative safety, due diligence allows for virtually every company on the planet to partner with outside vendors to give their clients the experience they deserve.

Are there real, unbiased reviews?

CIOs are humans, too. Just because most are technological wizards, they still use Google and Quora to get quick answers.

But, the battle between enterprise tech giants (like Google vs. Microsoft) means that reliable, unbiased information can be hard to find with a simple Google search.

Some websites have gone to extreme lengths to try and find the truth beneath the marketing fluff. For example, one tech blogger decided to grab a few of his friends and spend countless hours testing different hosting providers – even offering to pay their existing customers for access to their account history.

This is an extreme approach to vetting options available on the market, but studies like these offer a diamond in the rough for CIOs in need of real data on competing vendors for the products and services they need.

CIOs value trusted partners

While the price of a service may be the most important thing in the consumer market, B2B technology is a completely different animal. Large companies operate on an even larger stage. Even the slightest hiccup could lead to a PR disaster.

And large tech firms are far from immune – see Microsoft’s Twitter Bot engage in racist rants.

You can dig deeper than a Google search to perform due-diligence. Things that CIOs need to dig into before accepting a vendor’s bid include:

  • Contacting vendor references (at least 5-10).
  • Access any publicly available financial records for the firm. Look for consistent profits – a sign that they provide a service which their clients choose to renew.
  • Agencies like the Better Business Bureau or FTC can provide backgrounds on companies. Confront vendors about any complaints discovered. Select vendors that are able to provide a transparent answer to your concerns – you should be way past marketing spin at this stage.
  • Request and review their SSAE 16, along with any other verified audits.
  • In your vendor interview, ask them for details on their team and infrastructure. You need to be confident that they have the manpower to deliver on the promises they’re making.

Riskier innovations stay in-house

You’ll find a trend in larger companies where the more mundane aspects of managing the business are outsourced. Salesforce or Google’s G-Suite are perfect examples of tech platforms that provide a core business service. While the platform may evolve, it isn’t a core innovation area for most businesses.

CIOs prefer to use their most valuable resources, time and focus, on the aspects of their work that directly impact the quality of the product or service their company offers to clients. You’ll rarely see a large firm outsource product innovation to a third-party. But they’ll quickly outsource the development and maintenance of their file-sharing platform for internal use.

CIOs love tech partners

The worst thing that can happen in an executive’s life is entanglement with an endless list of vendors. If a single, or tiny group of vendors can present a comprehensive solution that adequately solves multiple issues for a CIO, they are going to dramatically increase their chances of winning a bid.

Simplicity, in the CIOs world, is having a limited number of contacts that solve multiple problems for them – in harmony with one another. Technology, by its very nature, is already unruly enough. Finding ways to keep the human elements in-line is a wonderful thing.

For an example of this in action, look at Quanum. This platform streamlines multiple facets of the healthcare space. Their success has been the direct result of how well their CIO, Lidia Fonseca, has been able to tame complexity and create a comprehensive solution for their space.

Reliability and compatibility come first

There’s clearly a trend in today’s digital economy, where comprehensive, reliable solutions are outperforming the less expensive vendors in pitches to Fortune 500s. The reason is simple. When a CIO can focus their time more effectively, it’s worth paying a little bit more for a lot less micromanagement.

And with the proper due diligence, going beyond a simple Google search, CIOs are able to effectively place their trust in firms with an established track-record.

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