A recent article over on the Outsourcing Center, an Alsbridge Company, highlighted six red flags to help avoid a bad outsourcing relationship from ever starting that is a good read for anyone negotiating any kind of deal with a product or service provider, including a deal for (supply management) software and associated services.
The following six soft characteristic red flags are indicative of a provider that is likely to bring with it a dysfunctional and damaging relationship.
- Selling, Not Solving
Is the provider listening and offering what you need, or selling what they have, whether or not it solves your problem.
- Telling, Not Listening
Does the provider assault you with the triple digit PowerPoint presentation rapid-fire, without letting you get a word in edgewise, or let you drive the conversation, breaking out slides only as needed.
- Homogeneous, Not Diversified
Is the provider diverse enough to understand your cultural nuances, or only aware of his or her own company’s culture.
- Complicating, Not Simplified
Is the sales process, and proposed solution, overly complex, or is it simple and straight-forward, addressing the problems you have now, not the problems you may have in five years. While it’s important that the provider can grow with you, it’s not important that they dive into details of problems you don’t have today, or sell you solutions before you need them.
- Far, Not Near
Relationships and decision making should be as close to you as possible, not half a world away.
- Arrogant, Not Supplicant
The provider should be confident, but not arrogant. The provider should be willing to listen and understand your problem before proclaiming that they have solved it before. That’s confidence. And that is what you want.
While the lack of these red flags will not guarantee a good relationship, as a nearby supplicant solution-driven diversified provider that listens and simplifies can still be incompetent, at least there’s a good chance that the relationship can work. And any odds of success are much better than virtually guaranteed failure.