Activist Investors and a troublesome Board of Directors are one kind of damnation, but solution partners are another. Generally speaking, an activist investor and a board of directors are only troublesome on a quarterly basis, but solution partners can be troublesome on a daily basis. How so?
You depend on solution partners to serve your customers.
Some customers want your products, but other customers want your products and support services that your organization does not offer. As a result, you will need the help of solution partners, which will likely own the customer relationship. As a result, you are totally dependent on these solution partners to not only serve your customers’ needs but make your customers happy. And if they own critical customer accounts and they say dance, you have two choices, dance or lose critical customer accounts. Not a great position to be in.
You depend on solution partners to run your organization.
You need them for your custom manufactured products, your enterprise software systems, your MRO, and sometimes even for your internal IT and change management projects. The bigger you are, and the more focussed you are, the more you need these solution partners. It’s not a bad thing if you have good relationships, but if the relationships go south, but you are still under contractual commitment for a year or more, it can be a daily damnation until the relationship ends and gets transitioned to a new supplier.
You depend on solution partners for innovation.
If your organization’s strength is marketing and consumer demand forecasting, and it depends on solution partners to come up with new custom product designs to meet those demands, and on solution partners to come up with new manufacturing techniques to implement those designs, then the organization is completely dependent upon solution partners for innovation. This means that it is not only unable to thrive, but also unable to survive, without a strong solution partner ecosystem. It doesn’t matter how big it is or how rich it is, but just on how good it is at managing those relationships. If the organization is not good at SRM (Supplier Relationship Management), it, like Procurement, is doomed, marooned, and about to be entombed.
In other words, while solution partners can be an organization’s saving grace, they can also be a source of eternal damnation, driving you down the highway to hell.