The Importance of Strong Vendor Relationships

Let’s start by thinking of a scenario in which you ran into an issue, small or large, and knew you needed to seek out help.  I can certainly think of a few and can say the same for others.  You most certainly are not alone in this. 


Recently, I was involved with a client team that needed to address a high priority item with a vendor and their product.  Through persistence, collaboration, thorough data collection and review, communication, and teamwork we were able to achieve a positive end result for all parties involved.  This was not an overnight thing.  In fact, it took many months due to the complexities involved with the situation.  We had to be mindful of so many moving parts, as well as some unexpected surprises that cropped up along the way.  This item certainly kept us on our toes, but dedication allowed for us to gracefully maintain and reaffirm our stance and stability! 




Vendor Basics:  A Problem & A Need For A Solution 

Do I know what the problem is? Not entirely, but I know what the issue is. The problem, thus far, is based on my point of view and the presently known facts.  I have something to run with, and this is my starting line.  The reported issue is that there have been bug check reboots taking place, and an unwelcome presence of the Blue Screen of Death.  The BSOD is nothing new in the Windows world, yet they can certainly be intriguing.  Adding to the mystery is that this is being experienced by multiple individuals but not by everyone.  


So, I begin by gathering more information, more data and more evidence.  In order to have a better understanding of the larger picture, you must have an understanding of the smaller picture.  Some questions I pose include: When did this start happening?  At what time(s) has this been happening?  What are some commonalities?  What has changed?  I am sure you get the general train of thought here.  In order to begin this troubleshooting journey, I needed to craft a final destination.  In this case, it was to determine what the root cause was of the reported bug check reboots. 


See, troubleshooting sometimes can be like a road trip.  You have that aforementioned final destination in mind, and a focus on getting there, but you may also encounter some detours, expected or unexpected, along the way!  How are you best prepared for the journey?  Have you outlined possible scenarios, outcomes, or expectations?  Will you be going on this road trip alone?  Chances are, you will not be.  At the very least, you will not have been alone in the experiences.



Effective Collaboration With Vendors


I cannot emphasize the following point enough…  Communication is key!  It allows you to better understand related history, set a foundation, as well as have the means to forge ahead.  Communication is without a doubt such an important factor in effective collaboration.  You must set the stage and determine what the goal is.  Additionally, communication is such a key aspect of making progress, staying honest, maintaining strong morale, and reaching the shared goal.  Even if all parties are focused on getting to Point A, but the means in which this is getting accomplished is not clearly laid out and agreed on by all involved parties, confusion is created and results in delays. 


Set Expectations

Actions, phrases and words can sometimes be left open to interpretation..  While it may not always be possible to know certain things in advance, try your best to not just meet, but exceed, expectations.  Excellent service, quality, and satisfactory resolution is the focus here.  In this sample case, it was especially important to be cognizant of the many moving parts, not to mention that the issue was one not necessarily instantly reproduceable.  It is imperative to ensure that all parties involved have an understanding of the deliverables and what their role is in meeting these. 


Keep An Open Mind

In my example, it became clear along the way that there was a need to engage multiple parties due to the behaviors being exhibited.  Plenty of troubleshooting had been performed, theories formed, and I was able to gather my findings and evidence to support said theories.  Ironically, sometimes what may seem a failure is actually quite the opposite.  An abundance of testing helps prove or disprove theories, and sometimes brings to light ones you may not have first thought of! 


Reliability & Consistency

A fix, however large or small, will be helping a multitude of people and help instill or increase confidence in the product.  It is a natural reaction to feel frustration when something just is not working right.  You can spend countless hours scouring the internet for help and get a feel for whether others are seeking similar issues but turning a blind eye or being dismissive will only serve to hurt you in the long run.  Commitment to wanting better is a driving factor in success.  When you are working with a team of specialized individuals who are motivated in working towards a solution, you are strengthening important relationships and also setting the groundwork for future successes. 


Value The Expertise

Vendors can help by thoroughly analyzing and provide excellence guidance.  They have in depth knowledge of their product(s) and know the ins and outs.  When it was determined what the next best logical steps were at certain intervals, the applicable parties remained focused and dedicated to continuing testing, configuration reviews, and fixes, all without losing sight of the end goal - to not only to determine the root cause of the mysterious bug check reboots but to correct it. 



To circle back, it was only through open communication, persistence, collaboration, in depth troubleshooting efforts, and teamwork were we able to achieve a positive end result for all parties involved.  The technical root cause was determined and successfully remediated.  This particular high priority issue that I speak of was most definitely a journey.  I was part of a bigger picture.  In fact, I was told that many others had been experiencing similar issues but prior to our involvement, no resolution was reached!  Our dedication paid off and the confidence gained in our service, and the level in which the vendor relationships strengthened is invaluable.  



If you would like to discuss tricky IT issues or vendor relationships with us, please feel free to contact us.



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