We recently interviewed nearly 40 IT leaders to find out how they distinguished between excellent and poor IT suppliers. The findings were illuminating and, in some parts, surprising. We established that there were 4 main characteristics of excellent suppliers (outlined in an earlier blog here.)

We also discovered what IT purchasers really didn’t like about poor suppliers and they fell into two main categories:

1) A lack of transparency

A lot of the complaints about poor suppliers boiled down to the low levels of transparency in areas like resourcing, management and project delivery.

Pet hates included when it becomes clear that the people working on the project have just been hired for the purpose – rather than being the experienced in-house experts they’d been pitched. Or, as one interviewee put it – you get the A team during due diligence and the C team for implementation.

Poor senior management is often a cause of a lack of transparency leading to a breakdown in trust. Our interviewees observed that senior management can sometimes lack focus, trying to juggle too many clients perhaps due to the financial pressures they find themselves under.

Project delivery usually suffers under these conditions and IT leaders interviewed expressed that if something is not going to work, they want to know immediately, not 12 months down the line.

2) Over-promising

The second big peeve of IT leaders when it comes to engaging suppliers is the trait of over-promising. One interviewee observed that if a supplier says yes to everything you throw at them, he runs a mile, because he knows they haven’t properly considered what is required to deliver the project.

In actual fact, they would prefer the opposite – suppliers that under promise, and over-deliver. Some interviewees don’t lay all the blame for this at the suppliers door, seeing it as the responsibility of the client to conduct due diligence and not necessarily go for the cheapest or fastest option.

Triad’s eBook detailing the full findings of their interviews can be downloaded here.