Enterprise Vendor Management: Checking the Heartbeat of Vendor Relationships

In our recent series of blogs about EMC IT’s Enterprise Vendor Management Office (EVMO), we offered insights on how to create an IT strategic sourcing plan, forge the right strategic partnerships, and then execute and ensure compliance for contracts with those suppliers. Now that you are up to speed on those three main pillars of the EVMO, you may wonder how we keep it all operational, effective and continually beneficial to the organization.

We use supplier analytics, ongoing process improvement and constant communication—the fourth and final pillar of our overall approach.

Supplier Analytics

Using dashboards and reporting tools, analytics lets us measure our vendor interactions and evaluate them to maximize performance. Think of this approach as tracking the heartbeat of EMC IT’s vendor relationships—a kind of ongoing checkup to make sure this important system is working as it should.  This includes tracking deals to ensure all the right terms and conditions are in place, confirming that what IT spends on them is what was expected, and making sure that each vendor is doing what they are expected to do.

We also evaluate the mutual broader benefits of our strategic partnership ‘line-up’ in terms of what they are providing to us and what benefits they are receiving from us.

We also keep a pulse on the quality of service we are supplying to our customers – the IT groups that use vendors and partners. Some questions we ask: Are we quickly working through customer deals? Are we getting them what they need, as well as delivering the best value for EMC?  Do the suppliers have the right skill sets and are they providing customers with the right amount and quality of service?

Process Improvement

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It is important that we strive for continuous process improvement in our vendor management operation. After all, continuous process improvement is one of the key elements in the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)—an industry-recognized set of standard practices which we have incorporated into our program (and throughout all of EMC IT).

We regularly review our governance and make sure we are doing what we can to improve our processes, both internally and externally. Internally, we look at customer support, our contracting and deal-making practices to determine if we can simplify or automate them. Externally, we help our customers analyze whether there are any areas they can improve upon.

On the governance front, we review how and when customers engage with us, and how we, in turn, engage with corporate groups, including Indirect Procurement and Legal, in the vendor process.


For everyone to be working well together in the IT sourcing strategy process, there needs to be a constant flow of information between all of the stakeholders—whether it’s about future IT strategic focus, regulatory requirements, legal terms and conditions or contract changes.

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The best way to accomplish this is through regular meetings with the key players. We use our governance and engagement rules to spell out our meeting cadence, which for us includes monthly meetings between IT partner management and key stakeholders in the various IT business units. We also have regular meetings with indirect procurement to stay closely aligned on priorities, partner management and strategy.

These exchanges provide regular touch points to make sure we are aligned with stakeholders and that there are no surprises.

Hopefully, this blog series has given you some insights into the ongoing process of vendor management, from creating an IT sourcing strategy, to choosing strategic partners, to negotiating contracts and finally measuring the results – to continuously improve them.  Ultimately, the goal is for all of the components of your vendor management organization to work in harmony to make the most of your strategic partnerships and vendor relationships.

About the Author: Michael Dobbin