Published on May 11, 2021 Last modified on June 04, 2021
If choosing an IT company is comparable to getting married, switching IT suppliers is akin to getting divorced. It’s a long, complicated, and expensive process that no one really wants to go through. However, there are times when you may not be getting enough out of your IT budget, or you’re overpaying for mediocre service, whether you’re aware of it or not.
How exactly do you know that you should switch suppliers? While there are some glaring signs, there are also some red flags that may not be too obvious. In this list, we’ve identified 16 tell-tale signs that you should finally switch IT suppliers.
Your supplier does not answer emails or phone calls and when they finally do, they come up with terrible excuses for why they did not reply in the first place. It only takes 30 seconds to acknowledge an email — not answering an email is therefore a choice.
When development drags out, and you are given different explanations or stories as to why. Often, the real reason is that your supplier is struggling to solve a technical problem, i.e., the promised features are more difficult to make than first assumed or they have resource-related issues, or, as often is the case, they have another project for a bigger customer and now needs the developers on that project.
When the company has high employee turnover — not only does that speak about the company itself, but it’s also a struggle to re-explain what you want done to a new project manager because your previous point-person resigned.
When you ask for a backup of your system/database and your supplier doesn’t immediately give it to you (assuming that your website or webshop was developed specifically for you), then you may be a victim of vendor lock-in. This is where a supplier tries to lock you to their system or platform by making it difficult for you to switch to a new supplier without incurring significant costs.
Peter gives an example of vendor lock-in and how to avoid that in this video.
They don't let a developer join the project manager during meetings. Most of the time, this means that developers are outsourced and that you’re actually working with an intermediary.
Your current IT supplier is a yes-man. A good supplier should give you useful suggestions and say no to ideas that may not be the best for your project.
They often want to develop modules from scratch instead of using commercially available modules. Many times the functionalities you need are available in third-party modules for a fraction of the cost of developing it yourself. Why develop something you can buy for USD 100?
Your supplier badmouths their competitors. It speaks volumes of their professionalism.
Your supplier thinks it’s a bad idea that you’re employing a digital coordinator (they’re afraid that you will buy less as a result). On the contrary, an in-house digital coordinator may be one of the best investments you will ever make. Read this article and learn what a digital coordinator can do for your company.
They keep making errors in billing to their own advantage.
They have poor documentation of the time spent on projects and often don't have a time management system. Typically, they track time spent manually on a spreadsheet. This approach is obviously error-prone, how can you be sure that they invoice you correctly when time spent is just manually entered into a sheet at the end of the day (or on the following day)?
They round up to the nearest 30 minutes or 60 minutes irrespective of how much time they use, for instance in answering an email or taking a phone call. This system is fantastic for the supplier — on a good day they invoice 150%.
Too many people are involved in meetings. If three or four people show up to a meeting where only one is needed, do not forget who pays for their time — you do!
They keep making errors and mistakes. Simply put, they might not have enough experience and knowledge to handle your project.
They don't seem to be on top of new technologies. The IT landscape is ever-changing — with new tools, technologies, and evolving best practices. Staying up to date is paramount and good suppliers show that by, for instance, regularly publishing blogs or sending informative newsletters.
And finally, if you work with offshore companies, work with a company that does NOT adjust their working hours to accommodate time differences (read our blog about time difference when working with an offshore company) Why, you ask? Because the best talents do not want to work the graveyard shift! Granted, some people will take a job during the graveyard shift, but they will likely leave as soon as an opportunity with better working hours comes along. This could lead to a high turnover rate, which is also something you want to avoid. (See number 3).
If you need help switching IT suppliers or you just want to talk about your IT project, you can contact Peter today for a no-commitment consultation.