How do you measure your vendor’s value? s vendor management programs mature, we need to understand the value a vendor delivers beyond meeting its Service Level Agreements. While we frequently outsource significant functions (critical and high risk) because a vendor can help us meet our strategic goals, including doing something better/faster/cheaper, what else are we obtaining from that relationship? Certainly we want to be able to measure tangible performance to ensure that a vendor is meeting its contractual obligations which we typically use as the basis of KPI’s and even some KRI’s, but what about the value of the intangible? When I was in the Fortune 500 space many years ago and selling primarily to CIO’s in the financial services sector, my goal then (just as it is now) was to become a trusted advisor and “partner”, not just a vendor. I used to read their annual reports, find company presentations and go to conferences where current/potential clients were speaking so that I could understand their business, their challenges and their strategic direction in order to figure out where I could add value and possibly provide thought leadership in order to demonstrate that I was DEDICATED to them and wanted to earn their business. I reinforced that by bringing in those smarter than I (my SME’s who never got enough credit) to meetings in order to demonstrate that I was willing to bring the right resources to the table to create a win-win. And when I was fortunate enough to be engaged by a potential client, I made every attempt to make it easy for them to do business with me when we were at the negotiating table by not losing sight of mutual business goals while still still adhering to legal terms and conditions that made sense for everyone. Thus, my willingness to put some skin in the game and be ADAPTABLE and FLEXIBLE helped establish my value as well. And when the opportunity presented itself, I attempted to marry thought leadership, domain expertise and technical expertise to provide INVENTIVE solutions by thinking outside the box to solve challenges or to present new value-creation opportunities that we could even work on jointly.