Breaking Up with Your Vendor: Why, How and What You Need to Know

When it comes to working with vendors, unfortunately situations may arise where the vendor is more interested in protecting their territory than empowering the client. These instances can easily derail the long-term goals of major enterprise projects and must be remedied quickly. However, identifying and resolving the issue isn’t always an easy task.
We have worked with a diverse portfolio of partners through our Multi-Channel Partner Network for more than a decade and we’ve encountered these situations from time to time. When we do recognize that a problem has or is occurring, we take swift action to ensure the project gets back on track. It can be a sensitive topic for all involved with no clear winner, so we take the appropriate steps to mediate a resolution. We objectively assess why the situation is occurring, communicate reasonable expectations, initiate a resolution, and facilitate a positive outcome to get back on track.

It’s not ME, it’s YOU.
Working with many enterprise-level organizations, I have myself been involved in client projects that were impacted by vendor politics. The vendors provided inflated estimates, downplayed the value of KPIs being proposed, and exaggerated the complexity of solutions by taking advantage of multiple points of governance within the client organization. 
When working with multiple client teams, it is easy to tell each team what they want to hear, or what they need to hear, to keep the vendor contract going. Having a strategic partner, like Stratigent, helps to keep the story clear across the entire organization and is one of the many differentiators our clients have identified while partnering with us. 
So what can you do if you feel that you’re stuck in a bad vendor relationship? Don’t throw all their things out of the third-story window just yet; here are some actions you can take to start correcting the situation…
1. Ask what is driving the vendor’s behavior
Are they trying to protect ownership of the performance data generated by their product/service? Are they not properly scoped for the project or do they not have the bandwidth and talent? In many cases, the vendor seeks to protect ownership of data. When a vendor holds all the cards, it can create problems. 
Bottom Line: We help our clients to understand the importance of owning their own data, articulate the long-term benefits within their organization and build a data-driven program for organizations that want more control of their analytics development. Think of us as your “wingman.”
2. Assess the real situation.
Vendors will often exaggerate the complexity of proposed solutions and avoid them by providing inflated estimates of work. Stratigent helps clients navigate this by relying on our independence as a strategic partner and our breadth of industry experience. 
Bottom Line: There is no ‘perfect 10.’ Clients need to understand what is reasonable for a vendor to accomplish based on the industry standard and all of the other combating workflows in play. 

3. Do a reality-check.
Some vendor roadblocks are in fact real and honest, or unfortunately just cannot be resolved in the short term. For these situations it is important to understand the challenges instead of jumping to conclusions. It is fair to ask how the roadblock will impact the end goal of the project, though. As the owner of the project, you should be asking questions such as: will this roadblock prevent the critical insights we are after? Can we strike a balance/workaround in the KPI’s we are targeting?
Bottom Line: In some cases, the fault is not that of the vendors, even if it might seem that way at first glance. These situations can usually be remedied by increasing funding for a vendor, using a phased approach, or providing training/education to the team.  

There are many vendors in the sea.
As the global leader in multi-channel analytics, we work with vendor partners across the globe, or ocean. Our Multi-Channel Partner Network is comprised of over 75 partners from expansive, well-known companies like Google to free-service providers, such as Flurry. Working with such diverse partners, and clients, has given us experience in understanding the dynamics between the client-vendor relationship - and it’s more good than bad. It’s all about finding the right fit when it comes to vendors and just like any other relationship, when it works, it can be heavenly.

If you are looking for help in selecting the right partner  for your multi-channel, analytics needs, we can help point you in the right direction – visit our VENDOR SELECTION page to learn more.
You can also reach out to us at or leave a comment below!
By Scott Friedman
About the Author:

Scott Friedman is a Manager of Client Services at Stratigent.

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