CIO-Seller relationship: COVID-19 helps CIOs identify outstanding and average vendors


CIOs have been struck hard by COVID-19 forcing them to take urgent action to help them continue the market. Some vendors have been proactive primarily in providing their customers with the required infrastructure and, secondly, creative solutions to function as workarounds have also been developed.

Although COVID-19 has prompted some vendors to make the best of themselves and deliver to their customers, some partners have remained rigid in their outlook to support the customers.

CIOs have referred to renegotiating vendor contracts as a major source of lowering their IT costs. Although this is real, it is important to remember that, against all odds, many suppliers and partners have also provided their customers with outstanding service.

Determining the best of the rest

Vendor’s have often gone out of their way to help their clients, “An IT vendor has helped an company by shipping and configuring a new laptop directly to an employee at the hotel where he was quarantined. Several IT suppliers on their side have made improvements in the processes to satisfy clients impacted by the lockdown.Moving materials faster than usual and allowing customers to pick up directly from warehouse if required, which is not usually permitted in normal times, “Dilip Dusija, Partner, Deloitte India, advised.
Fidelity International, which manages around half a billion dollars of assets globally, also faced severe challenges with respect to India ‘s largely managed IT infrastructure. “COVID-19 speeded up Fidelity International digital transformation. Within weeks what would have taken years to do was finished. There have been several online HR activities, “says Babu Thiagarajan, Country General Manager and Technology Head – India, Fidelity International. There are different partners working with Fidelity International who have been unable to see COVID-19 in the right way and the subsequent difficulties, “The partners who have grasped COVID-19 ‘s problem for us have been helpful to us, Whereas partners who have always treated the relationship as a mutual arrangement have refused to communicate with us, “Babu says.
What distinguishes the best from the rest is the use of new technology and approach, “Partners who have been able to step up with the skill sets needed to respond to our customer trust building requirements through emerging technologies such as better data virtualization, visualization, information security and cloud tech have gained our respect.We haven’t supported the partners who are still working in an old school way of providing digital services, “Babu says.
The same applies to KreditBee, an easy-to-credit Internet platform. The organization was able to kick-off creative activities a step further, unexplored before. “Usually, this situation has helped us distinguish the major vendors from the small ones. We have seen a number of them providing positive assistance, And as part of the overall situation, the emotional aspect in the partnership has been emphasized. It has also led us to jointly recognize and pursue a number of new approaches to help the virtual work environment, which we didn’t concentrate on earlier, “says Madhusudan Ekambaram, CEO, KreditBee.
KreditBee has been able to recognize several fascinating & innovative activities to track, control, and report the work of the employees of the operations, which is a crucial innovation intended to carry forward in the coming years.

Support extended by vendors in the wake of COVID-19

The COVID-19 crisis has thrown unparalleled conditions that are impossible for the CIO ‘s office to turn things around and keep the lights on without the cooperation of all stakeholders. Technology vendors are a significant stakeholder and some have raised and proven their value to the occasion.”The majority of the vendors have reached us extending the credit period. Interestingly, we found that the small and medium-sized vendors were more pragmatic and straightforward in their approach, given that the decision chain is bigger for the larger vendors, and thus making the decisions is a very complex method.Also, as part of the Business Continuity Plan, which is a welcome move from our trusted partners, several vendors have reached out offering reduced rates, “Ekambaram says.
CIOs across industries have demanded discounting from IT providers and deferred compensation from their side on whatever could be necessary. The vendors did respond to the request differently. “Sellers renting low-end IT services have discounts of up to 50 percent on annualized billings;And free extension of contracts for annual contracts by 2 months; a few telephone lines companies offer discounts of up to 25 per cent with no monthly usage. Big technology companies offering interactive platforms provide current consumers with additional goods, “Dusija says.
IT / Technology vendors provide existing customers with incremental discounts on new services; and to attract new customers too. Organizations could use this to obtain opex bargain rates at the moment.
In an interesting anecdote shared by Dusija, “Organizations also resorted to helping IT vendors with early payment where necessary, thereby ensuring that the relationship between the customer and IT vendor is intact for a longer period of time!”
Bank of Baroda, India ‘s third largest state-owned bank, has merged Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank as part of the consolidation process of PSU banks. “The essence of the relationship with the vendor / partners has not changed in the aftermath of COVID-19, but the working approach has changed,” says Sharad Saxena, Chief Technology Officer, Bank of Baroda.The bank has provided the managed service provider with protected resources that run the Bank’s vital day-to-day operations. Wherever possible, the deadlines have been shifted; tasks have been restructured; workers working for the managed services business will visit the nearest branch and operate from there because of different reasons.Such workers were also granted keys to bank quarters closest to them. The bank has been able to relocate over 280 branches in the lockdown era using these different workarounds.

Uncooperative attitude

There is a vendor group segment that is not ready to ease any conditions and help their customers, “Mostly vendors offering critical IT services such as cloud-based communications, cloud storage, and internet providers don’t have any discounts,” Dusija says.
Vendors are not prepared to expand the credit facility to their customers. “The consultants who deal with the suppliers of technology are not moving. They’ve cut prices, which will be passed on to consumers. Many vendors don’t offer any discounts on the AMC payments nor are they willing to extend the credit duration.Although there is also a group of vendors who have been kind enough to extend the credit period, “a seasoned CIO says on anonymity condition.