or LinkedIn here http://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy
I was reading a great little on-line forum discussion about annual maintenance payments on software etc this week. Well it is practically the end of March, budgets should be all in, those annual re-occurring invoices will be dropping on RSL door mats just about now. Should customers be trying to challenge those? That's assuming that a reality check has already been done to ensure we are not paying for any things that we really shouldn't be?
It is important to always have sight of who the customer and supplier is in the relationship. Some people do think it's best to constantly beat up your supplier to let them know, who is in charge. I only encountered one customer like that in my tenure as MD of one of the HMS suppliers to medium to larger RSL's. It's fair to say it was hard to go out of my way, or get my team to, confronted with that mindset. So broadly I would not suggest that is a viable strategy personally. My buttons are more easily pressed by people who work with me as a partner, with respect being a two way street.
Annual maintenance, particularly on Housing Management Systems can really rack up. RPI (or more likely CPI lately, which is more en-vogue), over 10 years, even 2% or less, can mean that every 3 years, you effectively buy your system again. As anyone should realise, on a new procurement, bargains can be had, unavailable to existing customers. You know, just like renewing your AA each year. It can be cheaper just to start again. Now, readers, please don't assume that is my default tack, because it certainly isn't.
Changing your HMS is a formidable and expensive task. Always better to have pushed what you have as much as possible, before throwing the towel in. However, what if you are actually satisfied relatively with what you have, and costs are escalating?
Challenging invoices can be very productive, savings can be made. A good relationship with your suppliers, account managers is essential. Having been a supplier I am aware of some of the pressures and limitations. Having said that, it was always easier to contribute to charitable enterprises to offset costs and of course it provides a social outcome in a housing sector devoted to building and creating sustainable neighbourhoods.
Without asking, you will never get. if you do manage or are linked to a food bank, furniture project, training academy etc, that is far easier for your supplier to contribute to. The prose of publicity that will show everyone in the best light, sweetens the arrangement. In contrast to the hardnosed aspect of negotiation, it is a much easier prospect.
What could you do to cut your IT & systems budget and also create some social capital?
Related Post: Have you embraced 'Big Data', or are you still struggling with 'Big Paper'?
You can link with me on LinkedIn here - http://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy It would be great to connect !
Skunk Anansie - Charity.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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