What are the warning signs of a dysfunctional partnership?

A good indicator of a partner or vendor’s investment is how they react when you’re dealing with a severe or critical event. If they can put themselves in our shoes and understand the customer criticality and how much we impact the users, that really speaks volumes. We were working with two different vendors, one on top of the other with abstraction. We were bleeding out of a data center and each vendor was blaming the other. I finally called up both of the CIOs and said, "I don't care who is right or wrong, I'm suffering and so are my people. We need to work this together and make sure it happens." One vendor stepped in and really helped. They flew in resources. They understood the magnitude of the situation and were pairing with us to resolve it. The other vendor just said, "Okay, they’re handling it, I'm out." It's their fault. And they felt happy about it. The next time when the Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) renewal came, we said, "Sorry, we don't want to work with you. You're not a true partner, you're just being a vendor. You think that we have to depend on you, but that's not the case."

Anonymous Author
A good indicator of a partner or vendor’s investment is how they react when you’re dealing with a severe or critical event. If they can put themselves in our shoes and understand the customer criticality and how much we impact the users, that really speaks volumes. We were working with two different vendors, one on top of the other with abstraction. We were bleeding out of a data center and each vendor was blaming the other. I finally called up both of the CIOs and said, "I don't care who is right or wrong, I'm suffering and so are my people. We need to work this together and make sure it happens." One vendor stepped in and really helped. They flew in resources. They understood the magnitude of the situation and were pairing with us to resolve it. The other vendor just said, "Okay, they’re handling it, I'm out." It's their fault. And they felt happy about it. The next time when the Enterprise License Agreement (ELA) renewal came, we said, "Sorry, we don't want to work with you. You're not a true partner, you're just being a vendor. You think that we have to depend on you, but that's not the case."
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Anonymous Author
When I would think about how I want to work with a partner and rectify or remediate a situation, I would be very conscious that none of these partnerships are perfect. I know that perhaps my organization hasn't been the best partner in certain scenarios because they felt constrained. It's a very different scenario for us tech CIOs who have been on both sides, whereas the CIO of [a large infrastructure or industrial organization is, generally speaking, partnering and procuring all this stuff. I think they come from a different perspective or expectation, because they're not on both sides of a lot of these scenarios. It doesn't excuse poor customer service or not doing the right things. But for everything we're asking for, from a partner, somebody is asking our company to do those same things. That does give tech CIOs a more challenging role than those in other industries.
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Anonymous Author
With one would-be partner that I've been with for some time, we were having some clear scaling issues that we were trying to resolve and they had a large engineering team in another region. I remember telling them, "We're in crisis mode. You're in client rescue mode at this moment." And I asked to set up a call in the afternoon, but they said, "That's not convenient for our team." So I said, "If you're wondering what the problem is in this relationship, it's that I'm not convenient enough for you. On that note, goodbye." They felt like they’d really tried but I said, "I don't think you think about customer experience as much as I do." They argued that they do but I told them, "We have a very different definition of what a good customer experience looks like." It was actually good technology at a particular stage, and probably would have worked in the long term, but partnerships are not built on technology. They're built on people, support, relationships, execution, all of those things. It's the entire package, and people typically forget that.
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