Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
When dealing with a vendor or client, many would like to think that they’re part of a strategic alliance, however this is not always a reality and problems can occur. This can be quite damaging to a software development project when relationships go sour, particularly if the project involves high expenditure and those involved have much to gain from its success.

“Due to the high risks and costs associated with software development projects, often there is a high level of intensity that can easily turn adversarial when things look like they may be going off the rails. In any client/vendor relationship, the strongest incentive for long-term success is an alignment of the benefits to both organisations,” commented Kareem Tawansi, CEO of software development provider, Solentive Software.

“This alignment does not necessarily mean that vendors should be incentivised financially should a project succeed for a client. Rewards for the vendor can come in many forms such as prestige, continuing business and referrals,” continued Kareem.

“To establish this alignment, vendors need to truly understand the client’s objectives so that they are able to support their clients in achieving them. A client, who understands the value of such a relationship, will always reward a vendor who undertakes this approach.

“However, there are instances when projects begin to fail and tensions are high. These situations are often a result of mismatched expectations caused by a breakdown in communication. This communication breakdown is not necessarily a lack of communication, but by ineffective communication – often the same words are used but may mean something completely different to the other party. Sometimes this misunderstanding occurs because a word may have two distinct meanings, but most of the time it’s because both parties work in different fields,” explains Kareem.

“To prevent such misunderstandings from occurring, both parties should build on their client/vendor relationship by getting to know each other on a technical and cultural basis. This understanding can be built as a by-product of an ongoing relationship, including regular work-related and social interactions.

“If a relationship ends up in an adversarial state, it often takes more energy to fix it than would have been needed to build a mutually beneficial relationship. It is best to deal with the other party as pragmatic as possible during a stage of friction to avoid further conflict. Sometimes taking this approach is not enough and leverage may be the only effective strategy. Leverage is best avoided unless no other options are available. In situations where you need to use leverage, it is best to finish the project with as little friction as possible and avoid further business dealings with each other once the project has ended,” advised Kareem.

If you are reliant on the vendor or client where the partnership has broken down, it would be wise to work on a long-term plan to reduce your dependence on the relationship.

Contact Profile

Solentive Software

Solentive Software specialises in custom software development and systems integration. You'll benefit from our real-world expertise in software built in .NET and Java that is task-matched for affordability and designed to grow with your business.
Kareem Tawansi
P: 1300 55 30 50


strategic supplier relationship, strategic partnership, client and vendor relationship, business partnership advice, Kareem Tawansi, Solentive Software CEO



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