How to eliminate costly communication chaos between your Team & Vendor
In the cozy confines of your department, your people communicate pretty well. Perhaps you’re even lucky enough to have ‘that guy’ with a sixth sense of when a module is about to crash and warns everyone in advance. Thus, saving you downtime and money.
But what about when you need to communicate with multiple external vendors to get things working? If external vendors and your team aren’t on the same page, or resent working together, precious time and dollars will be frittered away trying to resolve communication chaos.
What is communication chaos?
Let’s say your SAP system is running out of space. Unfortunately, you can’t just handle that internally. You’ll need to contact the database owner to increase database space, then increase disk space by contacting the OS owner, storage owner and hardware virtualization owner.
If you don’t have clear communication protocols in place for a situation as simple as this, all kinds of chaos can happen.
It starts when new external vendors don’t get brought to speed on your process, and culture of communication. This leaves people assuming someone else will take care of the problem. When the problem finally turns into costly repairs or downtime, fingers start pointing, while blame and resentment builds between your team and external people. On future bigger problems, people drag their feet, and some even sabotage other’s efforts.
How to stop communication chaos before it starts
First: Identify clear owners for all activities. This will keep a clear line of responsibility and ownership. The owners for SAP, OS, Database, Storage, Hardware and Virtualization have to be identified.
Second: All respective owners should do periodic health checks and maintenance to ensure that their owned resource is working as per expectation / communicate potential problems.
Finally: Hire a knowledgeable in house team member with the expertise to manage communication between all the various people involved. Technical SAP skills aren’t enough. They must be like a savvy baseball manager who masterfully shuttles the right player in out of the lineup based on their skills and situation. Your budget’s health is directly tied to them knowing when to solve a problem internally, and when to use vendors to solve a problem.
What if you don’t have someone who can facilitate team to vendor communications?
Who wouldn’t love to have an in house person with broad knowledge in all areas of SAP, database, backups and hardware to anticipate what problems are coming. And, can communicate in advance with the vendors?
Even if you don’t have someone who is perfect for the spot, you do have someone who can fill in while you look for outside help. Ironically, your vendors can often recommend someone who’d be perfect for that job. Or, if they specialize in mid-size outsourcing, can even recruit and manage the person for you.
Clean up communication between your team and vendors and your budget will thank you
IT directors are often stunned when they analyze how much more time they spend fixing communication mishaps than technical issues. As long as humans are involved, costly communication breakdowns will happen.
But it doesn’t have to be.
If you identify clear owners of all actives, have those owners do periodic health checks and communicate potential problems, you’ll be on your way. But when you ensure there’s a go-to expert who can be your communication facilitator, you’ll be able to use your budget for more important things — like upgrading your modules and team’s SAP expertise.
If you’d like some help putting these steps into practice, give us a call (or fill the form below and send to us). We’re happy to meet and discuss your situation.