Businesses are committed to spending on digital transformation in 2023 and ahead but must review and negotiate commercial terms with vendors says Ranjith Kaippada at Cloud Box.
As we move into 2023, digital transformation leads need to anticipate the possibility of market and revenue slowdown impacting their annual purchase decisions and ahead. A Gartner survey in July 2022, found that 69% plan to increase their spend on digital technologies, while the 2023 Gartner CIO and Technology Executive Survey found that CIOs are being tasked with accelerating time to value on digital investments.
While Gartner’s 2023 forecast indicates IT decision makers pressing ahead with digital transformation and IT spending, budgets will still need to be released internally. And that means reviews and replanning with finance.
Moreover, digital transformation leads must anticipate these pressures extending for a period of six months to 24 months. By doing this proactively, technology leads are protecting ongoing digital transformation projects, investments into future innovation and continuing to build resiliency for the future organisation.
Here are some measures forward looking organisations and their technology leads can initiate internally. It is also recommended to bring in their trusted digital transformation partners into these cost management exercises at an early stage of the upcoming financial cycles.
In order to make progress with leading vendor suppliers it is important to have a list of expectations being considered as part of the negotiations.
Here are some steps that technology heads need to initiate in conjunction with finance and business heads.
#1 Art of negotiation
In order to sit with leading vendor suppliers at the table, technology heads must have a list of tactics and concessions to keep these important vendor relationships in play throughout this period and avoid confrontation. Vendor suppliers will not yield easily to requests for renegotiation and yielding to concessions from customers unless they see immediate and longer-term benefits in their relationship.
Technology decision makers must detail the reasons for requesting concessions from vendor suppliers; they must be able to convince them that short term cooperation will yield longer term benefits. They can also explore benefits other than immediate pay-outs.
Technology heads can also invite vendor suppliers to advise on how to boost the organisation’s productivity to reach well defined and challenging improvement metrics.
During the above negotiations, technology heads must continue to evaluate alternative vendors in terms of offerings and price to boost their ability to negotiate with existing vendor suppliers. They must also have completed an exercise of internal rationalisation of major vendor suppliers.
#2 Reworking vendor relationships
Major vendor suppliers need to be informed about the ongoing internal initiatives being taken by technology heads. Public statements by vendor suppliers can be reviewed on how they plan to support customers in the time of market contraction.
In order to make progress with leading vendor suppliers it is important to have a list of expectations being considered as part of the negotiations. These initiatives could include moving away from annual payments into more frequent periodic payments; setting maximum payment ceilings for a specified period of time; extending service contracts to include additional technology infrastructure not covered rather than initiating fresh contracts with new and higher price terms.
They should also highlight longer term business benefits with major vendor suppliers to avoid breakdown in the working relationship of any sort.
#3 Schedule of payments
To make meaningful changes for the organisation’s finance department, technology heads must review and reduce the schedule of upcoming payments. To achieve this technology heads can initiate and review a number of activities. This could include moving to the lower slabs of a SaaS subscription; selecting a product option with fewer features and hence lower slab rate; initiating consumption-based pricing wherever it has not been selected as yet.
In the area of services, technology heads can reduce service levels or terminate service contracts for older and commoditised product versions; for other products they can terminate the service contracts with vendors and negotiate lower and more competitive rates with third party service suppliers; they should initiate DevOps to manage high technology infrastructure costs and usage for IaaS and PaaS.
It is imperative that technology heads and their trusted channel partners work proactively on these measures. It is only with tangible results such as reduced cyclic spending and improved cash flow for the finance department can they ensure that longer term investments in digital transformation initiatives are sustained and maintained.
While Gartner’s 2023 forecast indicates IT decision makers pressing ahead with digital transformation, budgets will still need to be released internally.
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