Beyond price: Successful vendor selection often requires a deeper look

TechRepublic's Karen Roby talks with a software company exec who believes vendor selection goes way beyond price shopping.

Beyond price: Successful vendor selection often requires a deeper look

TechRepublic's Karen Roby talks with representatives from two companies that are seeing a positive result after forming a strategic partnership. The following is an edited transcript of their interviews.

Karen Roby: Tell us about how you approached your decision to hire a new vendor for your application monitoring service.

Ron Teeter: At the time it's very easy to get into this, "Oh, we'll go select a tool, and we'll pay the license fee, and we'll install it, and we'll run it." That's very traditional IT approach to how you work with your vendors. We took a different approach. We partner very deeply with our vendors. So, once we got to the point where we understood how AppDynamics works and where the potential lay for us, we partnered very deeply with them and started working on, "Okay, it's a great product, but it needs this. Here's the problem that we're seeing today. How can I leverage your product to work through those issues," and once we started engaging deeper, it just started this whole next level of communication, collaboration.

Karen Roby: Jobvite chose to move forward with AppDynamics, and they put into place a system aimed at predicting problems rather than reacting to them--action versus analysis.

Brian Paul: Through this, we derive machine learning and AI-based insights, and this enables us to automate IT tasks which ultimately frees up IT resources to engage with the business and drive innovation.

Karen Roby: Many IT leaders are conditioned to make vendor selections based solely on price, but considering other factors in addition to price can pay off.

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Ron Teeter: You have to take a different approach to it. You have to think about it strategically and say, "No, AppDynamics is going to be our tool," not because they're the cheapest one this year, right? That's the typical IT ploy. "Who's the cheapest one this year? I'll switch back and forth." But rather because I've got an invested strategic investment in my knowledge, in my skills. What we did is we took it a step further, and we built it into our code so that our deployment artifacts are pre-configured with AppDynamics in, in every environment we have. It's not even something a developer has to even think about now. It's just automatic. So just like, "Hey, I need a host, or I need a Kubernetes container to write my application," I'm automatically going to have the agent installed and configured correctly, and all of that is a strategic investment. Then you have to leverage, and say, "Well, I need to get the most out of it, so I need to learn how to use this tool even better."

Brian Paul: They've taken this view from end-to-end where they're looking at the customer value as they're developing, as they're deploying, and all the way through post-deployment, and by doing that, they're able to rapidly push out new developments, new features, new functions, but at the same time not sacrifice quality and the existing capabilities that they have out there. And so, by taking this complete 360-degree view, they've really upped their game.

Karen Roby: Through this strategic partnership, Jobvite is enjoying a smoother system that puts its engineers in a better place they say to develop and maintain a product that they can be proud of. For more articles and videos on issues related to vendors, make sure you check out TechRepublic.

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