Why renegotiating IT contracts can be a months-long time-sink

Some IT professionals are juggling up to 11 vendor contracts at once, taking them weeks or even months to renegotiate.

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Nearly half of IT professionals spend weeks or even months attempting to renegotiate their contracts with suppliers while simultaneously juggling multiple agreements, according to a new report.

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A survey of 1,300 IT professionals by Ivanti found that 35% of respondents spent weeks trying to renegotiate terms with vendors each year, while 13% reported it being a months-long endeavor.

At the same time, half of respondents reported working with upwards of 11 vendors, highlighting just how time consuming and burdensome the role of contract management has become for IT managers.

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The Ivanti survey served to highlight the benefits of adopting a unified approach to IT. It argued that doing so could make it easier for organisations to track and manage data across various silos, as well as cut down the number of vendors they have to manage relationships with.

David Shepherd, Ivanti's area VP for pre-sales EMEA, explained that businesses often separated departments with different IT islands, to break down overarching goals. However, he added that this approach sometimes led to problems if departmental teams had opposing priorities.

"The crux of this issue is that, due to their siloed nature and varied priorities, IT organizations are relying on an extensive list of vendors," Shepherd told TechRepublic.

"By adopting unified IT, businesses can ensure their approach to endpoint management, security and enterprise service management is streamlined. This will not only cut down on the number of vendors relied upon by the business, but will assist with balancing priorities from different teams, such as patching, incident resolution and IT reporting." 

To deliver across various IT priorities, businesses are employing a growing list of vendors: 50% of respondents to Ivanti's survey said they were working with more than 11 different suppliers, while 20% worked with between five and seven, and 16% said they worked with between eight and 10.

Naturally, this is having a significant impact on contract negotiation time. Less than one fifth (19%) of IT professionals said negotiating their contracts took a matter of hours each year. That compares to 33% that spend days, 35% that spend weeks and 13% that spend months battling this endeavor.

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Needless to say, this makes operations reports a significant time-sink for IT professionals. Over a typical month, 52% reported spending hours pulling these together, compared to 20% who said this only took a matter of minutes.

For 22%, this task took days to complete, with 6% saying they spent weeks doing it – again highlighting the less glamorous side of modern IT management roles.

According to Ivanti, most IT professionals agree that a unified approach to IT can bring numerous benefits, including consistent data across systems and IT departments (identified by 70% of respondents), improved user experience (61%), consistent and aligned processes across IT departments (59%), and cost-saving (58%).

Shepherd said that by unifying their approach to IT, businesses could improve collaboration and communication between departments, and ensure each team is running the same software, systems and processes. 

"This will allow businesses to experience heightened productivity and efficiency within the workforce, as ease of use and user experience improves, as well as cost and time savings, as IT professionals no longer have to spend as long working on vendor contracts," he said.

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