Archive for February, 2010

Negotiating basics

February 21st, 2010

Continuing on from last week’s theme, we’ve had a few comments asking for some more negotiation Quick Tips. So here we go:

1/ Always separate the people from the problem

2/ Focus on interests not positions

3/ Generate options before you start, and then continue to generate new options as the negotiation develops

4/ Don’t be too rigid; aim to be flexible

5/ Be aware when the time requires assertiveness, or passivity, or manipulation or aggression

6/ Know what you want

7/ If you don’t ask, you don’t get

8/ Find out what they want

9/ Control the time; you decide what happens and when

10/ Ask Silver Bullet to coach and mentor you if you feel unsure about what to do or when

Remember; negotiation is fun, negotiation is good, and negotiation makes the world go round.

Some quick tips to help you negotiate better deals with your IT suppliers

February 15th, 2010

Purchasing IT and associated service agreements can be daunting for any business. Mark Bartrick, Managing Director at Silver Bullet Associates advises businesses to be careful. At a recent IT Forum dinner, Mark was asked to outline some quick tips on how to successfully negotiate IT contracts.

If a business lacks IT negotiation experience, turn to a consultant. 
Consultants like Silver Bullet Associates can save businesses a lot of time and money because they have ‘been there, done that’ before.  

Remember that all contracts are negotiable.
While a vendor might say a client is getting its standard contract, it is only standard because the vendor says so. If you don’t like it, negotiate a better one.

When it comes to pricing, the devil is in the details.
Itemise bundled pricing. Demand clarity of discounting. Spread payments out. Just like working with a home contractor, paying for everything at once can reduce leverage with a vendor if there’s a problem later. Also be sure contract cancellation policies are clear.

Be creative and persistent in efforts to lower prices.
If the sales rep can’t or won’t lower prices, ask who has the authority to do it and go to him or her.

Don’t accept the first price they offer.
You’ve got to push as hard as you can without destroying the long-term relationship.

Consider signing a multi-year contract in certain cases.
For emerging technologies, it may be better to go year-by-year, but for some software, a multi-year contract makes sense to get better pricing.

Get information from peers.
Talk to other businesses; compare notes on products and vendors.

Spell everything out.
Although it’s more work, put “deliverables”—specifics of what a product will do at what time—in the contract. It can even include consequences if the products don’t perform as expected. A service-level agreement might say, for example, that for every hour a server is down, the vendor credits the client money.  

SAP licencing changes reduce your maintenance options

February 8th, 2010

Beware; the SAPman cometh. It appears as though SAP will be including new language into their licencing Agreements which may limit the contractual rights of its customer, potentially disallowing any future termination of maintenance and support services.  Hidden within a plethora of recent SAP announcements was the fact that SAP’s plans now include new language that suggests the only way it will contemplate any kind of maintenance and support services termination is if it applies to all its licensed software.  Clearly, SAP is responding to increased threats of competing support alternatives which allow SAP users to have some elements of their SAP portfolio supported by cheaper third parties. This “all or nothing” approach would appear tobe a straight forward attempt to eliminate a client’s ability to manage any kind of blended support solution and so reducing a client’s ability to pick and choose what is supported by SAP and what is not.