Careers Special Report 2015

Sharpen your vendor management skills

The changing vendor landscape means IT must forge tighter partnerships with service providers and third-party vendors. Here are the skills you should have in your back pocket.

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There's a seismic shift occurring in IT shops across North America. Traditional vendor relationships are giving way to a brand-new power paradigm in which IT leaders dictate terms and conditions while vendors scramble to meet them. No longer are techie-vendor encounters limited to product pitches and service-level agreements, with minimal contact between the two parties until license renewal time.

Rather, as the vendor landscape changes, organizations are creating tighter partnerships with service providers and third-party vendors. And those changes are requiring technology professionals to learn a new set of skills.

For starters, progressive IT shops are assigning their most valuable assets — their employees — to work in business units, where they're in charge of a growing number of complex vendor partnerships. In fact, in Computerworld's 2015 IT Careers Survey, 40% of the respondents said vendors have become more involved with IT projects. Many user companies are pursuing deeper partnerships with service providers and third-party vendors as a way of sharing skills and reducing overall costs.

At the same time, today's cloud-based approach to enterprise IT and the competitive marketplace are forcing vendors to step up their games and treat IT buyers as key decision-makers, not as replaceable end users.

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