Report Summary

Report: The Ideal Vendor Relationship
Date: Published October 2016, HRExaminer.com
Report Details: 66 pages, v1.5
Author: HRExaminer, John Sumser
Summary:In HR Enterprise Software, practitioner – vendor relationships are very important. Our research and 66-page report investigates how vendor relationships work in the HR Technology space. Report Details: Published October 2016, 66 pages, v1.5

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Report Detail

While we are interested in average and best fit, the real objective is to illuminate possibility: to increase choices for HR practitioners. Doing so requires that we blend quantitative and qualitative research methods. This report provides both.

We begin with an exploration of the issues and dynamics that affect and drive the relationship between vendor and practitioner in HRTechnology. Generally, we are examining relationships that center on software technology. We are trying to keep room for hardware, hardware related concerns, communications technologies, and organizations that straddle the definition of service and service provider.

This is the start of a large project that tries to define optimal relationship forms. In other words, we think that there are at least three ways to optimize the relationship. Less clear, but important to understand, are the ways to have the relationship run very ineffectively. We hope to be able to identify those circumstances in a way that allows a practitioner to recognize and correct.

It’s a complex arena that feels both simple and unfamiliar to the human beings who inhabit it.

While it seems easy to separate individuals from the organizations they belong to on both the customer and vendor sides, it is not always an accurate reflection of reality. On one level, a vendor’s sales and support teams are composed of unique individuals who act on their own volition. On another (and simultaneous) level, they are simply representatives of their home organization. The same is true of practitioners. They are at once individuals and representatives of their home culture. In both cases, ‘representatives of their home organization’ is a term of art that understates the importance of membership within groups inside of home territory.

Each organization, vendor and customer alike, are dynamic settings with internal and external motivations that have nothing to do with the relationship, but drive it nonetheless.

The vendor sits in the midst of ecosystems of partners, suppliers, and support organizations. The simple act of making something happen often involves elaborate choreography among competing parts of the vendor system.

The customer, in all of its complexity, is also enmeshed in a sea of mission-centric relationships. Practitioners may seem aligned from the vendors’ perspective, while in fact, they are at odds with each other over internal questions. With so much complexity, it is delightful when something actually gets done.

Yet, there is still more fundamental complexity.

The product itself is some sort of technology that helps the customer execute some of the HR workload. We decided to use the word product to describe the core deliverable in the vendor practitioner relationship. The term suggests something more nite than software. We will take a closer look at the nature of the product (software) in further research.

Each technology has a series of Life-Cycle Elements that require differing expertise on both sides of the relationship. The Evaluation (purchasing/selling) team is rarely the same group responsible for Implementation. Neither of those two groups does the long term Operations/Support for the Implementation. While some of support is concerned with refining the delivery of new customer requirements, the support teams are rarely the people who renegotiate the contract.

There is a chapter that describes the elements of a technology product Life-Cycle. As our research expands, we are going to examine the various ways that practitioners and their organizations manage and fund those elements. We look at the meanings and boundaries of Evaluation, Administration, Implementation, Training, Adoption, Operations/Support, Product, and the Overall Relationship. Each element has cost, schedule, quality, integration and execution implications.
Scale is also an important aspect to consider.

Our research covers HR entities regardless of size. The respondents come from all imaginable kinds and sizes of HR operations. That gives us the ability to distill insight about practitioner behavior based on organization size.

Chapter Summary

In the pages of the report, you’ll find the actions and attributes that characterize success:

  • Introduction
  • Pocket Guide
  • The Software LifeCycle
  • Discoveries
  • Findings
  • Cases: The Leading Edge
  • Conclusion
  • Methodology
  • About HRExaminer
  • About John Sumser


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