For all of the talk about the commoditisation of IT in the last decade, the amount of technology consumed within organisations that is truly of a commodity nature (in particular, is completely fungible) is very small. We build relationships with vendors and service providers, some key, some less so. Getting out of a purely customer/supplier relationship into something more strategic, more trusting, with key providers is a sensible strategy.

Trust seems to be the real key to effective relationships between people in different organisations, and it’s remarkable how many processes in corporates reduce trust by assuming that there is none.

Procurement processes that treat everything as interchangeable in particular don’t help. And in particular they put distance between provider and consumer just at the point when you want closeness to create trust.

As the web of suppliers that an organisation relies upon continues to grow, whole functions to manage the relationships effectively may be required. Much of this is new to the CIO.


I’ve recently launched Stamp London’s first physical product – a set of playing cards called CIO Priorities. You can find out more about them here, and order a set for yourself here (or simply download the PDF and print them out).

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