Business Continuity & Vendor Assessment – Tip #2 – You Have to Partner


Please find the second tip in my series on vendor assessment originally posted here on LinkedIn:

Text of the post below.

In the previous tip in this series on vendor assessment related to my upcoming presentation at DRJ Springworld 2017, I covered the basic idea that a business continuity practitioner must accept the fact that they just cannot assess every vendor. In large organizations, this is especially true. In this brief tip, I want to touch on another key to success to do this work on a shoestring budget.

Yes, as the tip title states, you have to partner with others in the organization. If you are lucky, you can partner with a centralized vendor management business unit or a legal department. If you are partially lucky, you can partner with various contracting / purchasing people throughout the organization. If you are unlucky, no one returns your calls!

Getting a partner in place may require some sales tactics. Try these:

  1. Generally, you are there to reduce risk to the organization and most partners want that as well.  Find that common ground.
  2. Assure the partner that the assessment of the vendor will be non-threatening and have minimal impact to any selection process timetable.
  3. Offer up data. As a potentially centralized point of information about all the business processes in the company, you can offer data on what vendors the various areas of the company are already using (if their business continuity plans are complete). This is a potential treasure trove of information for a centralized vendor management area!

As a side note, I want to emphasize sales tactic #3. This is good to keep in mind for just about anything you might need from any area in the organization. If you have at least some support from upper management, you will be accumulating valuable business process, systems, interaction and vendor information from everywhere in the organization. Do not underestimate the value of this!

Once you have a partner in place, you need to increase the speed of trust between the two of you. Offer them a road-map of how a basic assessment could be done and show them that you do NOT want to assess every vendor (see tip #1). Then, move on to tip #3… Create a non-threatening assessment questionnaire and show it to them. Now you have the potential to be able just have your partner hand the assessment to the vendor during the selection process with no impact to your own (shoestring) budget. What you do with the assessment comes later.