by Chuck Crafton, Principal of Vendor Explorer and Adjunct Instructor for Project Management Experts
As organizations continue to rely on their strategic software & services vendors, senior management and project managers in the organization should review who these strategic vendors are, evaluate the return on the investment, and ensure that value is being realized.  This only gets more complicated as the number of vendors engaged is expected to grow substantially, making even more imperative that organizations establish the discipline and rigor associated with a Best-in-Class Vendor Management Office (VMO).

A Best-In-Class VMO demonstrates their value to the organization through the implementation of consistent processes & procedures followed by clear and concise communication to all organizational stakeholders. There are specific objectives and measures that define the effectiveness and best practices of the VMO, including:

>  Improved Vendor Relationships (Coordination, Communications, Collaboration)

>  Centralized Contract & Procurement Management

>  Governance (Consistency, Compliance, Centralized)

>  Capital & Life-Cycle Expense Monitoring/Budgeting

>  Leveraging Multivendor Integration

>  Issue & Dispute Resolution Management

>  Performance & Outcome Monitoring/Management (Analytics, Reporting, and BI)

>  Request & Change Review, Analysis, and Impact Management

>  Transition, Migration, and Implementation Oversight

>  Vendor Risk Identification, Assessment, and Mitigation Management

>  Documentation & Artifact Retention Management

>  Centralized Organizational Policy & Procedure Application Management

The successful implementation of a VMO necessitates a comprehensive approach and methodology with hundreds of policies and procedures defined, and documented, along with the leverage of applicable tools and techniques overlaid with well-defined communications protocol.  The level of success will be determined by the ability to coordinate and combine each of these critical activities into a Best-in-Class VMO which is aligned to the organizational goals and objectives.  With the establishment of a committed and evolving VMO, the organization can expect substantial value realization from the vendor relationships and facilitate the execution of the business objectives.