How to deal with a non-responsive implementation partner?


In the last post, we covered the importance of reference checks before signing the dotted lines. But, what in case you are stuck with a non-responsive implementation partner?

Your company has already signed up and implementing enterprise software. However, the vendor is not offering the level of service you expect. You have raised your concerns, but they fall on deaf ears.

How will you manage this situation?

In other words, what would you do to gain the vendor’s attention? Ultimately, you want the vendor to provide appropriate resources to deliver the outcome. As a Project Sponsor, you may have minimal influence over the implementation partner. So, how you can motivate them to give what you want?

Look, there is no silver bullet, but you can try the following tactics:

Think about what you can offer, and let the vendor know

  • References and leads: If the implementation partner delivers well, you will happily provide references and leads by talking to other companies in your industry
  • Investment in new modules: If the partner completes the work as per the plan, you will procure and implement new modules. If possible, make it time-bound (e.g. end of the Financial year).
  • Position and recognition: Get the partner (Sales or Operations lead) to be part of Project Steering Committees. Give them the recognition they deserve.

Think of things/privileges you can take away

  • Invoices: If the project does not move forward as per the plan, you will block the invoices for payment.
  • Put the project on hold: If the partner does not commit to the plan and provide the required resources, you may decide to put the project on hold.

It is the old carrot and sticks tactics. Ultimately it would be best if you look for a win-win scenario. To negotiate, you must understand which strings you can pull and things in your favour.

The bottom line is that if you are experiencing this issue, then do something about it asap!