Stories by Joe Auer

Never, Ever Agree to 'Evergreen' Clauses

Vendors know that information technology professionals don't manage contracts very well. As a result, many of the form contracts that vendors use contain an "evergreen" clause. This clause provides for the automatic extension of the agreement if the vendor isn't notified by a certain date a few years down the road, when no one has seen the contract for a while or there are new people in charge of the project for which the deal was done. When challenged about the clause, the vendor usually responds by stating that it "just makes things easy."

Driving the Deal: Start with Team Effort

Using a multidisciplinary negotiating team can go a long way toward ensuring that your high-tech procurement process is a success. There's no better way to counter what you'll face on the other side of the bargaining table: the supplier's highly trained team of full-time sales and negotiation professionals, who are working to make sure the supplier assumes as little risk as possible and maximizes its financial gain.

Vendors' 'Can't' May Not Mean 'No'

How often have you heard a vendor's representative say, "I can't do that?" Most of the time can't means I don't want to. By saying "can't," the vendor's negotiator is trying to create the illusion that your demand is impossible - without explaining why. Many inexperienced customers fold their tents and move on to the next topic when "can't" is heard.

Keep Corporate Changes in Mind

Often we see an organization going through significant organizational or operational changes -- a merger, an acquisition or divestiture, a major restructuring, a reorganization of data centers or an IT outsourcing.