Vendors and consultants can have a great relationship that will serve the financial institution if the relationship is first predicated on trust.
Technology and regulations are changing so fast that financial institutions are hard pressed to keep up. Community financial institutions don’t have the resources to keep pace, and this causes a great amount of frustration.
Consultants and Vendors
The relationship between vendors and industry consultants can be strained at times, but no matter how you look at it, consultants serve a vital and increasingly important role. Technology is becoming more and more complicated, and consultants do the heavy lifting for community financial institutions when it comes to societal research, trends, and sorting out the technical details.
Vendors also conduct research, develop strategies, and make the commitment and corresponding investment in relevant technologies and products. To be clear, making the commitment and investment is huge, and vendors want to be assured by virtue of the industry dialogue, that they are acknowledged and recognized for this and given a fair and unbiased opportunity to be considered as an option.
Community Financial Institutions
Community financial institutions can benefit from an independent, but strong vendor-consultant collaborative environment. When the consulting firm listens, and the vendor responds to the strategic direction presented to them by the consultant you have a powerful combination with the product serving the client.
The Quest for a Service Oriented Attitude (SOA)
When looking for vendor, they should be transparent and provide a thorough and detailed response to any Request for Information or Proposal (RFI or RFP). They should present a simple contract proposal, be forthcoming with references, and be more concerned about you the client and not preoccupied about the sale. They must know about your institution, your market, and what challenges your institution faces. They want to teach as opposed to train.
Finally, the basis of your search should be to cultivate relationships with vendors that offer a Service Oriented Attitude (SOA). Trust and service are the key ingredients to a strong and mutual relationship.
When you find a vendor that possess these qualities, treat them well and they will become a true resource for your institution that can be trusted.