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Vendor Management: Increasing Efficiency and Building Relationships

As software licenses become more complex and software prices rise, ITS has invested in vendor management as a way to reduce costs and avoid other costs associated with software purchases and software support and maintenance. Vendor management is a smart investment, especially with increased complexity as a result of the cloud and subscription-based software.

ITS created the role of vendor analyst manager/business systems analyst in 2015 with the arrival of Jeanne Mesiano, who spent a decade purchasing information technology for Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Created vendor and contract repository

For ITS, Mesiano is a central coordinator of software contracts that are strategically important for the department. She has created a repository of the vendors and the contracts that are critical to ITS infrastructure and strategies. The ITS leadership team can access that valuable information via SharePoint. The SharePoint contract-management site is used to track contracts and renewals and to make better informed procurement decisions. It also provides a dashboard to track savings.

“Because new technologies come out so fast, you want to have strategic vendors identified and relationships established so you’re able to move forward quickly,” Mesiano said.

Job is like being a detective

In the beginning, vendor management is hard to quantify because there is so much information to gather. “It’s kind of like being a detective,” Mesiano said. “We could have contracts from eight years ago and you’re allowed to renew for services for up to 10 years,” she said. “It’s finding out who initiated that contract and where to go to get a copy of that contract. Sometimes it requires looking through boxes of old purchase orders.”

Tracking information on contracts and vendors enables ITS to maximize savings and avoid certain costs, and evaluate products, services and vendor relationships. ITS has exceeded its savings expectations and cost-avoidance goals from establishing this vendor- and contract-management function.

Mesiano assists while not getting in the way of the various ITS units, their many contracts and their strong relationships with vendors. She focuses only on the contracts that ITS leaders have identified as strategically important.

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