The Vendor Evaluation Checklist Your Enterprise Needs

By Tori McClurg

Topics: Information management: Best Practice Guides

Many enterprises choose to outsource various functions to third-party vendors. In order to truly benefit from this relationship, you should evaluate your vendors on a regular basis.

By conducting a thorough vendor evaluation on a regular basis, you can work to protect all businesses involved and ensure compliance. When it comes to third-party relationships, there are a few key aspects that you should keep in mind. The below checklist provides a framework through which you should evaluate both your current and future vendors. This type of analysis can help you to determine whether or not another vendor may be a better fit.

Understand the Breadth of the Relationship

When you're establishing a relationship with a records management vendor, it's important for you to understand what you can expect from this particular provider. Once you're fully aware of all of the functions or services this vendor offers, you can determine whether or not the company meets your enterprise's needs.

Evaluate the Vendor's Risk Management Performance

In an age that seems as if the next security breach is always lurking around the corner, security should play a big role in all of your third-party relationships. As such, you should engage in periodic reviews, onsite visits, desktop audits and other relevant communications on a regular basis. Evaluate your vendor's performance against your company's goals, and then create new standards as needed.

Communicate With Your Internal Teams

It's important for all of your internal teams to be willing to work with your third-party vendors when necessary. After all, these relationships exist to help you simplify your day-to-day processes. If one executive puts a strain on the relationship, this interaction could negatively impact your success down the line. By communicating with your executives on a regular basis regarding the importance of the relationship, you can help to ensure that they will support your efforts.

Establish Performance Benchmarks

While your third-party vendor values your goals and business practices, it's important to remember that they are a separate entity. As such, you need to work with them to establish performance benchmarks. You should work to identify specific performance criteria for tracking and evaluating your suppliers on a regular basis. When identifying these criteria, it's best to ask yourself what makes the most sense for your enterprise. Whether you decide to perform this evaluation on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis, it's important for you to perform your analysis based on previously established goals.

Create an Effective Feedback Loop

You should never get too comfortable with your third-party vendors. In order to continually improve their performance, these companies need to receive effective feedback on a regular basis. In order to obtain the best results, you should ask your employees to get involved in the vendor evaluation process. Start by generating performance requirements, and then set up multiple options for feedback.

Your organization's relationship with its third-party vendors is valuable. If you take the time to conduct frequent vendor evaluations, both your organization and its vendors will benefit from a better business partnership. As always, you should also keep your eye out on the market to see if new vendors are coming out that may be more compliant with certain guidelines and requirements.

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