Many CIOs are reducing the number of IT suppliers they use. Here’s a checklist to help you decide who should be on your list.

CIOs need suppliers to do the following:

1. Deliver products that solve problems. Suppliers must provide solutions that address the customer’s needs and not merely push their latest products. This requires careful listening and adaptability on the supplier’s part.

2. Present a business case. Suppliers should provide a customized business case that clearly describes scope and objectives and calculates ROI. Returns should be measured using the same metrics that your IT organization uses to evaluate other investments.

3. Sell through the IT organization. Many suppliers jeopardize IT continuity and antagonize the CIO by selling directly to business units or other non-IT executives.

4. Leash their sales forces. Historically, many IT suppliers have under-delivered. If you have suppliers like that, the last thing you want is to sign up for a repeat disappointment.

5. Offer enterprise agreements. In many organizations, multiple business units have separate contracts with the same supplier. Look for suppliers that offer enterprise-wide deals without being asked.

6. Communicate effectively. Choose suppliers that are up front about status changes, especially bad news.

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