When Your Key Vendor Fails

I’ve been reading with sadness about the demise of a well known NY based managed service provider (MSP) providing outsourced IT service and support to various NY area businesses.

The news got me thinking about two things:
1. What can businesses do to ensure that they key vendors they work with are sustainable and will be around for the long haul.
2. What happens if the business goes out of business – affecting YOUR customers and business?
In these days when so many of us rely on hosted applications from companies that could be across the country it might sound impractical to visit the company in person, but that’s what I suggest. If they are local this is a must.
If you are going to, for example, turn over all your company’s telecommunication system to a vendor – you really want to know the business (infrastructure) and people behind it.
If you know that if the vendor goes out of business or disrupts your phone system in any way, they will severely mess up your business – it’s worth the $1,000 plane trip and hotel to see their operations.
If they do indeed go out of business you need to consider a back up plan, just like you would a backup plan for your business in the event of a natural (hey after 9-11 it’s not just natural) or human disaster.
I’ve been using Hypermart as my web and email host for years – they are 100% flawless. Just called them today about a problem – Saturday and they were on the phone in about 30 seconds.
I use Google for online services such as advertising, web traffic reporting and some light email. That’s about it.
I’m guessing that many of your businesses rely on payroll, accounting, HR, telecommunication, email and more to run your business. If you don’t really know the vendor providing these services – take the time to find out.