“Super-Sized Vendor Management and Vendor Governance": April Governance Forum

By Kashif Choudry

The April PMI Atlanta Governance Forum hosted Joseph Sisto, Director of the Global Sales and Marketing PMO at IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group). The topic chosen by Joe is called “Super-Sized Vendor Management and Vendor Governance”. The importance of Vendor Governance is becoming increasingly important for organizations and PMOs can be a true partner in addressing the challenges.

Joe focused his discussion on a massive transformation effort currently underway at IHG, which involves the replacement of the current Global Reservation System (GRS). As one can imagine, an effort of this scale involves an enormous budget and requires the ability to govern several large vendors.

GRS Program Governance includes the following functions, and every function requires vendor management / governance:

  • Program Planning and Project Management
  • Financial Governance
  • Program Governance / Performance
  • Process Standards & Tools
  • Program Reporting

One of the key takeaways from the discussion was that the PMO must work in lockstep with Procurement/Vendor Management. Joe’s experience in working with Vendor Partnerships has shown us that there are many facets to strategic vendor governance to ensure compliance and success.

Another key takeaway was the need to manage the relationship and setting expectations with Vendors/Partners. This includes the following:

  • Stakeholder relations
    o Congruence in reporting
    o Forecasting of dates
    o Meetings/Messages
  • Governance of Agreement
    o Changes and Amendments to Contract
  • Policy/behavior/ethics
    o Ethical Behavior in compliance
    o Alignment with our company policies
    o Hotel interactions

The key message was that while some things may appear obvious within the organization, for example: reporting congruence (definitions of green, yellow, red); these have to be spelled out with vendors. Otherwise, the situation can spiral out of control quickly. It pays to invest in spending the time up-front to clearly set the expectations with the vendors. Joe mentioned that when the GRS program kicked off, he painstakingly walked the vendors through the expectations.

Special thanks to Joe Sisto for sharing the lessons learned and thought leadership. This is the second time that Joe has presented at the PMI Governance Forum, and we appreciate his willingness to share valuable ideas with the Atlanta PMI community.

We would also like to thank our sponsors at Global Payments for being our steady and supportive hosts for 3+ years.

If you would like to learn more about Governance and the value it brings to projects, please join us at a future forum. The calendar can be found on the PMI Atlanta website

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