Renewal might seem like the easy option
Many organisations opt for renewal because they simply haven’t left themselves time or they don’t have enough resources to take any other course of action. In any event, if the service you receive already is reasonable or good, or you need continuity of service for some other business reason, you may go for the easy option and simply renew. However, don’t let shortage of time be the driver.
Different strategies for different services
It’s true that competitive contract tenders can take time, although how long depends on the technology in question and how an enterprise resources and manages the activity.
For example, you could tender a contract for mobile services with around six months to go before the renewal date, as these types of services are undergoing less technological change at present and there are fewer aspects to consider. In fact, a straight forward renewal once suitable SLAs and pricing have been determined might work if the current mobile estate is working for you.
However, tendering something more complex like a WAN network may take anything up to a year or 18 months as it will take time to gather information about system requirements and consider different options. Often, changing supplier for this type of service also prompts a reconsideration of the entire network and whether a different arrangement could work better for you. Likewise, if you plan to change the underlying structure of your WAN network then it makes sense to put this contract to tender to find out what different contractors propose and how prices differ.
Where services are bundled with one provider, it usually makes sense to go to tender if any one part of the package is seeing major technological change. A simple renewal could mean that you miss out on opportunities to take advantage of technological advances that could improve a key service.
If the contract for your complete service package is coming to an end, you need to leave plenty of time to offer these for tender. Around one year to 18 months should be appropriate for most businesses.