It may be a cliche, but one of the most critical elements to the long-term success of your database is a high level of trust between you and your software vendor. You have to view your vendor as a partner in your success (and you a partner to their success). You can’t view the relationship as a zero-sum game where if you gain, they lose, and vice versa.
When a potential client calls me and tells me they’re interested in looking for a new association management system, one of the questions I ask them is which system they are currently working with and what kind of relationship they have with the vendor. Very frequently, I find that the level of trust between the association and the vendor has degraded to the point that the association doesn’t believe anything the vendor tells them. This is not the type of relationship you’re looking for.
So what is the key to a trusting relationship? Communication. My most successful clients are continually communicating with their vendor, letting them know what’s working, what’s not working, what new initiatives are taking place, and so on. And like all relationships, it isn’t all wine and rose. Sometimes there are very difficult discussions that have to occur, but most importantly, conversations are occurring. Both parties are talking. And they’re both focused on success.
Here’s a little more I had written about seven years ago.