I was recently approached by an old acquaintance. He seems to be in charge of company who is official partner of say some major international technology brand, say for example Cisco. As I understood it of course he wants companies to buy his product.

Here, comes the thing. He apparently wants that I suggest this product at my job- I work at governmental organization (military).

But I am hesitating to approach my boss with this offer/idea: can it backfire at me? Will bringing this up make others look badly at me? I have never been in such situation and not sure what is right course of action.

  • @JoeStrazzere I don't know if I would recommend because it is not my area but I think I would not be too wrong to say it is world famous brand – user117345 Apr 9 '20 at 16:51
  • @JoeStrazzere Yeah I lost access to initial account. Now that I think there is some chance this product could interest them. But you advise against it still? Might I learn why? See below answer too. – user117349 Apr 9 '20 at 17:18
  • @JoeStrazzere Also wonder what would I say as excuse to my friend why I didn't do it? In case I don't – user117351 Apr 9 '20 at 17:31

Yes, bringing this up can look bad for you. It can also look great. It depends on several things:

  • first, how genuinely useful the product or service is. In many large organizations, this is defined by "we already buy it", not by some separate objective measure of which you can convince your boss
  • second, what benefit (lower price, faster delivery, better service) your friend's company can offer, and therefore you can be credited with finding
  • third, the extent to which your discussions make it clear you are putting the needs of your employer first and foremost, not trying to help a friend or help yourself (in the form of a commission, future job, favour etc.)
  • fourth, what turf-defending (only the purchasing department handles purchasing) or anti-corruption measures exist in your organization
  • fifth, what special measures are ok right now in the pandemic that otherwise wouldn't be

So, if you work at a military hospital and a small startup is making PPE and offering it at cost, you double-time to whoever will listen and let them know about your great opportunity. But if you work in an admin department using 50 year old software written in-house and your buddy wants you to get your boss to spend several million replacing it with something written quickly by an outsider that almost certainly can't handle your special situations, you keep your mouth firmly shut. And for anything in between, a casual mention of the information you have learned (I know someone who provides X and thinks it might be useful for us, let me know if you want an introduction) is probably harmless.

  • Thanks for response, lost account access will post it from another. Yes I was only planning something along the lines of: "I know someone who provides X and thinks it might be useful for us, let me know if you want an introduction". Because I don't know how useful that can be to them: it might be, might not. Take Cisco even for example some might already have it. I also don't know any more details what discounts they will get etc. So yeah maybe I can do that harmless mentioning you said but not even directly to boss or someone lower? Not sure will have to think .. – user117342 Apr 9 '20 at 16:19
  • if you have further advice, will be glad to listen. ps its not necessarily now, could be in future when pandemic slows down – user117342 Apr 9 '20 at 16:19

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