Some of the activities encompassed in IT Services include:
- Software and system development
- Support and maintenance
- One off integration
When engaging a third-party provider, strategies can vary, however it is key to consider the scope of the third party versus the internal teams. What are the core skills or crown jewels that you would not want to compromise through outsourcing? It has been easy in some organisations for an IT Services supplier to ‘grow legs’ and become an intrinsic part of the IT infrastructure, more or less impossible to remove without significant cost and pain.
To avoid this pain and once the scope has been defined, the following areas should be addressed:
- Finding the right partner
- Implementing the third-party service
- Managing the partner
This blog explores these areas and some of the gotchas to watch out for so that engaging a third party is a pleasure rather than a painful experience.
Finding the right partner
There is a plethora of different suppliers out there, starting with the ‘super suppliers’ who can cover every type of skill set and requirement to the boutique specialist agencies who will better suit a niche provision.
Whoever you are looking for we would recommend, as a minimum, investigating:
- Day rates – consider the skill set, experience, location.
- Location of resources – would you prefer resources onshore/ nearshore/ offshore?
- Specialism – are you looking for a specific software/ build to be supported?
- Data access – what are the security requirements for your organisation? What level of data will be accessed?
- Milestones – what are the key deliverables for a project integration? When should payments be made?
- Miscellaneous – what hardware is required? Do resources require any clearance?
Once the shortlist of suppliers has been defined, a selection process should be run to ensure consistent and coherent governance.
Implementing the service
Introducing a third-party service provider (TSP) into an organisation can be a challenge depending on the reasoning behind their engagement. Lessons we have learned along the way include:
- Change – are internal teams impacted? Consider how the supplier will be managed, engage the internal teams in the operating methodology and review meetings.
- Knowledge – is there knowledge that needs to be transferred? What tool and mechanism can be implemented?
- Governance – consider your IT governance model and where the third-party fits in. Clearly define the boundaries and ensure all parties are aware to avoid any cross over.
Most importantly share the key terms of the contract with your internal teams, as well as how new projects can be undertaken, there will be obligations that need to be delivered and failure to do so will lead to unmitigated risk.
Managing the partner
Once the agreement is signed and the service has been implemented the journey does not end there! Given the nature of IT Services and how instrumental it is to any IT landscape, it is imperative that supplier relationship management governance is followed to get the best value from the supplier and the agreement.
Regular service reviews should be held with the third-party account management and potentially team leaders, as well as internal service management and team leads. Key points to review are:
- Performance – Delivery and quality
- Resourcing – issues and levels
- Pipeline – current, future and closed projects
- Risks – including assumptions and dependencies.
It is at this point it becomes clear if the supplier is meeting the obligations that were agreed in the contract, the service is being delivered as anticipated and the engagement has met the objectives that were set. If the answer to all these questions is yes, then congratulations!
If you think we can help, we’re all ears, so please get in touch.