Whenever I’m asked which are the key elements that underpin successful IT outsourcing engagements, I always think that the best comparison to make is with the foundations of a strong, enduring marriage. Both require a great deal of patience, collaboration, communication and trust. Similarly, in both cases, the ability of channel-focused organisations to find a partner with a shared set of values can be the secret of sustained success.
It stands to reason that the most effective IT outsourcing relationships between IT services providers and users are built on a foundation of commonality. For this reason, a willingness on both sides to view the relationship as a ‘partnership’ and not simply a ‘contract’ is key. The right partner is one that will work collaboratively to help clients achieve their goals, even at the cost of short-term profit.
There has never been a more important time for outsourcing providers with a vested interest in the channel to go the extra mile and get under the skin of their customers to identify the areas in which they can deliver business value. Too frequently, service providers stick rigidly to service level agreements (SLAs), with little or no room for flexibility.
IT service providers are able to more closely mirror the evolving needs of their customers and their business. In changing times, this is becoming an increasingly important consideration for any organisation looking to embark on a new IT project, adopt cloud-based utility services or reshape from a ‘bricks and mortar’ model to an online business.
Viewing an IT outsourcing engagement as a marriage is a good starting point for those looking to make it a success. It will prompt users to find common ground with their suppliers. Done successfully, it can help businesses to successfully achieve their business goals as well as efficiencies in both costs and processes.
If it’s not approached with the right level of dedication, commitment and understanding, however, there is a very real danger that it could result in nothing more than a costly divorce.
Ashish Gupta is senior vice president and EMEA head of infrastructure at HCL Technologies
This was first published in October 2013