In the second of his series of outsourcing blogs, Lee Ganly, Acora’s CIO, offers key pointers on how to select the right IT outsourcing partner and ensure a smooth transition and also examines what the future holds for IT outsourcing and cloud computing.
What are the key requirements when selecting an IT outsourcing provider?
First and most important is the cultural fit and alignment with your vision. Ensure that your service partner has the same drive and ambition for their business as yours. The selection process must establish an initial trust and confidence in their industry knowledge and technical capabilities. Do they demonstrate an understanding of the value of outsourcing? Have they worked hard to understand your drivers for outsourcing and matched their service to them? If you are interested in cost reduction, has the partner clearly articulated how they are going to help you reduce your service costs over time? The scale of your service partners’ operation is important – can they support the growth of your organisation in the global regions and time-zones in which you operate now and in the future? Ensure the outsourcer has the ability to extend beyond management of IT Services and Infrastructure. You are likely to want to use your outsourcer to deliver IT transformation projects, so evaluate capabilities in this area. Ensure your service partners has a clear vision for continuous improvement of their own services.
Ensure there is a clear governance process when outsourcing IT infrastructure and internal applications to an IT outsourcing company.
Establish peer duality by getting the right people engaged with each other from the outset. Be practical about the frequency and length of the governance forums, and be sure to provide a clear charter, mandating the responsibilities of each. Wherever possible, set mutually beneficial KPIs and establish a deep understanding of what success looks like to each other. Align toolsets where possible, such as sharing a ticketing system to provide a single version of the truth. Escalations will happen, so ensure these are well defined, documented and embedded in to processes. Drive value from the reporting your outsourcer provides. Report KPIs back into the business with minimum manual adjustments. Integrate your outsourcer in to your strategic thinking to ensure they are part of the solution.
In your opinion, what does the future hold for IT outsourcing and cloud computing?
The use of cloud computing will continue to increase, so the two must be tightly intertwined. IT outsourcers must be able to easily enable their clients to benefit from the innovation that Cloud based IT Services can deliver. It requires a shift in mind-set and alignment of traditional outsourcing products, which are often based on hosted and owned IT systems. The outsourcing contract must have the flexibility to support the move to the cloud, with no restrictions that slow down adoption. The outsourcer needs to be able to integrate cloud services and support other 3rd parties integrated into client networks, ensuring continually high performance, resilience and the ability to manage are part of a complete disaster recovery. The outsourcer will need to be skilled in managing back-to-back contracts and services to provide the client with an end-to-end service support.
As a thought leader in this segment, how are you developing new strategies and ways to help your clients?
We are constantly looking for ways to simplify an ever more complex cloud enabled technology landscape. Learning from IT successes in different fields and applying them to outsourcing, such as the advances used by application developers who are automating highly repeatable activities, allowing them to release code and application updates in weeks rather than months. We carefully evaluate the market and make our own investments in toolsets that our clients can leverage to automate common processes and provisioning IT Services for lower costs, with less risk.