By Phil Martin
So the business has made the decision to look at outsourcing some of its IT functions. In this article, I move to where IT has engaged the outsourcing partner. The contract is in place and now the business begins to focus on the key aspects of managing the partnership. I put these aspects into two areas:
- business as usual (‘keeping the lights on’)
- growing and transforming the business.
Meeting the demands of business as usual
We recommend that the parties have a joint governance structure. This team should, at least, comprise customer CIO and MSP account manager. The team will measure the current performance against agreed needs and expectations. In this way it can ensure that the business continues to function as users, managers and the Board demand it should.
With business as usual most goals are short-term: monthly, quarterly or annual. The SLA (service level agreement) and KPIs (key performance indicators) in these goals should aim to make the best use of resources and budget.
In order to develop these goals , we suggest IT develop the annual IT plan and budget together with the MSP. An important measure of the health of the relationship should be the level of innovation the MSP partnership can bring to the business.
A key component of the annual plan should be a 12-24 month technology roadmap drafted by the MSP. This will focus on delivering the IT component of the business plan for the organisation. This roadmap can help bring innovation to the annual plan by looking at future trends.
Innovating for business growth
The governance team should focus on ensuring IT delivers on its promises to the business. These outcomes will be about performance and service levels. The team should take time to look out into the future and collaborate on innovative ideas. Working together on new processes, technologies and delivery models will improve IT productivity.
The benefit of a joint approach is that there are more resources than if this was just left to in-house IT. The business of IT is changing as fast as it ever has. Issues such as cloud, analytics/big data, mobile and social business all need research and planning. A bigger team ensures the business is better placed to keep up with the changes in these key technologies.
The benefit of a joint approach is that there are more resources involved than if this was just left to the in-house IT department alone. The business of IT is changing as fast as it ever has, with the issues of cloud, analytics/big data, mobile and social business (more effective employee and customer engagement) all demanding research and planning. A bigger team ensures the business is better placed to keep up with the changes in these key technologies.
IIn the innovation section of the IT strategic plan the governance team should look out 24 months. Here they can help the various lines of business with their growth plans. Rather than just look at reducing costs. IT can focus on revenue generation for line-of-business teams? The plan should address such questions:
- What are the current issues?
- What are the key elements of these issues?
- What are the emerging technologies that will promote growth in the business's industry sector?
Transforming the business
The role of the CIO is being redefined, rapidly. This position is becoming more of a facilitator of business rather than IT outcomes. Gartner has described this as CIOs learning to do more steering than rowing in the future.
Again, the partnership with the MSP can aim to address key business transformation issues. The governance team will research new opportunities that analytics/big data, mobile and social business bring. Then they can bring new ideas to line-of-business managers that can help change the game for them. These ideas can start to deliver new revenue sources rather than just cost savings. By doing so it shows the business value of IT outsourcing.