When an organisation decides to outsource IT, a common underlying reason is that it wants to concentrate its efforts more on strategy and innovation, and less on operational and management tasks. The IT department turns into a management organisation as a result. The external suppliers provide the technology; in-house staff maintain control and an overview. That all sounds fine and logical, but in practice it sometimes leads to some extra headaches. How do you manage 20 suppliers, each with their own technology and service level?
The systems and applications in the outsourced environment are anything but homogeneous. You have to deal with different technologies and different suppliers. These all come together at a single point, namely your organisation’s IT environment. This poses some technological challenges; how do you connect the various systems and processes? And how do you monitor performance and safety efficiently?
In organisational terms, it also presents a challenge. If one party in the chain changes something, how does it impact on the other parties and processes? A change in one area can affect the management of another area. What about the SLAs, are they compatible? And what about incident response? One supplier might have a 24/7 emergency service, while the other can only be reached during office hours.
Relieving the burden is not automatic
In principle, outsourcing is a step towards relieving the burden on your IT organisation. However, this isn’t an automatic process. Outsourcing to different suppliers can sometimes result in you facing complex manageability issues. Moreover, it isn’t possible to transform your in-house IT organisation into a management organisation just like that. This task requires new roles, tasks, and responsibilities, so it’s particularly important to keep the goal of outsourcing IT at the forefront of your mind. The goal? Being able to concentrate more on innovation, performance, and results.
So, if outsourcing still causes or maybe even increases hassle and headaches (albeit in different areas), then it’s missing the mark. The solution? Outsource the hassle and those headaches as well! Service Integration & Management (SIAM) maintains the quality of the entire outsourced IT environment, and takes care of all the arrangements, coordination, and contracts.
Outsource the outsourcing
You can compare SIAM with the role of a contractor when you renovate your house. At first, you think; we can build that wall, do the painting, renew the electrical installation. You soon find out that it’s easier to outsource it to professionals who can do the work much better, faster, and safer. But before you know it, your house is full of painters, plasterers, electricians, and builders, asking you endlessly what you want, when they can start working in the bathroom, and why those recesses weren’t cut before the painting started.
What do you need to end this hassle, loss of time, and money wasting? A single contractor with whom you can make agreements about the end result, and who has the expertise to coordinate everything with the subcontractors.
Some responsibilities retained
The ‘outsourcing of IT outsourcing’ isn’t a matter of giving it out of your hands completely, as even if you do go for service integration, your organisation does retain some responsibilities. A few key points to consider:
- Give the service integrator (SI) a genuine and formal mandate to act as the contracting authority on behalf of the organisation. Do not keep certain matters concerning operational and tactical control in your own hands. The SI can then control ongoing contractual SLAs, and makes sure obligations are complied with. That is the only way to ensure coordination.
- Base everything on trust in the partnership, right from the outset. This will encourage the relationship to flourish; trust is at the root of it all. A SIAM must have access to systems, documents and agreements, which are often confidential, from day one. This may be a threshold that the client has to cross, but it’s essential for a successful relationship.
- Make sure the MT is committed, both to the agreements with the SI on the one hand, and to the MT’s role of getting staff on board with the change on the other. Successful outsourcing is largely determined by how well the organisation and its suppliers work together. If employees are given a different role or if there is any uncertainty, the risk of friction and resistance increases, and may form an obstacle to success. A strict policy and clear communication are the best ways of embedding the new situation.
The larger the IT environment and the more involved parties there are, the more difficult it becomes to maintain control and to continue to guarantee quality for the end user and customer. Solvinity’s Service Integration & Management (SIAM) is a solution that puts you back in control precisely by outsourcing control. Leave the management of suppliers, the collaboration and integration to specialists, so you can reap the expected benefits of outsourcing – more time to focus on strategy and adding value to your business, and less hassle and organisational headaches.
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