There’s been a disconnect between traditional outsourcing approaches and the digital revolution.
In the past, outsourcing was more concerned with efficiency and cost. If that was still the case today, it would completely hinder the desire to deliver something new or different to a business to help them perform better as a whole. Thankfully, in the age we live in now, outsourcing is seen as a strategic partnership that fosters innovation and success- on both ends of the relationship. This type of partnership is where true digital transformation within your company starts.
However, the success of an outsourced IT partnership has as much to do with the customer as it does the client. IT service providers have the potential to be a valuable resource and a key enabler of your business’s digital transformation, but contracts must be flexible to allow innovative new services for your office. It is important that clients have an open mindset when adjusting their outsourcing approach in order to optimize their investment.
If you’re considering outsourcing your IT and want to pursue transformation- enabling agreements, these seven steps will help you overcome the hurdles that exist with traditional outsourcing deals.
1. Evaluate Your Business Needs
Before you begin your search for a transformative IT partner, evaluate what your overarching business imperatives are and highlight those that are technology-enabled. Determine where your existing IT architecture falls short of your needs and expectations, and what you’d like to see done to reach your ideal IT state. An ingenious and easy way to do this is to ask your partners, clients, and peers! Have them help you identify roadblocks your business currently faces or how to engage areas of the company that’s previously been left out. Recognizing the gaps between your current state and future goals may help a tech partner to rethink its future platform and flexibility, investment strategy, and technology-enabled strategies to map out an IT plan to benefit your business’s specific needs. Knowing what you need helps you and your IT partner craft a customized IT strategy that can not only fill those gaps but transcend future expectations.
2. Eliminate Traditional IT Barriers
Digital transformation requires a connectedness between all elements of your business and should be treated with a holistic outside-in approach. It is still common for outsourced IT services to operate as a silo from their clients. But a beneficial partnership requires teamwork and complete integration of your service provider into your business. They should be treated as fellow coworkers working towards a shared goal- your success.
3. Determine What Services Will Best Serve You
Every outsourcing relationship should serve a purpose, and customers should look beyond the size of an outsourcer to determine what roles their providers should fill. Some may be better suited as legacy aggregators, others may focus on niche technology specialists, and some may be true business transformation partners. Recognizing that not all providers offer the same results and that some roles will need to be evaluated, priced, and contracted differently is key to determining the best IT partner to suit your business.
Don’t be afraid to look beyond the usual suspects to find the talent and capabilities your business seeks. The enterprise push for digital has changed the IT landscape, and no single provider has the answer to all your questions. Implementing smaller, more niche providers may benefit your business more.
4. Do Your Due Diligence
Research all potential clients thoroughly. A great website design and impressive service options does not always translate to a successful delivery. Scour customer reviews, client references and demonstrable results to determine if a partner has the credibility needed to trust them with your business.
5. Source for Adaptability
Contract flexibility is another important key to determining your business’s digital transformation. Clients often complain that their service providers lack originality and innovation. However, it’s those same clients that run the partnership with tight rules and little flexibility. More often than not it is the enterpriser- not the service provider- that’s inhibiting innovation.
Clients that want to constantly stay on top of the latest digital developments need to build an environment that encourages creativity for their providers and show respect for their ideas. If they want to make a change to their services provided to you to benefit your company, consider revising your contract.
6. Consider New Sourcing Models
Contrary to the trend the last three years, deal sizes are increasing as clients get more comfortable with the idea of digital services. Deal that integrate operations, applications, and infrastructure in one way or another are becoming more and more common. Take a step back from information operations to determine if other branches of your business could benefit from an IT intervention. Bundle your services to get even more out of your outsourcing relationship.
7. Don’t Underestimate the Human Impact
Company leaders often assume that their business has the ability to easily adapt to a service delivery model, until it’s painfully clear that’s not the case. This failure to forecast can become a significant barrier in a successful relationship, and a broken link in the team can destroy the work both companies put into the partnership.
To avoid any frustration when adopting a new technology system, IT leaders should keep an open line of communication with their employees that will allow them to address specific questions and concerns before they get out of control. Ensuring you key employees feel comfortable throughout the transition process with have adequate training available to them when changes occur is essential.