Vendor management is an internal IT function that often has room for improvement. A maturity model is a helpful tool for evaluating the state of any given vendor relationship, and determining the overall balance of your organization’s dependency on vendors.
Congratulations! You’ve decided to outsource some of your IT services, based on a sound resourcing strategy. And you’ve found a reliable outsourcing partner. Now you need to manage your outsourced IT team.
If you’ve ever managed a vendor, you may have had one of the following thoughts cross your mind:
- “This team just doesn’t get it. I have repeatedly expressed how they can be successful here, but they keep doing the opposite!”
- “We didn’t award them a new project they bid on, and now it seems there is a lack of interest in the entire account.”
- “The resources assigned to this contract are incompetent, but the account exec is unwilling to switch them out.”
- “During management updates, they only focus on the positive. They are not being transparent.”
Such warning signs usually mean a key resource management responsibility has been fumbled or forgotten.
To set yourself up for success, manage your outsourced IT resources on two dimensions: the relationship and the outcomes.
Sorry to break it to you this way. It’s a fact of life: IT cannot complete its work faster than the business can think of it.
The dependence on IT is growing exponentially, priorities shift constantly, and new opportunities come up daily. The gap between expectations of IT and its capacity is often widened by those executives who claim they are not technologically well-versed, yet assume IT can waive a magic wand and technology will just work.
That IT cannot please everyone is not a problem – it is a reality. Frankly, a hypothetical IT department that satisfies everybody 100% would be so expensive it would defeat the purpose. The key is finding the balance between responsible spending and internal customer satisfaction.
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are standard for measuring performance of an outsourced service.
But what happens when an IT service is managed internally? How are expectations set? How is performance measured?
When IT services are insourced, there should still be SLAs in place in order to sustain internal customer satisfaction and alignment with business priorities.
Without SLAs, the business resorts to a subjective assessment, often concluding that IT services are overpriced, slow, or inadequate, without the information needed to evaluate the real value of the team.