Rhode Island-based Amica Insurance provides auto, home and life insurance nationwide and employs more than 3,800 people in 44 offices across the U.S.
Amica was looking to upgrade its web and mobile applications. To reach its goal, the IT team established a digital program and decided to pilot an Agile SDLC framework for rapid and iterative delivery of customer value.
The Agile implementation worked for Amica because the organization from top to bottom accepted a bit of discomfort in the short-term to give the change effort a chance. Management agreed to support decisions made on the front line. Product owners, SMEs, and developers were game to try new approaches and grew professionally. In return, they achieved a level of productivity and speed they had not seen before. Here’s how we helped.
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.
Situations abound where a business could use supplemental C-level IT expertise to get through a transitory period of change. Maybe you’re between CIOs, or your senior IT leader needs some temporary executive-level help. Maybe the executive team needs some strategic IT advice, or the IT department needs a “shot in the arm” to get to the next level or deliver a new capability.
Flexible access to CIO-level expertise on part-time or temporary basis can serve to strengthen your IT function. Staffing services or consulting firms will provide a resource to cover strategic and/or tactical IT leadership needs. The resource can help with a short-term transition, organizational change, or other executive-level responsibility. Such a solution provides a viable and affordable option when an expert IT Leader is needed to augment the IT team or the business executive team.
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.
IT outsourcing can be risky.
You’ll invest a significant amount of time and resources defining your needs, seeking out promising candidates, and evaluating options. You’ll need to clearly communicate what the organization needs, and what level of performance you will expect.
Then, if you start working together and feel like it’s not a good match, the relationship could turn sour. And if you can’t turn it around, getting out of an outsourcing commitment is not easy—especially once the resource has amassed an in-depth knowledge of your processes and systems.
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Quantitatively, 50% of companies feel their outsourced suppliers are reactive, not proactive; 40% experience a lack of innovation and underqualified resources; and 30% suffer high attrition and costs. (Source: Deloitte)
To mitigate risk, I recommend the following systematic approach to ensure you pick the best outsourcing vendors for your organization. I have used this process on many occasions with great success.
IT departments have been outsourcing for decades. At the same time, there are many organizations who still perform most of their IT services with internal resources. Whether you’re a first timer or have years of experience outsourcing, you should constantly review and update your sourcing approach as part of your IT strategy to ensure you are positioned to support your company’s objectives.