LG's Prakash says that regularly keeping in touch with his partners and the entire technology/service provider community helps him keep a tab on new technologies, and pick up those he thinks can give the organization gain competitive advantage.
Bring your partner to strategic business meetings. A lot is lost in translation. So when business and IT sit down to chart out what the business needs, engage your partner as well.
"Make use of your partner's subject matter expertise. Being a part of strategic meetings will help them get a clearer idea of what the business wants. It also enables them to offer suggestions and feel more part of your organization, not just mere brokers of services," Goyal suggests.
But don't be in a hurry to usher them into your conference room. Ensure that you have introduced them to protocols your organization follows, the hierarchical structure or general rules that many of us just take for granted.
"In the past, I've seen even seasoned outsourcing veterans failing to adhere to basic etiquette when on a call with our headquarters in the US," says Goyal, who remembers a lot of background noise coming from the outsourcers end. "My colleagues in the US take these things very seriously," he says.
Keep SLA's revocable in short intervals. You wouldn't create long-term standing orders on your financial portfolio, so why would do it to your outsourcing contract? The pace at which technology and business changes makes it imperative for CIOs to ensure that their outsourcing contracts are not set in stone for long periods.
The question is: How long should a contract be in force before it is reviewed? Three years, say experts, because it takes about that long for a new technology takes to develop to its full potential.
Remember, it's never too late to pull the plug. Goyal had outsourced his managed services for hardware support for desktops/laptops. "The skill sets required for this profile is not difficult to find. At one point we realized that outsourcing this function was proving to a more expensive affair than bringing it back in-house," Goyal explains.
Raising the flag on-time at deals gone sour is a wiser option than waiting for a miracle to turn things over. "Trying to renegotiate once more with the partner could be another option," says Pai.
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