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Ways to Deal with Multiple IT Providers

by: Sarah Joson

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 |

Multi-Sourced IT Providers

Nowadays, it’s common to see organizations procuring certain IT services from different vendors at a time. It has become an effective strategy that ensures businesses have the top niche providers for a specific IT task. However, along with the improvements this sourcing model has brought about came the challenges. For instance, when something goes wrong and the productivity of the entire organization is affected, it will take time and resources to rule out which provider triggered the problem.  

A post at CIO.com lists down steps that can help operations managers in multi-sourced set-ups to better oversee service providers.

1. Assign roles and responsibilities outright.
There comes a time when liabilities and responsibilities amongst service providers get a bit unclear, particularly in cases where one provider depends on another to finish certain tasks. To avoid this, clients need to make the ground rules and roles clear so that it will be easier for them to identify the problem, and come up with a solid resolution.  

2. Enforce Operating Level Agreements (OLAs).

It will be easier for vendors involved in a multi-sourced operation to maneuver their ship amongst the other ships in the sea if they have an OLA to follow. It covers ground rules that include how they should interact with each other to achieve the client’s goal.

3. An Outsourcing Cooperation Agreement might come in handy as well.
For end-to-end service levels, it is advised that buyers come up with an outsourcing cooperation agreement which introduces those standards to newcomers. It also encourages the group of providers to discuss financial responsibility and liability. All in all, it is a foundation for the entire multi-sourced ecosystem.
4. Create a command center for operations.
Having a command center helps organize a multi-sourced operation. This business hub will act as a mediator for management tools, contracts, governance processes, and service integration. They will also be responsible for integrating the processes so that operations are not disrupted. Also, instead of meeting the providers one by one, clients will only have to meet with the moderator.
5. Set measurable goals.

In the end, providers should be working towards goals that can be quantified. Some of which can be return on investments, value contributed to the entire business, and increase output.

6. Decide your level of involvement in the process.
You will need to clarify beforehand if you will be mediating the entire process. If you forgo being involved in the process, it will be easier to achieve the preferred operational result since providers will have to work things amongst themselves. If you decide to stay, it can result to vendors pointing their fingers towards you.

7. Listen to comments and suggestions of key providers.
Sometimes, providers like to share their insights about the processes and how they can help your business, as well as theirs. This is a chance for you to learn new things, especially about the ones that are totally outside of your specialization/industry.

8. Create a working environment that exemplifies teamwork. 
Multi-sourced environments can be designed in a way where IT providers can collaborate with one another. This will reinforce teamwork and get work done faster and more efficiently.


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