Do not reflect, but think ahead!

Do not reflect, but think ahead!

< Overview Blog, News 01-06-2016

An important step is often skipped when outsourcing IT. It is actually all about ‘thinking ahead’, not about ‘reflecting’. At that point it’s already too late and you are forced to look ‘back’ on a solution to a problem you caused yourself by not thinking ‘ahead’.

  When you start to outsource IT, you do so from a particular strategic choice and with a predetermined goal. However, you must also include the path to the desired end result in the considerations when determining that choice and establishing the goal. We call this ‘the transition’.   In many cases, this is the exact part that is forgotten about or dismissed too easily, certainly when the need to outsource ‘feels’ greater than necessary. There is a major risk that thoughts like “the costs for our IT management will reach intolerable levels” or: “we have lost the overview and can no longer keep up with the developments” will rise up to the surface. In those cases there is a major risk that too little time will be spent on this, or that, quite simply, the entire transition will be overlooked.   The emphasis therefore often lies especially on the choice of the right supplier or entering into a good contract. Of course, these are also very important matters, but we would definitely recommend not forgetting about the transition.   After all, the problems won’t simply be resolved once the contract is signed. Indeed: this will only be the start. An improperly executed transition can have considerable negative (financial) consequences. Both during and after the transition.   But what are all the things to think of where transitions are concerned? And what can you do with the results from all that thinking?

Of course, we have thought about that too.

Here are the main subjects we keep seeing pass by during the years we have been involved with transitions. Matters we can now easily anticipate and can often prevent. And for which measures can definitely be taken. Already at a very early stage.   The 4 main tips for achieving the desired end result for IT outsourcing:

1. Imagine!

Think in advance as to how the transition could unfold. Speak in Van Gaal’s language: imagine! For example, think about the order in which IT can be most effectively transferred. The supplier to be chosen will, of course, also offer an approach. It is useful if you can then immediately assess this properly and possibly come up with useful alternatives. Or the supplier could identify specific bottlenecks. You know what fits your organisation’s culture best and what will work best. Obtain advice about this from an independent party if you don’t have the required knowledge as to how you can convert the best strategy into the best approach.

2. First do some clearing up yourself

Take the own costs for the transition into account. The supplier will come up with a plan and determine what the transition will cost. But activities focused on, for instance, first putting the IT environment in order, will not be included in that. And that is often really necessary. Clearing up before you move is always a good idea. You will also have to set up a transition team in order to offer adequate resistance to the pressure which the supplier and his team will put on the internal IT organisation. External transition managers, project managers, service managers, contract managers, technical specialists, application specialists and/or architects may have to be hired for this purpose. After all, everything the supplier delivers will have to be assessed and accepted. This requires specific knowledge and experience.

3. Prepare your own plan too

The IT organisation will undergo a huge change during the transition. From managing IT to managing a supplier (contract). The supplier will not take on that organisation transition, this is something you must do yourself. So prepare a plan (think in advance) and make sure the correct support is in place on time, should that be necessary.

4. Keep a good overview

Make sure you, as a customer, always remain in the ‘lead’ during transitions. It is naive to expect the supplier to organise everything for you during the transition. The supplier’s transition activities are often even limited to what is necessary for them for the transfer and the management. Important adjacent matters are held outside the scope and included as an assumption or precondition in the contract.   As a customer, you must therefore always keep a good overview and continue to check whether everything is actually allocated, both internally and with the supplier. Deploying an experienced transition manager yourself is therefore important for success.   The measures all come down to seeking help when necessary, entering into good agreements with the supplier and not handing over the management (transition management). And deal with all of this as soon as possible! The later in the process you still have to rectify matters, the higher the costs. So starting with this when you still have to select the supplier is certainly not too soon.

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