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How to get multiple IT outsourcing providers to play nice

Stephanie Overby | Aug. 26, 2013
Why can't your IT service providers all just get along? Here are steps you can take throughout the multisourcing lifecycle to get everyone working together.

Mandate activities such as regular cross-provider governance forums. Consider a "pain-sharing" mechanism like service-level agreements that span end-to-end transactions involving multiple providers. If the end-to-end SLA is breached, all involved service providers are penalized. "You want to spell out who is responsible for what and to eliminate the opportunity or incentive to make excuses," Coatney says.

During the Transition ...
Begin by inviting all the providers to a workshop that examines each key process an interaction point. It's the most effective way to specific the details of collaboration and integration, says Coatney. "This makes it possible to break down activities at a granular level of detail and allows providers to reach collective agreement on how each shared process will work and how the various providers will engage with each other, and what the specific accountabilities will be for within each collaborative process."

Role play with different business scenarios to walk through how cross-provider interaction will play out and anticipate potential issues that can arise during the ongoing operations phase.

During Day-to-Day Operations ...
Don't let dust collect on those collaboration processes laid out in the contract. "The operational governance forums need to be convened on an ongoing basis to enable collective analysis of process performance measures and continuous improvement actions," says Coatney.

Such cross-provider governance teams encourage each vendor to collaborate on problem-solving rather than retreat to finger pointing. "By reporting and addressing operational performance as a collective exercise, you also create a culture of positive peer pressure," says Coatney, "where no provider wants to be identified as the one hurting the team."


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