(Business, IT & Vendor) Love/Hate Triangle?

I came across the following question from Glen Guy – a professional on my LinkedIn network:

With the reshaping of IT departments in the next 5 yrs, moving from a monolithic department to a smaller team of managers, analysts, and planners, what will IT leaders need to do to ensure collaboration between internal staff and outside vendor teams?
My take on it is as follows…

One thing that you MUST NOT do is to think of internal staff and vendor team as two separate teams.
You can’t place too many barriers to cross between your REAL business needs and the solutions IT will ultimately produce. You already may have the 1st barrier between the Business and your inhouse IT team… which itself should be eliminated (as most of have suggested) and the 2nd barrier which you should most definitely avoid placing is of treating your vendor and inhouse IT as separate teams.
Transparency is the name of the game… Get your vendor into all your Business/IT workshops… Encourage them to be equally concerned about understanding business needs and take the ownership, take the initiative and enjoy the RESULTS.
The rules of the game are changing fast! Business and IT workspaces are now more of ‘global collaborative skills network’. How you place and position your organization or yourself individually in this amazing network is how you would be valued… not by whether you’re a permanent inhouse IT team or an outsourced vendor.
How holistic is the view you can take of the business needs and how competent and agile you’re in responding to them in quick iterations is what will determine the relationships and their results whether between ‘Business/IT’, ‘IT/vendor’ or ‘Business/Vendor’ collaborations.


  • My company is in the IT Outsourcing Business. Clients outsource to get away from a function that is not their core competency. Concerning the relationship between the client and the service provider, there needs to be an element of trust between both organizations.
    Many clients look at their IT outsourcing partner as an extension of their organization. Look at the automobile industry, the suppliers are an integral part of the production life cycle. They have frequent meetings and share common goals and objectives.
    IT outsourcing should work in the same manner as the automobile industry. Data must be shared between the two organizations. The end users should be surveyed and that data is a reflection on both organizations.
    In summary; Outsourcing of any function must be built on trust over time. Clear measurements must be in place to ensure that the outsourcing provider is performing within the contractual specifications.
    Peter Manni
    Vice President, IT Global Operations, Client Services at Siemens

  • The problem many small companies face is the owners and staff are not knowledgeable enough about using computers, or working on the Internet, or Intranets, many are vulnerable because of this lack of knowledge.
    More small businesses are turning to a third party to help them navigate this complex new (to them) business model and that third party is able to work with them and with the IT vendor to come to an arrangement that will not be more than the company needs at that given time.
    Ideally, the company has access to someone (like me) who does know what is needed and what may be over the top. There does have to be a close relationship with all parties and before hiring one particular company it would be wise to get at least 3 estimates from IT service providers.

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