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Changing Perspective of Larger Companies towards their IT Partners - Part 3

By Pavan Nagaraj Dixit, Consultant and

Sachin Bhat, Technology Architect, Energy, Utilities, Communications and Services Unit

In the last blog of this series, we have seen how IT partnership can be extended beyond the scope into key strategic areas like Thought Leadership, Knowledge Management, Business Value Articulation etc. which are sure to find place in any modern proposal for Thought Partnership.

Bring in 'All-round Expertise'

Larger organizations will have wide range of enhancements, upgrades, implementations and other strategically important initiatives going on in parallel. Taking all these parallel activities to a successful closure with clear ROI measurement will need huge amount of skilled resources and management time. In most cases traditionally, these initiatives are broken into smaller chunks of work and handed over to multiple vendors leading to unwarranted coordination issues, non-compliance issues, cost and time escalations. Although there are advantages of this typical model in terms of reduced dependency on a single vendor, availability of multiple sets of skilled labor and risk distribution, a larger partner can single handedly provide all these advantages using his expertise and prowess. Larger clients will get more and more inclined towards embracing the single partner model to reap the unprecedented benefits. Clients have to choose their partner very carefully by examining the abilities to offer a platter with the perfect mix of high end IT/Business consulting and wide range of rudimentary IT services. This is a huge upgrade for emerging IT services companies because they have a steep challenge of offering high end consulting services along with their regular services which they have to acquire in order to cling onto their clients' value chain as partners.


010413.jpg The Most Desirable Capabilities of a Partner

A partner is expected to provide all the basic services a vendor would provide including reliable delivery, acceptable quality, no cost or effort escalations, reporting, managing technology landscape etc. Any company capable of handling larger projects is expected to have majority of these capabilities if not all but, there are certain aspects which distinguish real partners from normal vendors and these are the aspects that a client scouts for in a prospective partner.

 Agility - Clients are looking for partners who can turn things around quickly with their experience, expertise and talent pool. Agility of a prospective partner can be a deciding factor other capabilities being uniform, because this character of an organization will have direct impact on the risks, cost escalations, scale requirement and success in cut throat competition. Agile partners can handhold clients in unforeseen crises using the vast pool of talented resources and technical strong hold. Choosing an agile partner who can adapt quickly to clients' working environment, get hold of the IT/Business systems and engage its abundant knowledge can provide a fillip to even an ailing client.  

 Talent Pool - Client requirements are generally spread across various domains and technologies and requirements for resources with expertise in any of the domains or technologies might arise at any point in time. Partner organizations have to be capable of handling such demands in a short span of time. Handling attrition in growing job market will be a huge challenge for any organization, more so for smaller organizations. Larger organizations can have a sizeable chunk of their talent pool on reserve providing the cushion that the client desires for. This will boost the client's confidence and provides the added advantage of reduced risk due to talent/knowledge erosion.

 Accountability - A partner who eloquently defines the accountability terms of his part of the job is seen as a reliable partner who is clear about the tasks that form the core of his engagement. Clients trust a partner who has got a lean management team with single point of contact (SPOC) irrespective of the scale and range of the engagement. An SPOC provides the client an easy touch point to the partner organization that can be approached for anything and everything including escalations. Multiple touch points lead to confusion and unclear communication channels.

 Proactive - Being proactive is one character that separates a partner from a vendor. Partner organization will have the same priority as a subsidiary or a department within the client's organization. Partner organizations are expected to have a sense of ownership, clear understanding of the client's pain points and suggest solutions and best practices proactively. Client sees the partner organization as a 'navigator' in its journey towards sustained success. It is common for any organization to loose direction due to unexpected changes in the dynamic business environment, newer strategies by competitors, entry of larger players and other unforeseen factors. A partner can guide the organization, provide business/technical consulting service, proactively suggest alternatives and help turn around the downward slide to steady state and then start picking up pace in the right direction.

1. http://www.imd.org/research/challenges/TC047-07.cfm
2. http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/249685?uid=3738256&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21101750120643
3. http://noggin.intel.com/content/measuring-the-business-value-of-information-technology-introduction
4. http://sagebrushgroup.com/archive/19940823_MeasuringStgValue_Paper.htm


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