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How can you reap the benefits of Multisourcing?

Selecting a blend of internal and outsourced vendors for the delivery of IT Services, otherwise known as Multisourcing, is becoming increasingly popular as it allows enterprise organisations to obtain best-of-breed services, at a better price, under more flexible terms. Increasingly, organisations are deploying Service Integration and Management (SIAM) functions alongside Multisourced environments to ensure collaboration across multiple providers. However, implementing a successful SIAM function is not straightforward. In this article, we explore some important points to consider when building your SIAM function.

Contracting: – The appointment of an ‘Independent’ SIAM party, independent of any of the outsourced vendors, and who forms an integral part of the contracting team, is essential if the Multisourcing arrangement is to be successful. During contracting you have the opportunity to instil a spirit of cooperation between all parties from the get go, with the SIAM party forming a key role in establishing this mind-set. Defining Roles and Responsibilities and handoff points between providers in Operational Level Agreements (OLAs) supports the delivery of Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Consider SLAs that relate to critical business outcomes, instead of the uptime of an individual service component. Gainshare and Painshare arrangements should also be included in the contract terms as a means to incentivise supplier cooperation throughout the term of the deal.

Build – Tools and Processes: Tools and processes are the foundation of the SIAM function. Getting this part right is fundamental, get it wrong and it will make integrating your Service Providers all the more difficult to achieve. Having providers design, build, and adopt a common set of ITIL tools and processes should be your end goal. This will ensure consistency and make operational ways of working easier to manage and maintain. This is not always possible, but even if providers insist on using their own tools and processes, clearly defining the workflows and federating the systems to automate the flow of tickets between different parties will streamline the execution of the service.

Steady State Operations: Once Steady State operations begin, the independent SIAM provider should be responsible for running the operational governance forums where all parties review performance against contracted KPIs and SLAs. Service Improvement plans need reviewing by all impacted parties, ensuring clear lines of responsibility and accountability for any remedial action. The SIAM provider should be on point to deal with contract or commercial disputes and work to resolve these effectively whilst maintaining a healthy relationship. A principle of “Fix First, Settle Later” needs to apply, supported by a culture of trust between all parties. The SIAM provider can also help to upskill the retained organization allowing for a phased and controlled transition of responsibility once the SIAM function has bedded in and steady state operations are running smoothly.

For a Multisource operating model to be successful, it is essential that each party operate in a consistent manner, integrated and with a focus on high quality end-to-end services. Designing the service model to look beyond the individual boundaries of responsibilities for a single supplier will lead to a more collaborative environment, and ultimately a better service to your customers.