Successfully integrating the multi-sourced environment


With increased multi-sourcing, organisations require a comprehensive service integration capability to achieve their business, financial and quality objectives.

Common challenges include the inability to deliver a coherent set of end to end services, misalignment of service provider objectives with the business strategy and a lack of understanding of implications of moving into a multi-sourced model for the customer organisation. To address this, a wide range of factors needs to considered, I will highlight a few of the key ones here.

Firstly, governance and control. It is important that line of sight between desired business outcomes and delivery of service components is maintained. A structured approach like COBIT 5 will help to ensure that the responsibilities and overall objectives of all parties involved in delivering the service are clearly defined and understood. This will also help to identify areas of increased risk as a result of multiple interfaces and hand-offs, which can then form the basis of a risk management framework.

High-level view of service integration components

Effective definition and deployent of holistic service and project management processes is essential. Strong frameworks, based on standards such as PRINCE, ITIL or ISO 20000, will provide clarity of operational roles, a focus on the quality of project and service performance, the ability to control and manage change, early identification of points of failure and ultimately drive continued service improvement.

Service levels themselves will need to be designed and structured carefully to give line of sight from business process objectives through the various service components and providers. Key considerations are the measurement and management of availability and performance to support overall business need.

Building collaborative relationships with all internal and external parties will be a key enabler for success in a multi-sourced environment. A full lifecycle approach to this is important to ensure that relationships are not set up to fail at the contracting stage. BS11000 is a really useful standard in this space and provides a well structured approach.

In 3gamma, our experience is that many customers underestimate the impact of moving to a multi-sourced environment on their own people and organisation. Critical to success is the recognition that the organisation structure, the capabilities and the behaviours required will be different. Customers should plan to invest in new skills and in developing the capabilities of their staff and possibly their service providers. Often, securing some additional external specialist support during the transition and transformation phases can be advantageous.

Finally, strong financial control and rigorous tracking of benefits is key to ensure that the change is effectively managed and that the anticipated business value is ultimately realised.

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