How do I get outsourcing projects

IT services

1. Undefined and inflated goals

The impetus for outsourcing often comes from above. The top management wants to save IT costs. The demands quickly increase immeasurably. Disappointments are inevitable.

  1. Reinhard Eschbach, Thomas Cook: Transparency is the be-all and end-all
    “Every service provider is only as good as the client controls him. Outsourcing must not be a black box: I want to understand what the provider is doing and check whether this is in line with my goals. I consider the transparency of costs - both my own and those of the provider - to be important. An open book policy not only creates trust, it is also more efficient because both sides know what levers they can use. "
  2. Ralf Stalinski, Cognis: Creating user acceptance
    “Anyone who outsources should do a kind of inventory in advance in order to have an overview of which services are being provided in the individual countries. Outsourcing is made more difficult by the gap between user acceptance and management expectations. It's no secret that end users initially perceive standardization as a limitation. Internal communication is required here; the workforce must be able to understand the benefits of the measures. "
  3. Walter Friedl, Vistec: Know-how at eye level
    “My golden rule is: There must be an instance on the customer side with at least the same know-how as on the provider side. I have assigned an IT service delivery manager for all infrastructure issues and a SAP manager for the applications. Both are responsible for ensuring that the purchased service arrives reliably and in good quality with our users. "
  4. Dirk Ostermann, RAG: Smashing processes
    “Very important: you have to break processes. Both in-house operations and when outsourcing to a subsidiary, processes and communication channels between users and IT establish themselves that are not always efficient. You have to break through the lethargy and the-we-have-always-done-so-attitude. In this phase, leadership through communication is required, because a lot is changing for everyone involved. "
  5. Carsten Stockmann, Mayflower: Developing relationships
    “Outsourcing is a process that should be continuously developed. The arduous and painful thing then is to shape the relationship in such a way that it actually brings benefits. That means that it is no longer about the technology - it has been outsourced - but about achieving improvements on the business process level. "
  6. Udo Haarhaus, Dynamit Nobel: Goals have to be clear
    “As a client, you have to be clear about your outsourcing goals. Of course, the provider definitely wants to land the project. As a rule, users want to reduce their costs. There is a certain greed on both sides. But if the client does not ask exactly how and where his provider wants to achieve the savings, the partners easily make different assumptions. "
  7. Martin Limpert, Preh GmbH: Securing sovereignty over process knowledge
    “The most important motivation for our outsourcing activities was the concentration on our core competencies. Internally, we cannot guarantee high requirements for the 24/7 availability of the SAP systems. So that we can ensure smooth IT operations for our specialist departments, we have retained sovereignty over process knowledge and SAP knowledge in-house. "

"In the early phase there is usually a conglomerate of wishes: You want to save costs, implement new technology as quickly as possible and improve service quality. Achieving all goals at the same time is unrealistic," dismisses Niels Fischer, partner at Schickler management consultancy in Hamburg. In order to formulate the goals, the starting point must be known. Many companies have already set up their internal IT in a transparent manner, defined IT services including service levels and provided services with prices. These are ideal conditions for a comparison with the services of the outsourcing provider. It is not uncommon for an outsourcing project to end at this point, because where the IT is properly set up, there is often no potential for improvement for the outsourcing provider and little to earn. At most, the argument of volume discounts in the purchase of hardware and software as well as economies of scale still carry weight, but must be weighed against the effort and friction losses.

However, tidy IT is the exception: "90 percent of companies with more than 100 IT workstations neither know exactly which and how many IT components they are actually using, nor do they have experience in preparing due diligence," presumed Eberhardt Schott, professor of data processing, marketing and organization at the Aschaffenburg University of Applied Sciences and partner at the Intargia consultancy. These companies are facing the hard work to create a sensible starting point for an outsourcing project. This so-called baseling corresponds to an inventory: IT equipment, costs, contracts and processes must be ascertained or described. If necessary, providers take on this work as part of the due diligence. You have professionals whose day-to-day business is evaluating customer IT.

On the basis of the collected basis, further goals should be defined: What are the tasks for the coming years? Which KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are worth striving for in three or five years? Which SLAs does the company need in which segments? Should a uniform IT environment be introduced? Those who rely on the outsourcing provider to answer these questions get what the provider can, but not what they need.

The quality of the current IT is poor and the implementation of new applications and functions is inevitable. But there is neither the money nor the qualified experts in the company. The result is that ailing IT should be outsourced.

Problematic IT should be fixed before it is outsourced. That is the theory, but in practice there are constraints that cannot be delayed. "In a disordered IT without SLAs and a reliable database, you should start small outsourcing projects first," advises Schott. Simple hosting and out-tasking projects, in which clearly defined tasks are handed over to external providers, clear up operations and create empirical values ​​for further deals. "This is how you can train outsourcing," encourages the expert. However, high savings targets should not be set under such circumstances. Providers can be paid for clean-up work, as can investments in new software and hardware. The same applies to employees with grandfathering guarantees that the provider takes over.