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Leveraging ITSM in a Multi-Vendor Outsourced Enterprise

By Rick Leopoldi IT requirements for the enterprise today are to provide the highest quality service at the lowest possible cost. This places an important focus on IT to be the best service provider possible and to ensure the services provided meet the business requirements and to ultimately enable the organization to achieve its goals.
Sep 13, 2004
By

ITSM Watch Staff





By Rick Leopoldi

IT requirements for the enterprise today are to provide the highest quality service at the lowest possible cost. This places an important focus on IT to be the best service provider possible and to ensure the services provided meet the business requirements and to ultimately enable the organization to achieve its goals.

It is primarily for this reason that the effective and efficient selection and utilization of technology has and will continue to play a critical role. In addition, perspectives of personnel expertise and utilizing industry accepted best practices also play a significant role. The integration of people, process, and technology within any given organizational structure, environment, and culture is therefore crucial.

Many organizations have evaluated or are currently undergoing studies to determine the benefits of outsourcing their IT Service Support and/or Service Delivery operational infrastructure to one or more vendors. Concurrent with these studies, are evaluations to determine what factors will need to be addressed to successfully outsource to multiple vendors and achieve the goal of providing highest quality service while lowering the total cost of operation.

This article discusses the challenges facing many organizations that are considering or have migrated into a multi-vendor outsourced enterprise. It will detail the employing and leveraging of IT Service Management best practices to address these issues and the impact of operating in such an environment. Lastly, it will detail a proactive approach to facilitate this outsourcing enviornment.

The Challenge
The challenge facing most organizations lies in many areas. Ensuring the right number of people with the appropriate expertise to manage both day-to-day and strategically the ever increasing set of hardware and software technologies with a level of complexity within the IT infrastructure is a daunting task.

On one hand the cost to implement and maintain this state is operationally prohibitive, and on the other hand, there is an uncertainty associated with developing and employing best practices to achieve the necessary and required levels of performance and service. Attaining the appropriate balance of people, expertise, process, and technology across the IT infrastructure enterprise wide, while ensuring it is integrated within the organization to achieve its goals is very difficult and in some cases impossible.

In a general sense, IT must be positioned as a service provider both tactically and strategically to the organization and this requires addressing many significant areas that will result in aligning IT to meet business requirements. The most vital is adapting, adopting, and utilizing best practice processes.

Specifically, it is both prudent and necessary on the part of the organization to look at several, and in most cases many, vendors to source the appropriate hardware and software technologies, IT infrastructure components, knowledge, etc. for both Service Support and Service Delivery. These requirements span phases from assessment to architecture and design, across planning, into implementation, and finally provisioning for ongoing support.

In attempting to do this, organizations have looked to outsourcing to various vendors. This requires that the appropriate vendors be capable of working in concert in all areas of Service Support and Service Delivery, otherwise customer service, operational costs, or both will be negatively impacted.

The next Section will detail the Service Support and Service Delivery challenges and the IT Service Management best practice processes that will address them.

Employing ITSM to Manage a Multi-Vendor Outsourced Environment
The objective is to employ IT Service Management best practice processes to better manage a multi-vendor outsourced environment and achieve the goal of the enterprise to provide a high level of quality and consistent service at the lowest operational cost.

Focusing on the areas listed below can better qualify, quantify, and scope the IT services being provided by any one outsourcing vendor and to manage them accordingly. The intent is to provide a high level view of your organization, your outsourcing requirements, and any IT service management issues and methods. Subsequently, information gathered in these areas can be used collectively to determine areas of overlap, insufficient coverage, or gap in coverage in your multi-vendor outsourced environment.

Ultimately it will enable an understanding of the requirements in the following areas:

  • What the organization is trying to achieve
  • What is being delivered today
  • How the current service is measured
  • The interfaces into the current service
  • The resources that need to be provided by an outsource vendor in order to take over the current service
Having the following information would be helpful in understanding the requirements:
  • Organization chart (all staff)
  • Hardware and software inventories
  • Copy of Service Level Agreement(s)
  • Any other relevant documentation that includes operational policies, practices, procedures, guidelines, templates, questionnaires, checklists, etc.
Some important questions that should be answered internally:
  • What the organization is trying to achieve with outsourcing?
  • What are the business requirements and/or issues that are affected?
  • What are the organization's "pain points" that are driving the need for outsourcing?
  • What is the corporate culture concerning outsourcing?


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