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Risk Management - Considerations for Your Supplier Relationships

Conclusion: Risk management for IT projects or services that involve suppliers e.g. software and hardware suppliers or system integrators, is a more complex activity than the risk management of a project when there is no supplier involvement. There are not only additional considerations that must be addressed in the risk management process; there are also additional risks that will have been introduced through the involvement of supplier(s) of IT products, services or other resources.

Sole Sourcing: Is there still a place for it?

Conclusion: Despite the increasing trend to multi sourcing of IT services there are still occasions where sole sourcing is more appropriate for an organisation. Often this can involve direct negotiations with a single service provider without the use of a competitive bid. In such situations the buying organisation needs to develop an engagement strategy that ensures there is sufficient executive management involvement and competitive tension in the negotiations such that its sole sourcing objectives are achieved. 

Public Sector IT Projects: Are they all that different?

Conclusion: Public sector IT projects have been found to have similar rates of failure to their counterparts in the private sector, however they also have a number of characteristics that are different to private sector projects. Project related issues that arise from these characteristics have been found to be the drivers for the majority of public sector project failures.

Outsourcing Failure: It's the Service Providers Fault!

Conclusion: When outsourcing arrangements fail it is tempting to blame the service provider for the failure. Reasons put forward include overselling by the service provider’s sales group, inadequate service provider resources allocated to the client or problems with service provider management. In our experience, an analysis of the situation often finds the reasons for the failure are rarely one-sided.

Outsourcing Contracts: The Dos and Don'ts

Conclusion: Outsourcing of IT services is increasingly used as a strategic initiative to support the achievement of business strategies for organisations. As a result the contract agreement between the organisation and the service provider has become even more important as it provides the foundation, and sets the boundaries, for the outsourcing. Negotiations associated with the development of the agreement also provide the first opportunity for the organisation and the service provider to develop an effective working relationship.

Last Word: The Role of the CIO - It's a fine line

How often have we seen it in recent years? IT Management journals with articles about the need for CIO’s to get closer to the business. In many cases it is suggested that in order to add value to the business, the CIO should become involved in the development of business strategies and to put forward proposals for the use of technology to support the implementation of these strategies.

Backsourcing: Is it the Right Answer?

Conclusion: The often expressed dissatisfaction with outsourcing has lead many organisations to consider backsourcing their outsourced IT services. This is often done without due consideration being given to another option i.e. selectively sourcing IT services. When this option is considered many organisations have found it to be a more attractive option than backsourcing, with significant benefits and less of the complications associated with bringing IT back in-house.

Outsourcing Governance - It's all about the relationship

Conclusion: One of the main requirements for achieving a successful outcome to any outsourcing agreement is an effective governance arrangement between the client organisation and the service provider. This can be one of the more difficult aspects of any outsourcing agreement as it needs to be set up to ensure that it addresses the priority areas in a manner that will also allow for an effective on-going relationship between the two parties. In addition, there must be continuing management involvement in the process over the life of the agreement so that it remains an important part of the outsourcing initiative. 

Backsourcing: Bringing IT back in-house

Conclusion: Backsourcing IT-related services is not a simple exercise. To ensure that there is minimal risk to the business while the IT functions are being brought back in-house, significant management attention will need to be devoted to this activity.

IT Steering Committees: How to make them work

Conclusion: Many organisations have IT steering committees that are considered to be ineffective due to a combination of poorly defined committee charters and ineffective leadership. Restructuring of the committees and resourcing them with appropriately skilled business executives can result in IT Steering Committees that add significant strategic value to their organisations e.g. by prioritising IT projects based on business need and risk.

Improving the Alignment of IT with the Business

Conclusion: Lack of involvement of business unit management in IT has been found to be one of the main contributors to the difficulties that can arise in the IT/ business relationship. There are however a number of initiatives that can be instituted, particularly in Applications Development and Project Management, which have been found to have a very positive impact on the relationship.

IT Infrastructure: A New Way to Manage

Conclusion: For an organisation to gain maximum benefit from IT infrastructure being built with new technology there needs to be a corresponding change in the approach to the management of this infrastructure. Infrastructure management needs to move from a “build to order” to a “factory” type approach, where infrastructure services are supplied, as “orders” for these services are received.

Public Sector IT Projects: Getting Them Right

Conclusion: Public sector IT projects can often have a range of characteristics different to their counterparts in the private sector. These can lead to project failure if the issues relating to them they are not appropriately addressed. The adoption of the following set of best practice principles can significant reduce the risk of project failure.

Do your High Risk Projects need a Health Check?

Conclusion: One widely used mechanism for identifying project issues and assessing the overall status of projects is the concept of the project Health Check. The concept of an independent review, generally of high risk projects, has proven useful in providing guidance to management as to where corrective action needs to be applied in order to improve the prospects of project success. 

Project Management Methodologies: Just more bureaucracy?

Conclusion: The application of a project management methodology to an organisation’s project work can be the cornerstone for consistent project success. It can assist, among other things, in allocating resources, managing the project schedule and controlling project costs. Most importantly it provides a consistent approach to managing projects across the organisation so that project personnel don’t waste time learning multiple approaches to the management of projects and executive management only have to deal with one approach to project governance and reporting. 

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