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Legal IT – Making Managed Service Sourcing Faster, Cheaper and More Effective.

October 6, 2014

Many folks have read Gartner’s “Taming the Digital Dragon” CIO briefing paper. It’s basically saying that the Social, Mobility, Analytics, Cloud (SMAC) nexus is driving a new era of IT.

Gartner argues that two key characteristics of this new era are effective sourcing/resourcing and speed. See some of my other posts to see the detail of why I think that legal firms and other mid market organisations are being squeezed and why outsourcing and managed services are becoming essential as IT struggles to keep up with business demand.

I don’t think anybody disagrees that speed is essential in today’s business world.

How to make procuring IT services faster, cheaper and better?

I have been buying, selling and operating outsourcing and managed services contracts for twenty years now. The process is well known;

Specification – long list – briefing – RFP – response – scoring – short list – beauty parade – iterate – BAFO – preferred bidder – final cost squeeze – heads of terms.

For a mid size organisation, procuring a reasonably significant outsourcing arrangement using this process might typically take four months. Give or take.

Is it possible to do this in four weeks?

I have a database of managed service providers to the Legal sector. Those organisations who have won competitive tenders and who are today delivering services just like the ones to be procured. Information about their size, turnover, client base, breadth of offerings, locations, etc……

I also have any number of service specifications for outsourcing and managed service contracts. Of course I have numerous variants of RFPs (although I argue later that this might not be so important).

So, using information to hand, a four week process;

Specification – short list – briefing – presentation – shape/negotiate – select – heads of terms.

 In other words, straight to short list based on data concerning track record, size, location, etc. Presentation of a proposed service based on a clear specification that is briefed ahead and selection based on face to face meetings.

The essence is stripping out work that has been done before, stripping out work that adds little value and going straight to organisations that know your industry, can demonstrate success and are the right ‘fit’ (size, location, culture).

In a world where sourcing, possibly integrating a range of niche players, is increasingly important, this approach makes that process faster, cheaper and more effective at getting providers suited to your needs.


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