One of the most challenging things for businesses looking for IT support is matching their needs to vendor's delivery capabilities and models. There is a lot of discussion in the IT industry around how best to deliver I.T. services in a cost effective and efficient manner. Whether this is being done well is always a question to consider.
One of the keys to doing this is to make sure that what clients are looking for is matched by the offerings being given. A recently reported survey conducted by LogicNow a vendor of IT service management tools shows that in many cases there is still a pretty large mismatch. The survey was conducted internationally and included 1300 IT departments and 700 IT Service Providers from eight geographies including North America.
Four key findings
- Service providers offerings don't match with departments' desired priorities. One of the first places where a department looks for help is in relation to a specific immediate business priority issue. Often service providers try to respond with a more broadly based consultative solution, rather than the desired tactical response to the specific problem area.
- Confusion on relationships. A large majority of service providers described a desire to offer a broadly based, consultative strategic relationship. Only a very small minority of departments desired this kind of relationship with the majority preferring a more tactical, technically focused response.
- Managed security focuses. Departments sought more email security, better web protection and better anti-virus as opposed to the service providers focus on security consulting system updating and patching.
- Disconnect on pricing strategies. Purchases prefer a fee based structure for managed security which is comprehensive in nature and invoiced on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. Providers in most cases are still billing on a per item basis or on an ad hoc basis. A serious disconnect is shown here.
If the survey is accurate for the broader IT marketplace it shows that there is opportunity for both purchasers and vendors to improve their mutual understanding and their on going relationship.
Experience has shown that many new relationships start out with a response to a specific, single problem which requires urgent response. The department seeking help finds someone who can address their needs immediately and focused on the immediate difficulty. If the vendor successfully clears this hurdle the they may receive consideration for future needs. For the company seeking the help the ability to pick a provider to respond to the single need without the expectation that it will result in more comprehensive relationship can make it easier to commit for that one time use.
Of course the potential always exists for future business on both parties' part. Perhaps it might be easier for the match to be made if both the department seeking help and the vendor kept their initial decision restricted to the immediate response to the urgent issue. Getting the problem solved it is the objective. What comes after is bonus if anything results.