Staff from IT suppliers are often perfect for in house relationship management roles

There were some interesting presentations at the latest CW 500 Club meeting last night. The subject being discussed was cloud computing. The title was Cloud Computing Versus Outsourcing, is it worth outsourcing anymore?

Good topic of discussion. Obviously it was quickly decided that cloud computing is in fact outsourcing, just a different way of doing things.

I will be doing a write-up of the event for Computer weekly so won’t go into any depth here, apart from highlighting a couple of interesting comments from the one of the speakers.

Steve Briggs from the Cooperative Group talked about the challenge of outsourcing for such a diverse organization.

While the Co-op is a heavy user of outsourced IT services it is not yet a cloud user in the sense of its main IT systems. The company spends over £200m with 531 suppliers, 12 of which are strategic. The co-ops divers business of retailing, banking and funeral servicing is today all under a single CIO. So it is good to get the views of a company running a traditional outsourcing strategy before cloud services are introduced.

The other two speakers from the Tate and Sega are already heavy cloud users so I will write about them separately.

Interesting points about outsourcing made by Briggs included:

1 – Good account managers at supplies spend their time managing relationships and are good at it. He said he has hired former IT supplier staff for relationship management roles.

“Do not dictate to suppliers. They are good at the role they are doing and the client is not.”
“Be open minded suppliers have some good capabilities.”

I wrote a feature this week about how outsourcing is changing in the light of cloud computing and how this is making relationship management a key role at businesses.

2 – He said that there are many suppliers out there and that businesses might miss out if you do not have a good insight of the market.

“Our challenge is how do we spot small suppliers and fit them into our supplier model.”