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IT outsourcing has become increasingly integral to building and operating the enterprise IT environment, but many IT services customers remain frustrated with their results.
Part of the problem may be a lack of understanding by the outsourcing customer about their actual level of maturity in IT outsourcing, says Wolfgang Benkel, principal analyst in Forrester’s IT sourcing and vendor management practice.
“Many clients don’t know how mature they are. They have only a feeling about what is good and what is bad,” says Benkel. If anything, clients are likely to overestimate their own IT outsourcing maturity.
Meanwhile, their more mature outsourcing providers can do little to help them overcome their internal challenges, whether related to relationships, processes, contracts, or services.
IT services clients must make a dispassionate assessment of their own IT outsourcing maturity if they want to improve their outsourcing outcomes, Says Benkel. “A maturity assessment shows what is possible to achieve and what are the activities to achieve this,” he says.
“The gaps are identified to show the necessary activities to improve the outsourcing maturity.” Only once IT organizations understand their own capabilities can they align themselves with the right types of providers and improve their own internal outsourcing processes.
Benkel offers five levels of possible IT outsourcing maturity from one-the level at which a customer has a handle on the basics of outsourcing-to five-the level at which outsourcing can provide sustained value to the enterprise.
Most IT services buyers are at level 2, says Benkel; they have defined the important elements of outsourcing and they measure the most of the key relationship, contract, service and process elements. Those companies that have been outsourcing for the longest time tend to be at level three and on their way to level 4.
So how mature is your IT organization when it comes to outsourcing? CIO.com asked Benkel for some key questions to help determine your outsourcing maturity.