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For many years the traditional pattern for companies looking to replace or extend their systems and processes has been for projects to be driven largely their internal IT departments, with large and small work units lining up to be delivered in strict order by a single group with its own project managers, analysts, developers and testers.
When third-party providers are involved, interaction with the client is typically through an IT-owned project management layer which in turn reports to the business-level sponsor.
This approach is not without merit – it ensures that work proceeds in an orderly fashion, that priorities are reflected in the schedule and that the business has visibility of progress through milestones and reporting. However, one consequence is that the timing and duration of individual deliverables tends to be constrained by internal dependencies and the availability of finite resources.
As the pace of change in business continues to accelerate, companies need to be more agile to remain competitive. Time to market is a key differentiator, and even the smallest amount of drag on innovation can have a measurable impact on the performance of the business.
We have recently noticed an interesting trend in the way some lenders are thinking about the planning and implementation of new projects. Where previously we would be engaged to provide technology, development and consultancy services under an over-arching IT governance framework provided by the client, we are now seeing interest from clients looking to outsource every aspect of delivery, including project management, business-level testing, end-user training and ongoing programme management beyond the ‘go live’ date.
Of course, the concept of being able to tap into ‘on demand’ IT services only makes sense if the provider has sufficiently experienced subject matter experts available to engage quickly and gain immediate traction. Strong business-level controls also need to be in place to ensure that risks are managed effectively and that key performance indicators can be measured and monitored.
Once these elements are in place, the potential benefits of strategic IT outsourcing are immense, and we see this as an exciting area of innovation in the way our clients embrace accelerating change in the industry.