Why companies fail at picking cloud modernisation partners
Once an organisation has agreed it needs technology change, the sponsoring technology manager faces a myriad of avenues to investigate. Build or buy? Re-platform to full-suite enterprise IT ecosystems? Assemble implementation and support teams or use third-party expertise?
The old adage “you don’t get fired for buying IBM” has no obvious corollary in 21st century business technology. There are swathes of IT platforms, opportunities to integrate them with endless SaaS products, and a choice of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) as an alternative to owning and maintaining physical IT assets. This can result in a paradox of choice.
Finding and vetting technology partners is critical, but there are factors at play that can derail this process.
How it starts
Many senior technology managers, depending on the potential impact of the initiative, will likely have taken the following steps to match a solution to a problem:
- Articulated an inefficiency, risk or opportunity in a technology strategy
- Ideated potential pathways forward (tactical remediation, acquisition of new tools, wider-scale technology transformation)
- Canvased opinions of senior managers in other organisations
- Taken meetings with software product representatives and service consultancies
Where there’s a clear need for external expertise, there is typically operational expenditure available to take some immediate action or more completely define the what, how and who of an appropriate end state.
This is still an early, non-committal stage of investment and the rubber hasn’t yet hit the proverbial road. Behavioural factors can come into play when you are forming a new (or extending an existing) supplier relationship.
Expectations are set
By introducing consultants to internal delivery and operational personnel for discovery activities, expectations of collaboration with these consultants can be implicitly set.
And as consultants gather information in your (potentially virtual) office, they build familiarity, listen to problems and validate potential future ways of operating.
Senior managers find themselves committed
Sponsoring managers might find themselves sharing these expectations as they discuss emerging discovery outcomes with other functional leaders. This can also happen as they become associated with an on-trial supplier and strategic initiative.
And with the financial year progressing and pressure mounting to make inroads on strategic priorities, sponsoring managers may forgive early signs of poor supplier alignment to create short-term momentum.
These factors can contribute to ill-fitting technology supplier arrangements. These arrangements can erode the technology function’s business value due to poor definition, execution and solution adoption.
This erosion doesn’t happen immediately. Often, it is a gradual process, particularly when a project relies more on service capability than on procuring new assets or licensed services. Engaging in pre-sales, design or discovery activities offers buyers multiple opportunities to rethink their supplier selection.
Read Jade’s advice about how to make a lasting selection.