Services Procurement: Serve Thy Customer (and Win Them Over)

Over on 360 Degree Vendor Management, the authors have some choice words and suggestions for keeping stakeholders and customers happy when it comes to services contracts (incidentally, if you've not been keeping up with this relatively new blog and you're in the IT, services or outsourcing procurement areas, you absolutely should be). According to the authors, internal customers like to complain when things don't go as planned after a contracting agreement (or sometimes, even when they do go off as anticipated). The complaints beat to a frequent refrain: "Customers don't like foreign accents. The vendor cannot manage attrition. Prices are more expensive than they are [insert nearby city]. Quality is bad. The contract is the problem." And so it goes.

The problem, according to the post, "is that in a classic Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde transformation, internal stakeholders apparently have no qualms with scorching the earth with 'it's the vendor's fault' or 'outsourcing was a bad idea' type comments. Frankly, it's disingenuous and doesn't contribute to the success that is so necessary for today's competitive environment." The rest of the post has some excellent recommendations on overcoming this type of pushback (which, not surprisingly, attempt to take an approach that quantifies performance, expectations, internal satisfaction and actual results). Spoken from the lectern at the services procurement school of hard knocks, 360 Degree Vendor Management practically oozes the scars and bruises of someone who has been there and done that. Not to mention saving an organization a lot of money in what amounts to anything but a simple change management process.

- Jason Busch

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