IT Governance

9 Things Your Service Provider Wants You to Know

Nobody is happy when IT runs into problems, especially the service providers catering to them. But there is frequently friction in these IT-provider relationships, and it often stems from miscommunication. In an article for Computerworld, Sandra Gittlen becomes the voice of service providers, sharing nine tips that the providers would like IT to know:

  1. Focus on the business users’ needs, not the technology.
  2. Don’t get caught in the “expert” trap.
  3. Know the problem you need to solve.
  4. Be prepared to share details of your current IT infrastructure.
  5. Remember: Training isn’t a one-time exercise.
  6. Identify a point person to act as IT’s sole liaison with the service provider.
  7. Make sure your provider understands how you like to communicate.
  8. Be as clear as possible about your expectations.
  9. Understand that service providers have been hired to help, not harm.

The Bridge to Better Service

If IT focuses less on the whats of technology and more on the whys, it will be better positioned to find the solution that is right for the business. Likewise, when there is a clearly crafted problem to solve, service providers will be able to work faster to address your organization’s needs. Trouble can arise quickly if you take any other strategy to technology procurement. For instance, if you decide on a particular system just because one ace employee is already good at using it, you might run into issues later if that ace leaves the company. Always plan with the future in mind.

For the best results with a service provider, you may want to identify one person in IT to function as the liaison between worlds. This removes the risk of information silos getting in the way of operations:

Nathan Ziege, director of application development at software development and technical services provider GlowTouch, says the client must appoint a technical liaison who can work across the entire enterprise IT team to gather specifications and resolve incidents.

For instance, if Ziege’s team is working on an API and runs into a problem downstream with a billing system, they want a champion on the client side who can bring in the person responsible for the billing system. “Whoever represents the enterprise IT team should be someone who can reach across the various departments within IT to get all the relevant teams on board and ready to participate,” Ziege says.

The faster you can give providers the information they need, the faster they can help you in turn. It is that simple. But not every problem boils down to glitches in communication. For instance, consider training. Most IT organizations treat training as a one-time deal, but this is the wrong attitude. If the technology changes or new team members come on board, more training will be necessary. So write contracts with this eventuality in mind.

For additional elaboration on these tips, you can view the original article here:

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