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Considerations when selecting an IT supplier – Part 2


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In March we prepared a short article highlighting some of the considerations when selecting an IT supplier, the article was intended to highlight a few key areas following on from this, we thought it would be useful to offer a “part 2”, listing a few additional areas to consider.  This is still not a complete list of the areas to consider but together with the original article provides a starting point to build upon with your own specific requirements.


Additional areas to consider when selecting an IT supplier (the original article), can be found here:


  • Contractual considerations – We always advise having your contracts reviewed by a lawyer with knowledge in dealing with IT contracts, they will be able to use their experience to ensure the contract is fair.  We regularly see examples of extremely one-sided contracts.  Key areas such as data protection, the payment terms (upfront vs staged or on go live), how to manage a breach of service (and what needs to happen for you to exit if needed) and the process for a managed exit at the end of the contract are just some of the considerations needed. 

 

  • People – At 3Kites we often say “it all comes down to people in the end”, it’s likely that the people you have dealt with in the sales process will not be the people you interact with on a daily basis when the contract is live.  Ask to meet with the people with whom you will deal with on a day-to-day basis and those you will escalate any issues to.  In the same way if you were recruiting someone to join your firm, make sure that the supplier you are looking to partner with is compatible with members of your IT team.

 

  • Ownership of solutions – We are seeing a move away from private data centres towards hosting solutions in Azure/AWS or using Software as a Service (SaaS) products.  The latter, if set up correctly, gives firms the power to change their IT suppliers without moving the IT environment, which is extremely valuable.  However, we have seen examples where the way that cloud environments are setup is unnecessarily complicated and firms become justly concerned about the ownership of (and access to) their data.  A SaaS solution provides a number of benefits but does leave the firm in the hands of the IT supplier, so consider data exports and the moving of services when selecting a SaaS solution.

 

  • Process and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) – We are seeing suppliers taking different approaches to the traditional SLAs with varying success.  Ensure you understand the process to raise issues and how these will be managed.  One key failing we see repeatedly is a lack of supplier management and service issues being ignored, building to a crescendo rather than routinely and regularly reviewed and managed.  Communication, or the lack of, is the most common complaint.

 

  • Supplier changes – There is a large amount of change (including restructures, business acquisition and mergers) taking place with IT suppliers.  Ensure you ask questions about suppliers’ future business structures, any road maps that may be available, changes to the systems they use and upgrades they may be making such as moving from on prem solutions to cloud.  Consider adding into the contract break clauses which optionally come into effect if key changes occur which you are not comfortable with.

 

It is worth saying that with any IT supplier contract, the firm cannot pass risk management onto the supplier.  It is still the firm’s responsibility to ensure business risks are being managed properly and this requires regular contact, cooperation and management of a firm’s IT suppliers.


If you would like further information about 3Kites IT supplier selection, help with managing an existing supplier or any of the other 3Kites’ services, please contact us using the following details:


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