Another recognised Thought Leader that Finance Monthly speaks to is Lee Ganly – the Chief Information Ofiicer of Acora who turns our attention to the world of outsourcing. Acora is an IT services provider to the mid-market with a breadth of knowledge and expertise in outsourced IT services, advisory services and applications services, headquartered in the UK.
How can the outsourcing of IT transform or benefit a business?
- Outsourcing when done well and strategically, allows you to focus on core business activities, rather than expending effort and resources in trying to build a world-class IT operation internally. By ring-fencing resources to re-balance the drive to transform the business, with Business as Usual IT, you are much more likely to deliver key strategic projects.
- Outsourcing enables the delivery of IT services and transformation quicker, releasing internal IT talent to focus on adding value and key strategic projects, not just maintaining systems uptime and supporting end-users.
- Creating and embedding IT Operations processes and tools is time-consuming and resource-hungry. Outsourcing allows you to access mature well-defined services that have been refined over many years, ideally aligning with industry standards. These are often supported by a comprehensive set of contemporary tools to automate the IT operation.
- You are making your outsourcer accountable, rather than internal staff, meaning you can drive them harder without introducing unnecessary risk.
- Access technical and managerial talent from your outsourcing partner when needed, rather than recruiting internally, which is time consuming and costly. It can be difficult to keep talented staff satisfied, working for an outsourcer can provide genuine career development, supporting a range of customers.
- Benefit from your outsourcing partner’s IT sector experiences, leveraging their deep understanding of technology trends and knowledge of the ways other portfolio companies are successfully benefitting from this innovation.
- Outsourcing manages peaks in service real-time, especially notable when bringing on new services or rapid growth. The ability for the outsourcer to scale teams on demand to maintain service levels, provides a predictable high quality experience, regardless of the speed of change.
What is the governance process when outsourcing IT infrastructure and internal applications to an IT outsourcing company?
Establish peer duality by getting the right people engaged with each other from the outset. Be practical about the frequency and length of the governance forums, and be sure to provide a clear charter, mandating the responsibilities of each. Wherever possible, set mutually beneficial KPIs and establish a deep understanding of what success looks like to each other. Align toolsets where possible, such as sharing a ticketing system to provide a single version of the truth. Escalations will happen, so ensure these are well-defined, documented and embedded in to processes. Drive value from the reporting your outsourcer provides. Report KPIs back into the business with minimum manual adjustments. Integrate your outsourcer in to your strategic thinking to ensure they are part of the solution.
In your opinion, what does the future hold for IT outsourcing and cloud computing?
The use of cloud computing will continue to increase, so the two must be tightly intertwined. IT outsourcers must be able to easily enable their clients to benefit from the innovation that Cloud based IT Services can deliver. It requires a shift in mind-set and alignment of traditional outsourcing products, which are often based on hosted and owned IT systems. The outsourcing contract must have the flexibility to support the move to the cloud, with no restrictions that slow down adoption. The outsourcer needs to be able to integrate cloud services and support other 3rd parties integrated into client networks, ensuring continually high performance, resilience and the ability to manage are part of a complete disaster recovery. The outsourcer will need to be skilled in managing back-to-back contracts and services to provide the client with an end-to-end service support.
As a thought leader in this segment, how are you developing new strategies and ways to help your clients?
We are constantly looking for ways to simplify an ever more complex cloud enabled technology landscape. Learning from IT successes in different fields and applying them to outsourcing, such as the advances used by application developers who are automating highly repeatable activities, allowing them to release code and application updates in weeks rather than months. We carefully evaluate the market and make our own investments in toolsets that our clients can leverage to automate common processes and provisioning IT Services for lower costs, with less risk.
Are there any groups or lobbying activities you are involved in that help you push the boundaries of IT outsourcing?
Acora routinely attends the Gartner Managed Services and Outsourcing Summit, engaging with their segment specialists to market test new services or product ideas against their global market experience. We are learning what larger IT outsourcing firms find challenging, in order to ensure we remain focused and dynamic, providing a voice for Mid-Market outsourcers and our clients.