The many different moving parts within an IT resourcing relationship call for the implementation of careful planning. Dermot Corrigan reports
As different people, complex technologies and sometimes varied cultures or practices can all be involved in an IT resourcing relationship, both client and provider will want to ensure successful results for both the individuals and the businesses taking part.
As with any business service or client-partner relationship, a structure should be implemented to allow for management and measurement, according to Turlach McAlister, director, Clarion Resourcing. "Resources are provided through a managed model with account management, reporting, escalation and metrics in place to measure the performance of the resources deployed and the service delivery," said McAlister.
"The engagement model is a business- to-business one between the provider and the customer." While relationships between a provider and client tend to be long-lasting and open-ended, individual projects should have a timeframe and milestones agreed in advance, McAlister said.
"It is important to set down clearly at the start, before any resources are on-boarded, the clear goals or deliverables of the assignment and any specific milestones and dates," he said. "That way both parties can manage, monitor and measure progress and performance."
Relationships between client and provider usually require careful management, especially when the client was new to resourcing.
"Developing a relationship can take time, as both sides needs to get to know each other and what does and does not work," said McAlister. "If engaging on a once-off basis additional levels of management should be put in place, statements of work crystal clear and have clear processes for managing change and costing same."
One of the more important factors of a resourcing engagement to agree in advance is the cost. David Burke, associate director, Harvey Nash Group, said that while payment approaches could vary, metrics or objectives to be used should be agreed in advance. "Fees vary, we work to budgets, set margins or time and materials or fixed price agreements as the nature of the engagement or service dictates," Burke said.
"Objectives or KPis [key performance indicators] will vary depending on whether the client has assumed line management responsibilities for the resource or if the engagement is run on more of a project basis." The overall price for a resourcing engagement can also vary depending on the requirements of the client and the project, said Derek Kehoe, sales director, Ergo Software Solutions.
"Contracts can be based upon a rate per day per resource, a fixed rate for the performance of a service based on a number of tickets or an SLA [service level agreement] or a combination of onsite and offsite resources to meet the requirement," he said.
"Depending on the type of contract in place there may be service credits for non-performance against the contract." Given further developments are likely in both the financial and technology environments into the next few years, further take-up of resourcing services looks likely. Kehoe predicted that trends towards outsourcing and cloud-computing would help the resourcing market continue to grow.
"Within the next 18 months organisations will continue to focus in on their core business and let other companies look after their IT," he said. "They will keep core support for mission critical systems internal and continue to outsource those items that are on the periphery. Cloud computing will only accelerate this, with more applications hosted offsite. Staff for specialist tasks can then be provided by third parties such as resourcing providers."
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