Technology Leaders

The blog of BT Engage IT

What to look for in your IT services suppliers…

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A little while back I was fortunate enough to have lunch with a number of CIOs where we discussed their views and experience on outsourcing and out-tasking.  Whilst there were a range of views around the table given the various experience and business drivers one thought stuck with me in particular.

The CIO in question was from one of the leading retailers in the UK and he had a 4V’s model to help him in choosing the right supplier.  Here is that model:


What value do you think you are going to add to my business?  Not just in the technology and service you offer, but in our overall relationship – how will you help my business?


How quickly will you be able to move to deliver and bring me value?  When I need something done will how will you react?  How will you match my pace?


Things will change, we know that.  I don’t always know what I want or need and sometimes its only by going down the road a little we really find out.  How capable are you of coping with that?  How will you react?  Are you built to work with me and accommodate this?


How much courage do you have?  How much risk are you prepared to take? Will you challenge me when you think I am doing the wrong thing?

Obviously these are the questions that make the difference to this CIO.  The solution provided is important, but the approach and attitude are key to making technology work for this company.

How does it work for you?  What models do you use and why are they effective?

One thought on “What to look for in your IT services suppliers…

  1. The CIOs we work with often explain that what suppliers lack is the ability to see and understand the scope and scale of the whole problem the CIO is wrestling with. Often IT sales people are great at selling the value of the bit they offer, but are less able to see, understand and explain how what they offer, contributes to an “end to end”, multi-supplier supplier solution both technically and commercially. So the CIO is left to work out “how this might fit” with all the other elements he needs to pull together to solve his problem . By demonstrating an understanding, interest and willingness to discuss the whole project and to assist the CIO in pulling the technology and commercials together, the supplier moves from “another supplier in the mix” to a TRUSTED PARTNER around the table. That surely is where all IT organisations would want to be sitting?

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