IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 14 Feb 2011

Finding the perfect (outsourcing) partner

Typically at this time of year, numerous articles are dedicated to tracking down ‘the one’, and provide tips for finding lasting love. Not so much guidance is given to those looking for long-term partners in the business world, so I’m going to discuss what retailers should look to gain from a long-term relationship with an outsourcing partner (OP).

For an IT Director, outsourcing IT can be pretty life changing.  It releases him or her from the daily management of services to guiding just a few key individuals.  Outsourcing can help fashion a role for the IT director that is more dynamic, where operations are managed effectively by a third-party and allow senior individuals to think of the bigger picture.

If an OP is chosen carefully, true understanding and hands-on experience of retail can also be provided.  So, why dedicate costly inhouse resources to these areas when an expert can offer a service more consistently and more cost-effectively by sharing the service across a number of retailers?

There’s a lot to be said for using an OP as a means of shortcutting the long process of gaining ISO20000 compliance and adhering to the ITIL framework for technical development. ISO and ITIL are the first internationally recognised standards for IT service management. By demonstrating that they operate to the ITIL framework, an accredited OP can introduce huge gains in project development timescales and quality. The ISO20000 approach of ‘plan, do, check, act’, also helps organisations to learn from their successes and their failures, just as individuals learn from their past relationships.

In the retail race, there’s no finishing line – the economy can be testing, just as the course of true love does not always run smoothly. Continuous improvement will be demanded of all retailers as they strive to keep pace with the demands of consumers, so they would be well served by putting the best skills to use in the best way within their businesses.

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