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Using multiple suppliers of IT services? Make sure you have these 4 governance elements in place


Eddy Saad.jpgBy Eddy Saad, Lead Solution Consultant, HP Software Professional Services


Eddy Saad is a senior consultant with HP Software Professional Services focused on helping organizations transform IT into strategic, business-oriented delivery operations.


Recently, I led a transformation experience workshop with a financial institution that is struggling because it has different pockets of IT doing almost the same thing but using different suppliers.


It’s a scenario I see time and time again among our large enterprise customers. Traditionally IT organizations have not made supplier governance a priority. But the cloud is changing that. To reduce costs, IT organizations are turning to multiple suppliers. But today’s multi-supplier environments create a host of operational issues that require strong governance to resolve. Without good governance you risk service-level and compliance problems. Not to mention the costs of inefficiency.


How strong governance enables business priorities

The financial institution I talked with wants to lower IT costs, deliver high service levels to the business and mitigate risk. Strong governance can help them do all three. The key for enterprises working with multiple suppliers is to have a service integration and management solution that supplies a governance layer.


For example, as I mentioned in a previous blog post, establishing the right data model is one of three best practices for integrating multiple vendors and suppliers into your IT environment. But organizations often struggle to build the right data models to match business requirements. Establishing governance and mapping your data model go hand in hand. When we work with customers to establish that governance layer, we help build and prioritize their data models. We help them define use cases based on what they’re trying to accomplish. For instance, is compliance around software licensing more important, or is incident management a more pressing priority?


When you start addressing issues around things like use cases and data models, you inevitably improve your governance. This raises your maturity overall, and makes you better able to use multiple outside vendors to reduce costs and risk at the same time.


The 4 elements of multi-supplier governance

Governance has several layers. At the very top is corporate governance: What are your corporate policies? A level down is IT governance (having to do with compliance, for example), and underneath that is the governance you need to put in place to manage multiple suppliers. Your governance at this level needs these four elements to be successful:


  • Alignment to IT governance and corporate governance. For example, corporate policy says you can’t host data offshore in a particular country. So you need to make sure your supplier is not offshoring any piece of your data there.
  • Agreement from IT leadership. Your IT leadership needs to be involved to ensure you’re aligning to business objectives. For example, one of your IT business objectives is to reduce costs. How will your multi-supplier strategy do this?
  • Service-level targets. How is a multi-supplier strategy going to impact the service levels you have with the business?
  • Data strategy. As I’ve written before, it’s critical to establish a strong data model. And that data model needs to align with your business objectives. You need to know what data you’re sharing, where it’s coming from where it’s going to and whether you’re getting the right reporting on it.


In HP Software Professional Services we’ve worked through these best practices with numerous customers. It’s this experience that led us to develop HP Service Integration and Management, which adds the governance layer organizations need in order to manage multiple suppliers effectively and cost efficiently.


To learn more, check out the free HP SIAM iPad app.


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I noted several articles on how to put in an SDN app to select from a number of Internet suppliers based on various criteria. I have the opposite problem, I want to bring a 10 Gbps wave into a building and be able to create different products for each tenant. I have found people that offer the Layer 2 allocation of bandwidth but I would like at least Layer 3 and even Layer 4-7 if I could. How do I find a company that wants to build and maintain such a device for me? Any estimates of cost?
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