• Build a process model describing their sourcing life cycle. Building a firm-specific sourcing model helps SVM professionals take the first critical step in identifying key stakeholders. For example, Forrester's sourcing life cycle defines the reoccurring process of strategizing, contracting, and executing on IT investments. Many SVM professionals in leading companies are already building their own models, describing their firm's specific life cycle and the activities needed for more focused communication.
• Use a RACI matrix to identify the role and their responsibilities. A RACI matrix can help SVM professionals take the next step towards understanding the responsibility of various stakeholders in each step of the sourcing cycle. This tool goes beyond the activities of the process model by aiding in visualization of the relations between various stakeholders, creating a better understanding of the communication and collaboration needed. Using a matrix will help SVM professionals map key sourcing tasks to stakeholders according to their involvement.
• Understand the different stages for the different services. Because each service delivered to IT clients -- including desktop service, server hosting, and application development services -- needs to be managed at different life-cycle stages, SVM professionals should track parallelism and manage collaboration. This will allow more focused communication between stakeholders, reducing the time and effort necessary for successful collaboration. For example, during the strategy and contracting phase, defining clear responsibilities through more effective communication will allow for more successful meetings and faster decision making.
Sourcing and vendor management professionals must take a more proactive approach to managing the sourcing cycle in order to become the focal point for sourcing questions, moving their role closer to a strategic oversight function. In order for this shift to take place, SVM professionals must invest in process by defining their individual sourcing life cycle and constantly seeking to improve communication between stakeholders involved in the process. Taking small steps to decrease the internal management costs behind sourcing decisions and maximize the value of sourcing investments can yield real results in the sourcing process. Facilitating the necessary level of collaboration between stakeholders for service requests, escalations and end-of-service requires strong governance and a continuous adaption of the sourcing lifecycle -- but can put SVM professionals at the center of client-oriented, value-driven service delivery.
Lutz Peichert is a vice president & principal analyst serving Sourcing & Vendor Management Professionals at Forrest Research.