• SVM professionals can play a more active role in mobility and UC. We weren't too surprised to learn that the more cutting-edge technologies are also the ones currently lacking SVM's involvement. These technologies include videoconferecing tools, tablet PCs, and social technologies, which will all have a big impact on the business, but are not currently influenced by the sourcing team. But this gap between the expected value and current role of sourcing may highlight a long-term opportunity: as IT and the business select which new buzz technologies to adopt, they will need help clarifying contractual terms and distinguishing vendor offerings. That's where SVM professionals should chime in, to improve the relevance in the emerging technology process.
What about SVM professionals who have a clearly established role in the new technology adoption process? Even in these instances, the level of contribution often varies significantly. We found that:
• When involved, SVM focuses on contractual terms, and vendor viability. By negotiating prices, establishing exit clauses, ensuring compliance standards, and investigating vendors' financial stability, SVM professionals are helping mitigate the risks inherent in new technology evaluations.
• Security, scalability, and integration requirements are likely IT specialist domain. Although SVM professionals will work with IT to define contractual terms, the vast majority are willing to defer to the expertise of IT specialists in these areas.
In the end, it's important for SVM professionals to clearly define and take ownership of their responsibilities in the evaluation process. Otherwise, establishing sourcing's value within the business will become an increasingly difficult task. This means sourcing professionals need to proactively show IT and the business examples of how sourcing has helped in the past-and use those examples to clarify future roles. And amongst other things, SVM must be prepared to enable innovation, by providing new levels of flexibility. Rather than slowing the adoption process, consider raising concerns and allowing business users to decide if the risks are acceptable and reasonable.
Chris Andrews is Senior Analyst at Forrester Research, serving sourcing and vendor management professionals. His research focuses on how organizations can identify, integrate, and manage innovation and emerging technologies.
Read more about outsourcing in CIO's Outsourcing Drilldown.