Preventing failure with third-party IT watchdogs [podcast]

Technology customers and system integrators often have competing agendas, despite the client/vendor relationship. To alleviate these conflicts, some IT buyers are turning to external watchdogs to help prevent failure.

Conflicts of interest among project participants is a root cause of many IT failures. In particular, technology customers and system integrators often have competing agendas, despite the client/vendor relationship. To alleviate these conflicts, some IT buyers are turning to external watchdogs to prevent failure.

Bruce Stewart, Principal Executive Analyst at Accendor Research, is an IT strategist. In this podcast, Bruce and I discuss how third-party overseers can help align the interests of technology customers and their consultants.

Using third-party IT watchdogs [podcast]

Listen to this podcast if you're connected with IT projects involving external consultants or system integrators. As they say, "the project you save may be your own."

On why project oversight is important:

The third party is in a position to say the un-sayable to both the SI firms and the business that engaged them.

On customers protecting themselves from external system integrators and their own internal politics:

Buyers are recognizing there's a difference between what they can accomplish internally and what an outsider can do. External consultants can say things an internal person can't because they don't have the political environment to deal with.

On system integrators' view of this oversight:

Although they weren't too happy about it in the beginning, system integrators have come to realize the third party is actually working for the good of the engagement. The third party disciplines the customer when necessary quite as much as [monitor] the SI firm.

On aligning the interests of customer and SI:

I'd say it helps align the intentions. The third party is a "realignment tool" that both the SI firm and client can use to bring everybody back to the table and keep the project more or less on schedule.

On the importance of this trend:

It's in the earlier adopter stage for SI projects, although well-established in complex outsourcing relationships. With major projects, the stakes are high, so I expect to see this trend become conventional wisdom by 2010.

[Photo via Accendor. Disclosure: my firm, Asuret, performs similar work.]

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