CIOs need 'marriage counselling' for outsourcing

Poor relationships hamper deals...

Poor relationships hamper deals...

CIOs are in need of 'relationship counselling' to help them juggle all the different suppliers they have to deal with.

Three quarters of CIOs identified difficulty in managing relationships with partners as their biggest outsourcing headache in a survey sponsored by Computacenter.

Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of private sector CIOs said they are working with a number of outsourcers simultaneously, according to the research, compared to 45 per cent of public sector organisations that were dealing with more than one outsource partner.

Ben Booth, CIO at pollster Mori, said relationship management skills are critical for successful outsourcing: "In my experience working with a number of partners requires a very different approach. CIOs are looking for their teams to manage the overlaps and interfaces of multi-vendor relationships effectively.

"It is only those organisations that do get it right who will get the most out of outsourcing."

The survey found that following outsourcing, less than one in 10 (seven per cent) of CIOs in the private sector said they had seen significant changes to their in-house skill set. By contrast 28 per cent of public sector CIOs said they had experienced a change.

The report said this may indicate that the public sector is developing relationship management abilities in its in-house teams, as well as giving them the opportunity to learn new skills in support of their core businesses.

Despite the relationship headaches, the survey found that in the next two years, nine out of 10 CIOs plan to maintain or increase spending on outsourcing, with their reasons for choosing outsourcing including a desire to reduce operational costs (69 per cent), focus on core business (59 per cent) and gain access to specialist IT skills (54 per cent).

The survey questioned 100 CIOs from banking, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and the public sectors.