An agile approach – The flexible solution for outsourcing contracts
28 July 2016
In our recent research into the future of outsourcing which was published by the National Outsourcing Association in 2016, one of the key findings was that many companies are looking for flexibility in their outsourcing contracts. This is because the needs of many businesses are changing quickly as new technologies open up new ways of conducting business.
Outsourcing can certainly help many businesses become more efficient and adopt new technology whilst, at the same time, driving business change.
However, customers have long complained that the bold promises of service providers do not always materialise. Now that technology is developing very quickly, this is more of a challenge than ever. In today’s market, businesses need to be able to take full advantage of the latest developments in technology very quickly if they are to keep up with their competitors, let alone gain market advantage.
Typically, Outsourcing Projects take a long time to procure and deliver. Often, there is mismatch between what a customer thought that it was buying and what is ultimately delivered
Often, it takes longer.
Often, it costs more.
Often, there is dissatisfaction.
In a fast moving environment, this can be disastrous.
For software development, new methodologies have been developed to develop software incrementally. This involves:
- creating a list of project requirements – the Backlog
- calling off requirements from the Backlog to be developed case by case – Sprints
- the customer only commits on a Sprint by Sprint basis
- working software is created incrementally – often iteratively via the use of joint teams
- customers can flex the order in which items are delivered
- customers can delete or add requirements from the list
- overall project budgets can be set alongside budgets for individual Sprints
The Result – flexibility is embedded
The same approach can be applied to any outsourcing project
How does it work
- Transition – procure as a traditional project – the whole transition needs to be completed quickly and on time.
- Transformation – instead of doing transformation as a traditional waterfall project, apply agile methodologies to:
- ensure that the most urgent things are done first
- ensure flexibility as things change
- apply the approach through the life of the contract to keep the delivery of the outsourced service fresh
- key outsourcing contracts better matched to delivering what the business needs for the life of the contract
- more responsive to rapid changes in technology and market practices
- better efficiency
- better value for money
- more competitive
- can help to develop local solutions as part of wider projects
- allows new processes and systems to be trialled and adapted quickly
- quick adoption of specific processes can simplify and speed up the organisation more quickly
- facilitates teamwork and the embracing of ideas
- in all of this, Agile enables companies to listen hard and respond quickly
How can we help?
This guide will look at why traditional outsourcing projects will struggle to cope with fast moving technological change and as to why an agile approach has the potential to deliver the flexibility that will allow outsourced services to adopt new technology as rapidly and efficiently as possible.