Recent research that we carried out in September 2014 by surveying senior technology stakeholders from legal firms at the Vantage EMEA Regional Event, has revealed that confusion over project ownership continues to be a major pain point for UK legal firms when it comes to supplier relationships.
The results come from an outsourcing survey recently carried out by SQS with the legal IT community. It reveals that accountability for successful delivery, a lack of knowledge retention and limited flexibility, equally represent the major pain points for legal technology professionals (19 per cent each) when it comes to dealing with IT suppliers.
These issues can often lead to confusion over who takes responsibility for projects and tasks in the outsourcing process. If ignored, projects are likely to be delayed resulting in escalating costs, quality of applications suffering and in the worst case companies’ reputation being hit by the press.
The research also highlighted specialist knowledge and expertise (27 per cent) as the most important criteria for legal firms when looking for a supplier. Price (22 per cent) and consistent delivery (17 per cent) were also key priorities for legal firms when considering their supplier relationships, whilst agility (three per cent) and continuous integration (six per cent) are considered less important.
According to the survey a multi-sourcing approach is clearly favoured, allowing businesses to work with a range of suppliers who have relevant experience and expertise to meet business objectives. In the increasingly competitive market where the accelerating pace of IT change presents a real challenge, multi-sourcing is fast becoming a popular way to accelerate technology system transformation.
A clear indication was that 56 per cent of professionals surveyed expressed that they prefer to work with a combination of large and small suppliers, whilst only nine per cent prefer to engage a large ‘one size fits all’ supplier. The ability to gain competitiveness by blending services and expertise from a variety of suppliers is helping organisations to adapt to the escalating pace of IT change.
Legal businesses are potentially putting too much emphasis on building and expanding internal IT knowledge and skills or on working with large suppliers who are tasked to deliver quickly, rather than outsourcing to multiple specialist suppliers.
The use of more than one supplier increases the number of moving parts in a sourcing strategy. This can increase the risk of fragmentation of service delivery and the issues of who is accountable for what. To get the most from a multi-sourcing strategy requires legal firms to rethink the best way to capture value, manage accountability and enforce quality control. A new approach to the supplier relationship can ease outsourcing pains of the past and ensure what is delivered not only meets expectations in terms of quality but also delivers the desired business outcome.