Author Archives: ISG

As Retailers Embrace Wi-Fi, CIOs Must Align With Business

For brick-and-mortar retailers, shoppers with smartphones have until recently been about as welcome as barbarians at the gate.  Specifically, the practice of “showrooming” – checking prices at a store and then going online to find cheaper alternatives – has posed a serious threat to in-store revenue.  Attitudes are changing, however, as retailers increasingly embrace mobility as a potential competitive advantage. Indeed, over the past two years, retailers around the globe have scrambled to implement Wi-Fi infrastructures to enable free, high-speed … More

For Innovative Sourcing: Date More, Marry Less

Anyone who’s been in the outsourcing business for any length of time has heard the cliché that outsourcing relationships are like marriages – they require hard work and commitment over the long term. Well, maybe it’s time to change that. Rather than marrying your next outsourcing provider, take them out on a date and see how things go from there. The fact is, our current approach to outsourcing contracts is completely out of touch with the needs of a business … More

Brave New World? Networks, Cloud and Labor Automation Converge via SDN

The idea of Software-Defined Networking (SDN) has been around since the late 1980s/early 1990s, when it was used to describe the telecom industry’s shift from strictly private voice networks to logically constructed private voice networks that were physically hosted on the public telephone infrastructure. That shift laid the groundwork for Virtual Private Networks (VPN). Today, SDN is re-emerging in broader but analogous discussions around cloud computing and labor automation. Here, SDN refers to a physical compute resource that is logically … More

Manufacturers: Is It Time to Rethink Your Sourcing Strategy?

In the wavering global economy, many manufacturing companies are finding that they need to revisit their sourcing strategy to widen their once-myopic focus on cost and look at how IT can enable growth and business transformation. ISG is working with a variety of manufacturing companies to re-assess their sourcing strategies. Consider these Top 5 ways to rethink yours. Enable growth by redirecting funds. Many companies are shifting their spend from running the business to changing the business. It is not … More

Fast-Tracking: Does Sticking with One Service Provider Save Time and Money?

Perhaps your organization has a contract already in place with a service provider, and you are thinking those pre-negotiated contract terms and conditions might save you time and money in sourcing the next area of your business. Or perhaps your organization decides that skipping a competitive process and sourcing directly with one service provider will be more efficient. Of course, sole-sourced contracts can be successful, but these Top 5 suggestions remind us that a competitive solicitation process delivers increased knowledge … More

Supply Chain Risk – the “Cyber Attack”: Part 2

Welcome back! If you’re just joining us for this two part series, click here to read Part 1. All companies have a minimum of two levels (tiers) of suppliers – Tier One (directly contracted suppliers) or Tier Two (suppliers to the Tier One suppliers). Large companies do a fairly good job of assessing their risk exposure to Tier One suppliers during the initial assessment and contracting process. Usually, little if any review of Tier Two suppliers occurs at this stage. … More

Supply Chain Risk – the “Cyber Attack”: Part 1

Global supply chains are constantly exposed to risk, ranging from disruptions of continuity to various levels of operational destruction. Risks can include weather, significant cost variances, resource availability, legislative/tax changes, logistical disruption, power outages and health epidemics, and usually occur without warning. Most supply chain management functions, even in the most advanced companies, are ill-equipped to address the wide range of risks they’re exposed to. Whether company is a manufacturer of raw materials, finished goods or a supplier of services, … More

The Difference between a Contract and Real Life: How to Steer a Successful Provider Relationship

After signing a contract, both parties have to protect their own business and value case while they work to achieve a common objective, contractual milestones and specific deliverables. No matter how sound a contract is, what matters in real life is relationship management. Consider the following Top 5 golden rules to avoid pitfalls and create a successful relationship with your service providers … in real life. 1. Success comes from collaboration. Mirror your project model with the service provider’s organization … More

Achieving IaaS Savings: The Long View – Part 2

Welcome back! Just tuned in? Click here to read Part 1. Today, I’m going to discuss additional areas where IaaS can reduce costs over the long term. Reduce labor costs and greater availability of resources. By moving toward de-facto open industry IaaS stacks, organization will have an easier time obtaining lower cost resources to build and support their applications and workloads. Training and on-boarding employee costs will decrease, while choices around third parties to support the workloads will increase. With … More

Achieving IaaS Savings: The Long View – Part 1

The promise of IaaS savings can be elusive and not readily apparent. In fact, some ISG customers question if they will really achieve any cost savings, or if adopting IaaS will be, ‘Another technology and, another vendor to support, thus driving up costs.’ In our view, those willing to invest the proper management commitment and oversight will reap cost savings over the long term. It’s all about discipline, convergence and standardization. To begin this two part series, here’s a look … More

Looking for a benchmarker? Ask some questions

Benchmarking business and IT operations is a tried-and-true method of ensuring that internal and/or external service providers are performing efficiently in terms of costs and service quality. A good benchmark shows how an organization is doing relative to industry peers and market standards, identifies improvement opportunities and provides a stake in the ground from which to plan and implement a transformational change strategy. But a good benchmark doesn’t happen by itself. As a client, you have to conduct due diligence … More

ADM Staffing Requires a Team Effort

Large companies must maximize the value of their applications environment to compete in today’s business environment. Because Application Development and Maintenance (ADM) is so intricately tied to bottom line results, many organizations seek specialized service providers to ensure best-in-class capabilities. While transitioning to an ADM outsourcing contract requires the staffing and onboarding of a significant set of new skills under a tight time frame, successful staffing remains important long after the end of transition. If not managed properly, this process … More

Rise to the Challenge of IT and Business Process Transformation in the Insurance Industry

A significant part of an insurance company’s operations consists of back office processes that have been brought together through the acquisition of legacy books of business, differing client needs and an evolving regulatory environment. About 80% of insurers’ back office processes are similar to each other. The remaining 20% vary widely and can be very specific to the operation of a particular insurance company. The lack of a common operating model undoubtedly hinders companies from lowering the cost of operations … More

In the New Norm of Fiscal Cliffs, Governments Need Powerful Budgeting Tools

Until recently, governments at all levels have found the market for budgeting tools to be woefully inadequate. Accordingly, most governmental organizations continue to use cobbled-together, Frankenstein-like budgeting tools that, more often than not, rely on users to extract or re-enter data in offline spreadsheets to analyze budgetary policy proposals. Such tools are labor-intensive, inflexible, error prone, limited by the data collected and fail to provide timely, sufficient budgetary insight to optimize resource allocation. In this time of greater public budget … More

Transform Your IT and Get in Shape for the Digital Economy

By Ronald Paschen, Partner, ISG Today’s information technology (IT) organizations face a dilemma. On the one hand, the digital economy is accelerating the pace of change in IT. The adoption of emerging technologies, the development of new business models and the consumerization of IT require that it evolve rapidly. On the other hand, IT faces a constant cost pressure and an increasing commoditization of services, which enable new sourcing approaches. In either case, incremental improvements and minor upgrades are not … More