You don't, however, always have to go along to get along. Just because you say no to a service provider doesn't mean you're not collaborating, says Dave Brown, managing director of Equaterra's information technology advisory.
Resolution #3: I will dream big.
While it's important to keep expectations in check, take time to think about the big picture. "After year one, most deals' lofty aspirations devolve into the everyday reality of putting out fires and dealing with short term decisions," says Strichman of Sanda Partners. "Strategic issues, such as innovation and strategic planning, get short shrift." Schedule an executive meeting early in the year to draw attention to larger goals. Exclude everyday account personnel for now, advises Strichman: "This ensures that the hot problem du jour does not dominate the conversation." Ask vendor executives to share strategic changes that have made a big impact with other customers.
Another option is to create an innovation roadmap, says Phil Fersht, founder of outsourcing analyst firm HfS Research, and ask your provider for input and resources to support it.
Don't just go with the flow. "Push the contractual envelope with your vendors," says Scott Staples, president and CEO of knowledge services for outsourcer MindTree. "Whether it is SaaS, outcome-based pricing, or some other model, new models should be explored everywhere in your organization."
Resolution #4: I will keep it simple.
"In our view, the top-of-the-list 2011 resolution for client organizations is standardization," says Mathers of Compass. Consider your typical global enterprise: each business unit, geographic region, each function often does things its own way. And service providers accommodate such specialized requirements. After all, the customer is always right.
"This results in operational constraints that drive high costs and inefficiency," says Mathers. Resolve to implement standard definitions for IT service delivery across the enterprise and reward their use. They should address 90 percent or more of your requirements, Mathers promises.
Resolution #5: I will say what I mean.
If you're not partnering to implement, paradigm shift, you're thinking outside the box to implement mission critical processes. Put down the buzzword bingo card. There's nothing like exactitude and candor in getting what you want from a vendor. In keeping with keeping it simple, start by eliminating just a couple of imprecise and overused terms for now.
"Stop using the word 'innovation' and use the word that is really meant," suggests Joseph King, CMO for outsourcer Mindtree, "whether it's cost savings, productivity improvement, outcome-based pricing, et cetera."
And consider eliminating the word "cloud" for your vocabulary, says Lee Ann Moore, EquaTerra's CMO, unless you're talking about the weather. Instead of resorting to the c-word, says Bob Cecil, executive director of EquaTerra's business and financial advisory. "Describe the offering for what it really is-SaaS, platform SaaS, business process as a Service, or private network."
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