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Active SLAs – New Approach for Multi-sourcing Governance

Last month, I attended the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) Outourcing World Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. I had the chance to glean fresh insights from industry-leading practitioners and get a global view from sourcing executives.

Though there has been an evolution in the outsourcing industry, one thing has not changed: outsourcing is a winning strategy. In the recent study from IAOP & Information Services Group (ISG) Annual State of the Industry 1 presented at the event, it stated that Multi-sourcing as an outsourcing approach increased by 75% from last year’s percentage”. The predictions for 2015 also show continued growth: “51 percent of respondents in the survey said they expect to pursue more outsourcing opportunities during the year”.2

Multi-sourcing - where a customer uses several service providers to provide a single scope of outsourced services, is now the new norm in outsourcing. In today’s organizations, outsourcing is increasing and each additional outsourcing agreement makes it more difficult to holistically manage IT service & support.

A new way of thinking about SLA’s is required to make multi-sourcing effective

Service-level agreement (SLA) management is the process of negotiating, defining and managing the levels of IT service. SLA management is a key challenge that organizations face as part of outsourcing and it is becoming increasingly difficult with multi-sourcing.

Most organizations invest heavily to define SLAs. If you talk to the service tower owners themselves, fewer than half have know what SLA’s are actually in the contract. They also cannot recall all of the specific details that the increasing numbers of the agreements contain. So, there is a lot of work that goes into developing these structures but there is no framework established on how to govern them in an automated way.

As a result, most SLA management is reactive. Periodic reviews between buyer and vendors are based on summary performance data from the prior period. Data from vendors is typically inconsistent and inaccurate. I was speaking with a sourcing executive at a large financial services company a couple of months ago, and she reported that half of the meeting time spent with vendors on performance was used just to agree on what an accurate view of the data was. This hardly aligns to the dynamic nature of business today.

New Paradigm on Thinking about SLA’s

Imagine the ability to manage SLA’s with each of your providers in real-time with one service integration framework. In a workshop we held in New York with a number of large buyers and providers late last year, they highlighted that this would not only move the service management model from reactive to proactive, but would also enable a more collaborative working model – moving away from the “us vs. them” paradigm. In one multi-sourced organization we’ve implemented this model in, it has completely eliminated after-hours escalation calls and dramatically reduced resolution times. With an active SLA capability you can manage all of the multi-sourcing relationships from one “pane of glass” and get accurate service information in real-time, such as:

  • Overview of all your open cases per provider
  • Cases trending towards SLA violation that you can proactively take action on
  • Actual violations that require immediate attention

To be effective, this solution would need to be very easy to consume, showing only what really matters up front. Front-line managers don’t have time to browse hundreds of tickets when only looking for one affecting the SLA. This all sound promising but is it possible to achieve?

Transforming multi-sourcing with active SLA’s

We are pleased to announce the availability of Active SLA Management in the 7.0 release of Cisco ServiceGrid. With a highly innovative user experiences via a centralized dashboard and reporting capability for the connected multi-sourced ecosystem, you will gain real-time visibility & drill-down functionality for events trending toward or violating SLAs to enable a more proactive, end-to-end vendor management capability.

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Sources:

  1. Annual State of the Industry Jagdish R. Dalal, IAOP
  2. Outsourcing 2015: Changing in a Good Way – Contributor: ISG Research, February 2015

 

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The New and Improved Data Center Blog!

We are excited to announce the creation of the Cloud blog as a new destination!

Starting today, you can visit the new Cisco Cloud blog and follow the conversation focusing on:

  • Cloud as a Service
  • Open source in the cloud
  • Intercloud

 There is more to come so please subscribe to the RSS feed to keep up with the latest from the Cloud blog.

 The Data Center blog has grown and evolved over the years and we will now be centered around (but not limited to) the following top level conversations:

  • Data Center: Compute, Storage, and Networking
  • Software Defined Networking
  • Building private clouds
  • Open source software in the data center

We look forward to being able to bring you more focused content. Thank you for all your support and interest and please let us know what topics you would like to see.

Big Data is better than a sharp stick in the eye

Big Data is better than a sharp stick in the eye. I can say this with great authority, since I missed the first half of Strata+Hadoop World 2015 in San Jose because of the latter. But eye injuries have never kept me offline for long, and I was able to follow online with what I didn’t see in person. But I was very happy to make it in to the show on Friday, and even got a seat at about row 6 in the main hall for the keynotes. Read More »

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Flipping the 70-30 IT OPEX Model On Its Head

In today’s always on and connected, Internet of Things environments, IT is taking center stage to optimize business operations.

Many IT organizations allocate 70% or more of their budgets to simply keeping their operations up and running. It’s been like this for a long time, and there are many good arguments for this approach. After all, when IT stops working, business grinds to a halt.  The penalty for failing to keeping things moving is often swift and unpleasant.

ScottClarkDCBlogMarch2015quoteAt the same time, most CIOs will admit that they are increasingly being pulled in several directions at once.  In addition to keeping the uptime ball in the air, as a CIO you must juggle an accelerating onslaught of new demands.  Like the push towards video, mobile, data analytics, and cloud.  Plus the exponential increase in Internet traffic that means your networks never seem to be fast enough.  And no IT executive wants to see their organization on the evening news in connection with the latest data security breach.

As a CIO, you should be asking your IT vendors how they can help reverse the 70-30 ratio in your shop without downgrading its performance.  How do you transition to spending less on day-to-day operations?  And, what’s the best way to direct a bigger share of IT resources toward addressing the expanding needs of the internal lines of business with more innovative solutions? Read More »

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How you integrate Network Services matters

Guest post from Lori Mac Vittie (@lmacvittie) from F5 Networks 

How you provision all the network things matters

Polymorphism is a concept central to object-oriented programming. The notion of polymorphism is used to extend the capabilities of a basic object, like a mammal, to specific implementations, like cats or dogs or honey badgers, even though they don’t care about such technical distinctions. A good example of this is cats and dogs, which are both of the type “mammal” but that “speak” in a different voice.

polymorphism

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