Transitioning from one IT service provider to another can be a stressful, drawn out process that leads to lost productivity and poor outcomes. Many organizations are underprepared and rush into a transition without a well formulated plan. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If the right steps are followed, changing IT service vendors can reduce costs and improve the performance of services, allowing the IT department to more effectively drive business goals.

This article will discuss three keys to making a successful IT service transition and forming the foundations for a productive relationship with the new vendor.

  1. Full organizational participation
  2. One of the greatest points of failure in an IT service vendor transition is a lack of participation within the organization. It is important to remember that success will require substantial effort and foresight. In order to carry out an IT service provider transition, it is absolutely critical that the company be fully committed to the process. Leaders within the IT organization and within the business should work together to ensure the transition is successful and that the goals of the entire organization are met. There should also be robust data gathering prior to making the transition in order to develop consistent metrics and to build a plan to achieve those metrics. As the process unfolds, there should be structures in place to continually implement the plan’s components and continually adapt it based on failures and changing needs. Transitioning always takes longer and is more difficult than the company thinks, it’s important to remain committed to a strong plan in order to see it through to the end.

  3. Transition governance structures
  4. Keeping a transition plan on track and ensuring that the current and future provider deliver expected services while under contract requires robust governance. A skilled team should be in place to oversee the transition, track progress, and make adjustments. This team should regularly meet with senior management and stakeholders to maintain alignment with broader business objectives and ensure accountability.

    In order to effectively implement governance, it is important to build a plan based on trackable work. This means creating a timeline for the transition period with regular milestones agreed upon with the IT service vendor. These milestones should be based on the accomplishment of business driven goals, with payment made to the vendor upon successful completion. This helps ensure that the vendor stays motivated to complete projects successfully and in a timely fashion. There should also be mechanisms to rapidly resolve any disagreements within the organization or with the vendor to keep the transition from stalling.

  5. Strong transition team skills
  6. Above all, it is key for companies not to underestimate the work and skill required to successfully transition IT service vendors. If the company doesn’t have the necessary experience, they won’t know what’s coming and won’t be prepared to deal with problems. For example, one common pitfall is failure to properly manage the incumbent vendor during transition. If the incumbent loses out to another vendor during the bid process, they are often very unhappy, and may severely cut efforts to provide good IT service. Knowing how to manage situations like these, and tailor a plan to ensure that any problems are quickly addressed, is extremely important to a successful transition. Companies must have the right people on their side in order to balance speed and risk and work with the company and vendors to facilitate a seamless transition.

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