Best Practice Group

Do You Want To Make Your Strategic Vendor Partnerships Work?

71% of projects involving strategic vendors in IT, outsourcing, or shared services are delivered at double the budget and timescale. The information in this blog can help to prevent such outcomes.

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  • Improve the performance of your strategic vendor/partner
  • Get into new strategic partnerships faster and at a lower cost, but with higher levels of service outcomes
  • Build trust with your partners to drive innovation and lower costs in service delivery

NHS Health Screening System Unfit for Purpose: 6 steps to minimising project risk and maximising contract performance

When you watch any of the multitude of medical TV shows, they will always wax lyrical about the need for early detection to minimise the impact of an illness or even to save a patient’s life. But a recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report found some very worrying shortcomings in 4 out of the 11 screening programmes operating in England. None of the screenings for bowel, breast or cervical cancer

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Mid-term Contract Renegotiation: 6 steps to drive better value in your strategic partnership

The vast majority of outsourced relationships and complex projects are lengthy entities, often lasting five, ten, twenty years or more. It is likely that what may have suited your strategic partnership in the beginning will have moved on with what’s best for its desired outcomes today. In some cases, it’s the desired outcomes themselves that are likely to have changed and are no longer aligned to the strategic objectives of

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Retailers struggling to get digital IT projects right – how recent case law can better assure success

The Retail Times recently ran a story on the state of IT projects in their sector titled ‘UK retailers spend almost £827,000 on failed digital transformation projects’. This was an average for each project the retailers invested in. Retailers Putting off Digital IT Projects The research came from an interesting report by Fujitsu. According to the research, challenges with IT transformation projects in the retail sector are getting quite bad.

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Scottish Public Pensions Agency Abandons IT Project – 6.3 million reasons for suppliers to undertake pre-contractual due diligence

A number of recent failed IT projects have left a bad taste in the mouths of many in the Scottish political world. None more so than the report Audit Scotland published about the work Capita undertook for the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) between 2015 and 2018. The report seems to come at a time when there appears to be little room for leniency left. The report points out the

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Serco fined £19m by SFO – 5 steps to prevent reputational failures impacting you

According to the Financial Times (FT), on Wednesday 3 July Serco announced “it had reached a deal with the Serious Fraud Office in which it was hit with a £19.2m fine plus costs for three offences of fraud and two of false accounting”. Allegedly, the offences these fines related to were committed between 2010 and 2013. Reputational Failures… No matter how historic a transgression might be, it’s important to consider

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4 New Ways of Working that Improve Strategic Partnership Performance

In our recent blog ‘Roadmap to More Successful Strategic Outsourcing Relationships’, we discussed a top-level view of the steps any organisation should take to improve their chances of project success when working with outsourced partners, then pointed to our white paper on the subject for a great deal more detail. With this overview in mind, to improve partnership performance, it is now important to focus on one very important aspect

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Business Sues Oracle Over Alleged Poor Software Delivery: 6 Steps to Get Your Solution Fit for Purpose

Multibillion-dollar software company Oracle seems to have recently been under the media spotlight for both good and not-so-good reasons. On the one hand, it has just reported better than expected revenues and its highest growth rate since 2011. On the other hand, according to a number of reports, it looks to have spent quite some time dealing with legal matters that have the potential to impact on the company’s brand

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Roadmap to More Successful Strategic Outsourcing Relationships

Benjamin Franklin is famously quoted as saying “… nothing is certain except death and taxes”. I would go so far as to add one more to that list: ‘change’. While resisted by many, feared by others, and exploited by some, change is inevitable. Technological advances, customer preferences, budgetary constraints, and, of course, the on-going ‘Brexit’, force organisations to adapt to the new reality of Britain in 2019. And though traditionally

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How effectively using ‘Social Enterprise’ companies can cut your costs

We have noticed (and continue to encourage) a steady increase in the use of social enterprise companies in the day-to-day service delivery activities of the modern-day organisation/business. Where profits and positioning were once the unchallenged, primary goals, it seems that both ‘good’ businesses and public sector organisations are increasing their interest to encourage social enterprises into their procurement and service delivery process. The money these ‘client’ organisations invest each year

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The 4-Step Procurement Strategy to Minimising Risk and Maximising Value

The Four Step Procurement Strategy to Minimising Risk and Maximising Value

In the wake of many costly failed major projects, reported regularly in the media, it is more important than ever to have a tried and tested, effective, procurement strategy that you can rely on. How does yours stack up? Do you have a simple strategy that leads to procurement success? Do you follow it religiously? A great strategic outsourcing relationship starts with a great procurement strategy The process you use

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Interserve Collapse: 7 lessons learned from Carillion that are relevant for clients of Interserve

Since Interserve’s collapse, many people have likened what happened to this multibillion-pound organisation to the set of events that led up to the demise of Carillion, which itself collapsed just 13 months earlier. We have already written a number of articles on the subject that have looked to show the difference between the two, primarily around how service delivery can be less disrupted. However, this article focuses on what lessons

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Shareholders suing Oracle over ‘misleading statements’ regarding moving clients to the cloud

You will have probably heard of Oracle. Founded over 40 years ago by Larry Ellison who remains its Executive Chairman and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), along with Bob Miner and Ed Oates. It employs 137,000 people and turns over c.$40bn. An organisation of this size relies on its reputation for delivering robust software solutions. In this vein, ‘optics’, the perception people have of you and your organisation, are important; possibly

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How to Inspire Transformative Performance Improvements in a Challenging Project

Projects rarely run strictly according to plan. The longer your strategic relationships must last, and the higher the number of individuals, teams and departments involved, the greater the opportunity for things to veer off course. It’s at this stage that you may be looking to orchestrate performance improvements. Are Performance Improvements Needed to Get Back on Track ? Even the best run projects will encounter periods where confidence, innovation and

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Interserve’s Administration: What to do if you think administrators are taking advantage

When Interserve went into administration there were many who slipped all too easily into the perception that this was going to be Carillion all over again. You didn’t need to look very far to see pundits and papers warning of doom and gloom. However, Interserve and Carillion are very different examples of what could happen when an organisation fails, so we thought we’d share a few insights into why one

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4 Tips to Help You Effectively Manage Your Agile Projects

Agile is a relatively recent project management style that seems at first glance to be at odds with traditional project management thinking. Why stick to rigid contracts and processes when you could be more flexible to the needs of the project, the relationship and the end user? Typically adopted on engineering and IT projects, agile project management can also be employed across a broad spectrum of other project types to

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London Garden Bridge failed procurement cost £53m; three lessons learned

Another failed procurement funded by taxpayers, the London Garden Bridge, a floral link between Temple and the South Bank and a tribute to the late Princess Diana, was going to be one of the prides of our capital. It was intended to be an extension of our green spaces and a sign of our aim to move towards a more environmentally aware society. This £185m failed procurement project was also

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How to Boost Trust and Value in Strategic Partnerships by Reducing Opportunities for Opportunism

If you have followed our blog for any length of time, you will be only too aware of just how much we advocate the importance of trust in a collaborative or strategic partnership. It is a straightforward concept – you select a provider based on your confidence that they have the capability and capacity to achieve your goals and the willingness to do their best for you, and then it

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Interserve’s Administration: 5 steps to take now, should your supplier find itself in similar difficulties

Since Interserve fell into its pre-pack administration on 15th March, there have been many across the spectrum of suppliers and clients who have wondered what this actually meant for their relationships, projects and outstanding invoices. After all, the aim of a pre-pack administration is to give an organisation the capacity to stand up, wipe itself clean of all its debts and start anew as if nothing had happened. So, what

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Poor tender process: Government to pay £33m compensation over Brexit ferry contracts

The no-deal Brexit ferry scandal has been rumbling along in the media for months now. In summary, an agreement was made in December to handle the potential additional need for roll-on roll-off lorry freight capacity in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It was with three ferry companies – Brittany Ferries, DFDS and Seaborne Freight. However, one attracted more media attention than the others: Seaborne Freight. This article looks into

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Multi-sourcing: 7 Steps to Reduced Costs and Improved Services


Multi-sourcing offers a huge opportunity to both the public and private sectors in terms of achieving (and even surpassing) desired outcomes. The reasoning behind this is rather simple – it is, in principle, a far more streamlined and efficient version of outsourcing. Whilst “traditional” outsourcing hands the entire service to a main contractor, multi-sourcing utilises multiple “best of breed” providers, each with specific skill sets, all managed by the client. However, the

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