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.

Enter your email address below and click on "Subscribe" to receive updates on how to:

  • 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

How to Renegotiate a Contract with Your Strategic Partner (in 5 Steps)

There are many reasons as to why one would want to renegotiate a contract with their strategic partner but the thought of the uphill challenge puts many off. In this blog, we offer up tips for a positive resolution with the kind assistance of Dr David Barrett from PROCURiSOURCE. By following the steps noted below, you can effectively renegotiate an existing contract with a strategic partner in such a way

Read More

What Really Happened to Cause Carillion’s Collapse?

We have dedicated quite a bit of article time and space to the challenges that clients of Carillion have experienced over the last few months. We have published other articles focused on the NAO report into the handling of the company’s liquidation, the inherent risks of rushing towards step-in providers, and how to protect your interests should your supplier not be able or be unwilling to continue providing your services.

Read More

8 Intelligent Client Function Team Skills to Maximise Value in Vendor Relationships

2013-08-19 Intelligent Capability - 160 x 216

This will not come as a surprise to many out there, but complex vendor relationships are, well, complex in nature and, therefore, will naturally be difficult to manage. If you have ever been involved in a sizeable client/vendor relationship that starts to veer out of control, you’ll know how difficult it can be for all parties to recover lost commercial trust and confidence. This is why it is so vitally

Read More

Top 5 Outsourcing Mistakes to Avoid Before Choosing a Provider

Outsourcing Mistakes

Outsourcing is a tempting proposition for any company that feels the strain of a bloated workforce and high service delivery costs. After all, the theoretical arguments in favour of outsourcing are compelling – you leverage the expertise of an external party, who are better qualified to deliver a more efficient (and less costly) service. Unfortunately, a theoretical benefit does not always translate well into reality. At Best Practice Group, we

Read More

PFI – is there a better way after all…?

PFI (private finance initiative) – the mechanism for funding major infrastructure and construction projects, where completed assets remain, at least initially, in private ownership, and the cost of their construction is paid off, often with significant interest, over many years with public sector money – has been going through somewhat of a negative PR period. To put it mildly and not without some justification, PFI has a public perception problem.

Read More

Lidl Cancels €500m SAP IT Project – 4 Learnings to Consider

The SAP IT project, eLWIS (electronic merchandise management and information system) has been dropped by client, Lidl, after 7-years of analysis, development and trial rollouts. What happened, where does the blame lie and what now for the global retail brand that in 2011 decided it needed a radical change to keep up with its global expansion pans but now finds itself practically back to square one? Background to SAP IT

Read More

Rebuild Trust & Create More Productive Strategic Partnerships in 4 Steps

Trust is a vague concept at best – hard-won and all too easily lost, faked by some, presumed by others, but vital to master. Trust may be an intangible asset, but it can have a very real and significant impact on your strategic partnerships and the projects you work on together. This article looks to demystify the art of rebuilding trust where it has been lost and the very real

Read More

Early Outsourcing Termination? Save millions on your exit fees with these six questions

Wouldn’t it be nice if client-vendor relationships always followed a clearly defined path with all parties focused on doing their best to live up to the business outcomes they agreed to at the outset? I can almost hear you nodding and sighing with wishful thinking, but, as we all know, in the real world, major contractual relationships are quite often rife with miscommunication, hidden agendas and ambiguity. In addition, there

Read More

NAO Report on Government’s Handling of Carillion’s Liquidation – 7 lessons learned

In a recent LinkedIn post, Joshua Reddaway‬, Director, Work and Pensions VFM and Head of Practice (Commercial and Contracting) at the UK National Audit Office‬ (NAO) talked about the new NAO report they had released on the government’s handling of Carillion’s liquidation. It “sets out the facts” relating to the government’s involvement in the handling of the Carillion situation, from its surprise profit warning in July 2017 to its liquidation.

Read More

Is this the End for PFI?

Is this the end for PFI? In May this year an interesting article came out in the GCR (Global Construction Review) on the CIOB (Chartered Institute of Building) website, titled ‘Bye-bye, PFI: UK signals effective end of private finance initiative’. The opening paragraph stated: “Judged to deliver poor value for money, the UK’s once mighty Private Finance Initiative (PFI) has fallen into disuse.” But is this a fair assessment of

Read More

Capita Agree Significant Failings on NHS Outsourcing Contract; PAC Interview Capita CEO

In June we wrote an article titled NAO Report: NHS England and Capita Outsourcing Challenges, 4 Lessons which looked into the outsourcing contract issues faced by both NHS England and Capita when they tried to transform primary care support services for around 39,000 primary care practitioners, including GPs, dentists and ophthalmologists. The NAO report at the time suggested that both parties had “misjudged the scale and nature of the risk in

Read More

Is Active or Passive Management Best for your Outsourcing Relationship?

Is Active or Passive Management best for your outsourcing relationship

Academic analysis of the outsourcing sector would likely compartmentalise partnership relationship management into two clear camps – active and passive. In the active outsourcing relationship management camp, clients take an overarching governance role that some might say risks stifling vendor creativity and expertise; in the passive outsourcing relationship management camp, others could suggest, the client leaves themselves open to a litany of potential unscrupulous activities they are ill-prepared to cope with. So,

Read More

NAO Report – Survival kit for major project relationships

When the NAO produces an analysis of key aspects of major project relationships, it is always worth taking note. The NAO report titled ‘Survival Guide to Challenging Costs in Major Projects’ is no exception. The UK government is working on some of the biggest and most complex infrastructure projects it has ever undertaken, not only in cost but also in time from inception to delivery. This will, by definition, increase

Read More

4 Issues you could be contributing to that are holding back your BPO provider

Outsourcing any aspect of your operations is rarely a walk in the park. For anyone who’s ever been through such a project, the challenges, misunderstandings and potential for clashes when handing responsibility to a third party are likely to have been a source of much stress. Often, should such problems occur, it is found that they are rooted in four core issues – unmet expectations, specification details, challenges in communication

Read More

3 Steps to Recovering from Poor Service Delivery by your Strategic Partner


Problems can arise at any point within a major strategic partner service delivery relationship. Life with a strategic partner is very much like a marriage – after the first year or so, when the honeymoon period has become but a happy memory, the on-going relationship will at times be not quite as smooth sailing as you intended it to be at the outset. It usually starts with little things like leaving

Read More

The Smart Way to use Input, Output and Outcome Specifications to get the Most from your Suppliers


Large contract relationships are notoriously difficult to predict. Many will make it through to a successful conclusion, some will fail spectacularly and others will quietly underachieve. A common influencer across all of these relationships is the strength of the communication during the procurement process between client and supplier – something as simple as a small misunderstanding, or the misalignment of aspirations and expectations with the specification, can quickly become a

Read More

8 Secrets to Better Outsourcing Relationship Management to Drive Savings

relationship management

Have your outsourcing relationships always followed a textbook flow from selection to management and finally to successful conclusion? Perhaps not; life just isn’t that simple. Critical supplier and partner relationships are difficult, complicated and ever-changing, and as the financial implications of expectations going astray can be ‘uncomfortable’, it is all the more important that you deliver the benefits of outsourcing relationship and contract management best practices – preferably to achieve

Read More

NAO Report: NHS England and Capita Outsourcing Challenges, 4 Lessons

Outsourcing challenges, what can we learn from the recent NAO report into the seven-year contract NHS England entered into with Capita in 2015 and worth a reported £330m? The contract was to deliver the transformation of primary care support services for tens of thousands of primary care practitioners. The reported aims of this contract were: To reduce costs by 35% in the first year of the contract To reduce ongoing administrative

Read More

Carillion and others: The risk of ‘step-in’ service providers taking advantage

Carillion and others: the risk of ‘step-in’ service providers taking advantage of you and what to do about it (A070)

With Brexit, local elections, superpower posturing and international poisoning scandals to push the news media forward, the troubles caused by Carillion will seem like a long time ago to most. But, for the company’s employees, its suppliers whose businesses relied so heavily on the outsourcing giant, and for the clients that found themselves at the mercy of the Official Receiver with their ‘Special Managers’, PWC, the sense of dread that started

Read More

Agreements to Agree: Three Reasons why This Last Resort now has Legal Teeth

3 Reasons: Agreements to Agree now have Legal Teeth

Many pressures beset those responsible for large-scale projects, forcing them to choose between a fastidious approach to procurement and project management, and meeting the time restrictions or budgetary constraints they are often required to work under. These are the circumstances in which corners can be cut, in which mistakes might be made or in which people can be convinced to enter into an ‘agreement to agree’. We would urge anyone

Read More