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

Intelligent Supplier – Client Engagement Function (Series: 7 of 9)

Welcome to this, the seventh of nine articles in our in-depth series looking into the make-up, indicators and behaviours of an intelligent supplier – the practically innovative partner for your complex service delivery relationships. On reflection, I recognise that client engagement could have been included earlier in this series. The collaboration between an intelligent client and an intelligent supplier is such a fundamental feature of many of the core elements

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Developing and Re-Shaping the Contract – Intelligent Supplier (Series: 6 of 9)

Contract Management

Driving really strong and collaborative behaviours between you and your supplier for complex services is a great achievement. Your competence in managing external providers to help accelerate the achievement of your business objectives will be seen and measured as driving high value for your organisation. However, if your strategic relationships stutter, stumble or stagnate, then there is a possibility that one or both of you are not acting as ‘intelligent’

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Managing the Innovation Process – Do You Have An Intelligent Supplier? (Series: 5 of 9)


Welcome to article 5 in our series of 9 on the vitally important, but often overlooked, subject of the ‘intelligent supplier’ – what to look out for, what behaviours to support and what to avoid when it comes to choosing and managing the strategic partners you’ll work with. So far we have covered the way an intelligent supplier would contribute to a client’s Business and Operating Strategy, how they evidence

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Intelligent Supplier – Constructive Critical Friend (Series: 4 of 9)

critical friend

There are few things more important to the prospects for your projects than the need for you to find a strategic partner that reflects your own ‘commitment to the cause’ – an ‘Intelligent Supplier’ and an ‘Intelligent Client’ working in good synchronicity. So important is this collaborative behaviour, that we have dedicated a nine-part series to one half of this relationship, the ‘Intelligent Supplier’. This is the fourth article in

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Intelligent Supplier – Evidencing Commercial Trust (Series: 3 of 9)


Welcome to the third article in our series on the collection of facets and intrinsic value of an Intelligent Supplier – what your supplier could be doing to ensure your relationship has a greater chance of success, and how you can identify whether they have this capability, capacity and foresight. Article #1 in the series focused on ‘Understanding, Supporting (and Challenging) the Client’s Business and Operating Strategy’, Article #2 was

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NHS PFI contractors making up to 20% profit; 6 proven steps to reduce your ongoing lifecycle costs

6 Ways You Can Help to Reduce the UK’s Escalating PFI Bill

In the words of Colin Leys, co-chair of the independent think tank, The Centre for Health and Public Interest (CHPI): “This money was designated by parliament to pay for patient care, not to pay dividends to a small number of investors.” Last month, CHPI completed a report called ‘P.F.I. – Profiting From Infirmaries’. After analysing accounting data from the Treasury and Companies House, CHPI was able to determine that some

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Intelligent Supplier – Supporting Your Objectives (Series: 2 of 9)


Any successful complex service delivery relationship requires both sides to consistently act in the best interests of the relationship – a collaboration between ‘intelligent clients’ and ‘intelligent suppliers’. However, in our experience, backed up by numerous independent reports on the state of the market, the majority of all client/supplier relationships for complex services do unfortunately fail. We have written many articles on the attributes of an ‘Intelligent Client’. This series

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Intelligent Supplier – Understanding Your Business Strategy (Series: 1 of 9)


This article is the first of a series of nine articles dedicated to your Strategic Partner in a complex service delivery relationship: the subject of the ‘Intelligent Supplier’. Both the mindset and behaviour of your Supplier are critical to their ability to drive maximum value over the lifecycle of your relationship. With this in mind, in our experience of working with over 500 strategic supplier relationships, and our research into

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Drafting Good Behaviour into Fit-for-Purpose Contracts

good behaviour

Welcome back to our two-part series on the whys and wherefores of developing a fit-for-purpose contract. In our last instalment, we considered the foundations of why a fit-for-purpose contract is so important. It focused on the reasons why the extra time and effort to create one helps to cut the cost of services, improve the chances of achieving your objectives and reduce management time in your supplier relationships. It also

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5 Foundations To A Fit For Purpose Contract To Drive Collaborative Behaviours

What is a ‘fit for purpose contract’? And how can it really drive collaborative behaviour? When it comes to complex service delivery relationships, the aim of a fit for purpose contract is for it to provide the operating foundations to drive ‘enabling’ behaviours between client and supplier. The ultimate objective of the contract is to aid a client in their efforts to achieve a defined ‘Future State’ of service operations

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7 Reasons Why You Should Renegotiate Your Outsourcing Relationship


Outsourcing contract renegotiations are on the rise. Around 75% of all existing outsourcing relationships are renegotiated at some point during their lifetime according to Gartner Research.  And contrary to what you might think, not all of these renegotiations are down to bad performance — contracts can be renegotiated for many positive reasons. Not only that, but contract renegotiation can be triggered either by the service provider or the client. The

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10 Contract Management Tips To Drive Success In Major Projects

Contract Management

Many of our blogs refer to the importance of not only entering larger contracts in the right way but also the equal, if not greater, the importance of managing these contracts and the providers they are with, once they are in place. All too often, once signed, a contract will be consigned to a dusty shelf in a back-office filing room, forgotten, for all intents and purposes, only to be

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5 steps to make your KPIs smarter to achieve your business outcomes

Graph and personage on white background.

I know I speak for all of us when I say that delivering business outcomes using external outsourcing or technology partners is really easy… Isn’t it? After all, you simply need to explain to your provider what you want to achieve, point them in the right direction and leave them to get on with it. Right? Err… maybe in an ideal world, but, as we all know, the reality of

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9 Steps To Transition From Single Supplier To Multi-Supplier Outsourcing

Steersman on puzzle

An increasing number of organisations and institutions are exploring the benefits of moving from their large single-supplier outsourcing relationships to the multi-supplier variety. Gavin Hall has outlined that in his experience, which reflects our own, the enhanced value and specialist expertise, such as Cloud services, have strong evidence for such a move, but you need to have clear business reasons and understand the implications for all parties of such a move

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8 Questions to Determine the Root Cause of Poor Project Performance

8 Questions to Define the Root Cause of Poor Project Performance

To promote better productivity through more collaborative problem-solving it would be useful to shift perspectives in the outsourcing arena, so that when things go wrong people recognise that it’s not always the other person’s fault. Often issues are multifaceted, and the longer that they are allowed to build up, the more difficult it can be to establish the root cause of the problem – usually a good place to start

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Outcome-Based Pricing Model in Strategic Service Delivery

quantifying outcomes

While the theory behind outcome-based pricing models is nothing new, the penchant for establishing relationships specifically based on driving true added value is certainly growing in popularity with both vendors and clients. The reasons for this are simple. With suppliers utilising their own resources and best practices, they have an opportunity to (a) bring some much needed fresh thinking to client service delivery innovation and options, (b) reduce the on-going

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Cloud Computing Procurement: 6 Steps to a Beneficial Outcome

Cloud Computing Procurement: 6 Steps to a Beneficial Outcome

Last week we revealed how all too many cloud computing contracts (and more specifically, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) agreements) result in completely unacceptable outcomes for the buying organisation. The key issue is typically a fatal misalignment between the buyer’s desired business outcomes and the terms of the agreement. You expect a system that can fulfill your specific business outcomes, but the vendor is tasked with providing infrastructure. That in itself

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Cloud Computing: Where Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Procurement Fails

Cloud Computing: Where Infrastructure as a Service Procurement Fails

We all know that cloud computing is becoming more and more relevant to public and private organisations. For most enterprises, the potential cost savings of moving infrastructure to the cloud are too big to ignore. However, as a relatively new form of outsourcing, cloud computing is not without its potential pitfalls. This is especially the case when it comes to procuring Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Many companies have found

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NAO’s Report on Transition and Termination Issues in Commercial Contracts

transition termination contract

This is the final article in a series of seven that reviewed the twenty issues highlighted by the National Audit Office (NAO) in their latest report on emerging best practice in commercial and contract management. Our articles have grouped these issues under the same seven headings as the NAO report – Commercial Strategy, Commercial Capability, Market Management and Sourcing, Contract Approach, Contract Management, Contract Lifecycle, and Transition and Termination. This

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Strategic Partnership Collaboration – 10 Lessons To Get What You Want

Benefits of Collaboration

One of the imperatives of modern service delivery is to partner with people who can do things for you better and more cost effectively than you can do them yourself. The public and private sectors are using more innovative forms of governance and management through partnerships with others,  yet, research shows that high numbers (nearly 50% in fact) of strategic partnerships fail to achieve their objectives. Why is this? Having

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