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

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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Interserve has gone into administration: 8 tips to protect your interests

The last few weeks have been really challenging for outsourcing firm Interserve. A quick look through recent BBC headlines on the business says it all – ‘Crunch week for Interserve’, ‘UK outsourcing giant faces crunch vote’, ‘Interserve on the brink’, ‘No sign of Interserve’s biggest investor’, ‘Interserve faces administration’, ‘Interserve’s stock market decline’, ‘Interserve failure raises questions’, ‘Interserve completes fast-track sale’. Another one of the UK’s leading government contractors has

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Strategic Supplier Challenges? Do you really need to arbitrate? 5 ‘sanity check’ considerations for a successful resolution

We know from our own experience, and via the media of course, that many strategic supplier relationships have their ups and downs. Traditional good practice tells us that when a relationship is heading in a downward trajectory, we should consider contractual escalation points that are designed to put pressure on the supplier to positively encourage it to ‘up its game’. However, if you’ve tried this on your projects, you may

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Strategic Supplier Relationship Difficulties? 3 steps to a resolution by identifying everyone’s underlying interests

Successful strategic (complex) client / supplier relationships tend to have one thing in common – a collaborative mindset. This is one where parties not only work extensively together to achieve big, bold goals, but also where they overcome seriously challenging issues. To get to this mindset and achieve desired outcomes, parties must often pull in the same direction while being respectful of the other’s interests and expectations. In some relationships,

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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 in

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8 Questions to Determine the Root Cause of Poor Project Performance

To promote better productivity through more collaborative problem-solving it would be useful to shift perspectives, 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 when looking to find

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Your Supplier Management Team is saving you millions – The 10 Commandments they live by

It’s not unusual for senior management teams to be unaware of the significant value their supplier management and Intelligent Client Function (ICF) teams create for their organisations. And, because this value can often go unnoticed, those at the coalface can think themselves in a more thankless job than most. Recognising the Importance of the ICF Team As a senior executive in your organisation, you’ll already undoubtedly understand that your supplier

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