by David Pastore
Towards the end of September, I attended the Gartner Outsourcing & Strategic Partnerships Summit in Orlando, FL. Originally, my thoughts going into the conference were that I would ideally come back with a better understanding of outsourcing and business trends, new technologies, and the IT supply base’s capabilities. And I did gain those insights, amongst others. I left with a much different perspective on industrialization, vendor management, and what Gartner calls the Nexus of Forces — a convergence of drivers stemming from the integration of mobile, social, information, and cloud technologies. Even more importantly, the conference provided clarity beyond these trends into how an organization can use this information to bring about the changes required to maintain and improve its existing practices.
IT veterans understand that thought and process need to be as pliable as possible in order to undertake a successful procurement initiative, but the rate at which technology is evolving provides more opportunities than ever for organizations to capitalize and/or innovate. Competitive advantages can be tenuous given the landscape emerging technologies have rendered. Now more than ever, it is important to not only know what is available in the supply base, but to know the direction the business and competitors are headed. Competitive edges will appear from this information and other category-specific trends, as well as your own familiarity with your organization and its processes to allow you to respond and adapt to the data to capture opportunities.
Effectively leveraging market trends and internal business requirement knowledge requires you to gain internal alignment on how to respond, look for ways to enhance historical process, and develop and execute a strategy. The internal alignment draws from influences such as end users who use and are familiar with technology, the blurring line between business and IT requirements, and ensuring demands are in alignment with the business’s overall objectives. Once there is clear visibility into these factors, careful consideration of your organization’s market, internal capabilities, and any capabilities that can be brought on board via third parties will be the key to identifying the ingredients to innovative success. The execution of the strategy your organization develops needs to be carefully coordinated and carried out in a manner that maximizes flexibility to so that future opportunities can be captured while risks are minimized. Technology and market knowledge, familiarity with your own organizations culture, strategic direction, and business demands, and agility that allows for quickly responding to changes in any or all of these factors are what separates that leaders from the rest.
The Summit provided far more information than I originally anticipated, and, even more valuable than the information itself, a key takeaway in the form of a working plan to piece that information into something more actionable and applicable to my work here at Source One and to our work for our clients.