How (and why) to break up with your IT service provider

When plans change or performance is poor, it may be time to break off an outsourcing commitment. Here’s how to make the process as pain-free and productive as possible.

How (and why) to break up with your IT service provider

Not all outsourcing relationships last. And it could be any number of reasons that might suggest an IT service provider relationship is worth breaking up over. The outsourcing vendor’s performance may be poor. The client may feel they’ve lost control of their IT organization. Costs and fees may have ballooned. The contract may be nearing its end with little desire to re-up.

No matter the rationale, there is one common issue at the core of most dissatisfied outsourcing customers’ complaints: Things have changed.

“The most important reasons are that the business is changing, the market is changing, the dynamics are different, the solutions being used were built for a different time, or the scope of services needed have changed and the customer may need a different firm with capabilities in a different area and with more innovation,” says Doug Plotkin, managing director in Deloitte Consulting’s Technology Strategy and Business Transformation group. “When we hear that a provider isn’t doing a good job, what the company may really mean is that the services they receive are no longer appropriate for what the company now needs, and they are frustrated with the provider’s inability to pivot.”

It’s important to examine the root causes and conditions underlying an underperforming outsourcing arrangement before even considering terminating a deal — and to give the provider an opportunity to remedy them.

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