UBS: How we get our IT contracts right

Swiss investment bank UBS believes that getting IT services contractors to understand and sign up to its business model is the vital foundation to keep contracts on track.

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Swiss investment bank UBS believes that getting IT services contractors to understand and sign up to its business model is the vital foundation to keep contracts on track.

Speaking at the Forrester Services and Sourcing Forum in London, last week Sanjiv Somani, managing director offshoring at UBS, likened contracts to houses which require basic elements to exist. The bank ensured it always had the key elements in every IT supplier contract it signed, he said.

“In any house, you need a strong foundation, supporting walls and a roof,” he said. “The foundation is the business model and that underpins everything you do with your suppliers.”

The supporting walls, he explained, are “the right talent, cost management, benefiting from time zones, language understanding, and provider selection”.

With regards to talent, it was vital to have the right expertise where and when it is needed, and for cultural and language differences between different teams and individuals to be overcome, he said. Cost decisions are a “balance between what you can pay and satisfying your demands for skill”, he said.

It was vital for firms to explain their business model and select a provider that will operate within it, he said. If appropriate, they should make use of teams in different parts of the world, so that within their time zones they can provide constant coverage.

UBS uses providers in Russia, China and Latin America, he said, to offer different services and to be reachable at different times.

Finally, there is “the roof, which brings it all together: the management of change and of the suppliers themselves,” he said.

It is also vital to factor in flexibility. “You never know what’s going to happen: you could have a change in management, there could be a change in strategy or even a fundamental alteration of your business model. You need to be prepared for this.”

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