Most information technology leaders enter into outsourcing relationships with a reasonable understanding of where they'd like their IT services provider to take them-some point in the future where the state of IT has been improved by saving money, increasing efficiency, or implementing new enterprise systems.
But do they have a clear idea of how they'll actually get there? Not so much.
The problem with that strategy is that it's akin to heading off on a road trip to a great new destination without a map or directions, says Shawn Fields, a managing consultant with outsourcing advisory firm Alsbridge. And it will likely leave you feeling the same way-lost and frustrated.
Outsourcing clients need to specify not only where they are going - 'We want a cost reduction of 20 percent over five years', for example - but also how they're going to get there. One way to do that is to create a transformation roadmap: a definitive plan specifying how the vendor will provide those contractually obligated improvements.
"It's easy for a provider to say that they're going to reduce contract spend 20 percent over five years, but where the rubber meets the road is when the client asks, 'How?'" says Fields. "That extra due diligence-the 'how'-provides the mechanism for the client to verify that the committed cost improvements are or are not achievable."
A transformation roadmap should consist of a set of projects prioritized by their importance as well as the timing of their implementation, Fields advises.