Working with multiple partners is a reality for a number of networked enterprises, but this also exposes them to some risks. “If you don’t work together [with] who is doing what, then you can either have the gap or the double up,” says Terry Shubkin, head of operations, Unisys New Zealand. “Something goes wrong and everyone says and points their fingers in a different direction and say, ‘but it was their [the other party’s or parties’] responsibility to do that’.
“If you don’t plan for those responsibilities,” she says, “not only do they [the different parties] trip up over when something goes wrong, but the organisation pays twice for the same service.”
Shubkin has seen these things occur in both public and private sector organisations. Five years ago, she says, Unisys developed the Joint Responsibility Matrix (JRM) for enterprises working with Unisys. The JRM was developed internally based on ITIL processes and principles.
Shubkin says what they do is “take the chunks of all the services related to what the enterprise needs to do and map it out and colour code it”. The goal is not to have overlapping colours. “It does sound simple,” says Shubkin, “but it is amazing how many times it doesn’t happen. And when we do it retroactively to a client, they say, ‘No wonder we are always having problem in those areas.’
“The JRM is around being task-orientated and what we did was overlay those governance frameworks, which is really important because if you don’t get the governance right it doesn’t matter how good [you are] operating from a tactical level, you might be misaligned.”
She says it is important to draft a “relationships charter” when working on projects with multiple providers. She quotes one CIO she worked with who said vendor relationship is like a marriage. “You both need to work at it and if there is a problem, it is never going to be one side’s fault or the other.”
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