The more precisely you mean it with a tender, the more detailed it becomes. This is no different when it comes to tendering for IT operations. The hours, minutes and seconds for maintenance windows on certain days in certain weeks are specified, the rotational speed of virtual hard disks is required and, in addition to the certification of the people involved, their shoe size may also be queried at some point.
In other words: Instead of essentially writing out responsibility for parts of electronic data processing (EDP), this is broken down down to the smallest configuration items (CIs) and huge Excel spreadsheets are presented, which the service providers are supposed to provide with prices.
Sounds strange, because what the point of a tender is can actually be answered easily and briefly: Find the ideal service provider for the service that you want to outsource.
What is it that really matters? If you talk to companies whose IT is already operated by service providers, you will hear sentences like: “They have understood our business.”, “They realize whether the current problem is more difficult than it appears at first glance.”, “They have absolutely no feeling for our business.”, “They always only care about defined processes and not about us users.” Or also “When I call the hotline, I don’t understand a word”.
Although these statements could not be more different, they have one thing in common: All statements refer to people. And these human aspects cannot be queried in advance in a digital Excel spreadsheet and provided with a yes or no or a price.
An external IT operation is like a temporary marriage – it really has to fit together.
The task of purchasing is not just shopping – anyone can shop. The real challenge is to buy good quality at a reasonable price. If sporting goals are supported by bonuses, then the goal is even to buy fantastic quality at unbelievable prices. But who doesn’t know the saying “buy cheap, buy twice”?
Every fourth (!) group in Germany with more than 20,000 employees has once awarded its IT operations to the provider who was the cheapest at the time – and would never do that again.
Does everyone have to have had an experience once in order to avoid it? Nor does everyone have to put their hand on the hot stove to realize that they are then burned. Unlike the neighbor’s cat, warning and imagination should suffice.
So the modern form of a tender should rather describe the required service. It asks the service provider to show that they understand the criticality of these components and to explain why they are the most suitable.
Home office and team conferences or not: something like this has to be clarified personally at the table. Filling out an Excel spreadsheet is not enough here. Let yourself be supported as much as possible in the pre-selection of consultants. The right external operator of your own IT – without which no wheel in the company turns today – is your own responsibility and a matter for the boss.
Talk to the service providers. Don’t break down tenders for IT operations to bits and bytes, but summarize services. And: Give a good gut feeling for a service provider a chance next to Excel spreadsheets and faceless checklists.
If you agree that you can’t always buy the best quality at the best price, apply that knowledge to your next managed service RFP.
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Head of Managed Services
CONET Services GmbH
Peter Lenz supports and advises CONET customers from business, industry and trade on IT operations, managed services, IT outsourcing and the special IT challenges in mergers & acquisitions, business transfers and carve-outs.