The Challenges of Managing Complex Networks

Many CIOs need to upgrade their aging networks, but are struggling to understand and articulate their new requirements given today's increasingly complex IT environment.

Mobile data

A lack of understanding of local conditions presents an additional challenge as the pace of change and technology innovation varies by country, as do regulatory and business climates. Some countries still have telecom monopolies and duopolies, while others are highly competitive, with variations by technology. In many cases not understanding the true total cost of ownership, inclusive of all commercial and technical dependencies, is the greatest risk to multinational programs.

CIOs are finding that traditional approaches to RFPs and contracting are ill-suited to addressing this wide range of challenges. For one thing, standard RFPs are highly prescriptive and reflect a client’s vision of the desired solution. In today’s evolving and demanding connectivity environments, clients don’t always know what the best solution will be. As such, they need to leverage innovation from providers, rather than dictate what the solution should be.

Service providers, for their part, often struggle to articulate how they align their capabilities with these changing requirements and how they present a real value proposition to the client.

In this environment, I have found that leveraging the “Request for Solution” (RFS) sourcing model can be an effective alternative to traditional RFP contracting methods. Under an RFS sourcing model, the customer describes the characteristics of their current IT architecture and operational environment, overriding strategic objectives, major concerns, and vision of the desired future state. Rather than dictate the specific terms to be adhered to, clients provide potential suppliers with the flexibility to propose unique solutions.

By asking providers for a solution rather than telling them what’s required, clients can encourage fresh thinking and the innovation that they are seeking.

About the Author

John Lytle is a director at the Information Services Group (ISG).

This article was originally published on 07-24-2014
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