Alsbridge Defines Six Problems Outsourcing Providers Do Not Talk About

Dallas, TX, March 11, 2009 --( Outsourcing providers often struggle with internal issues that degrade the services they provide clients. But clients must lead the way toward solutions.

Ben Trowbridge, CEO of Alsbridge, Inc., the leading outsourcing consultant, said typical provider problems and possible solutions include:
Sales Guys Don’t Talk to Delivery Guys - In the outsourcing business, the sales executive during contract negotiations is far-removed from the 80 percent of the organization focused on service delivery. This disconnect can leave the delivery team struggling with how to provide certain services or not presenting solutions to future business needs.

Solution: Push to get delivery and sales executives together early in the discussions.

No Measurement of Client Satisfaction - It is easy to objectively measure server availability and incident resolution, and more difficult to measure gray areas -- flexibility, value and alignment -- that aren’t easily quantifiable. This gap strains the relationship because the provider doesn’t know how to measure client expectations. Solution: Insist on quantifiable measures like executive-level client satisfaction surveys, and establishment of governance committees and defined governance processes.

Cost Models Don’t Mirror Service Agreement Commitments - Often, due to time constraints and executive pressure, the provider will make “the call” to get the cost-model numbers to line up to present a best and final offer. That leaves items like future resource needs, training, and test environments/labs hanging, with the delivery team charged with making it work. Solution: Build in measurements, such as commit dates for future initiatives and a set number of training hours per employee metric. Remember, what gets measured gets done.

We Can’t Figure Out Our Own Organization - Most providers don’t ensure that outside teams not solely dedicated to the client are actively engaged with the client. The provider has to scramble when the client asks about involving an outside team. Solution: In contract negotiations, formalize procedures for the delivery team to tap into the larger organization. Don’t accept excuses due to internal disconnects. If it’s in the contract, the provider is required to perform.

The Account Manager Role is a Revolving Door - Typically, the first account manager successfully starts up the account, is a bundle of energy, and burns out after a couple of years. The second account manager inherits the hard, systemic problems, can’t solve many of them, and leaves after a couple of years. The third account manager proposes radically new ideas. By that time, the client is interested in new approaches, so contract renegotiation/extension discussions start.

Solution: Remember that the account manager won’t be there forever. Some “handshake” items will need formal documentation and delivery.

We Have Vendor Management Issues - Many outsourcing providers use third-party services for an end-to-end solution of your needs. The provider may point fingers at third-party providers when issues arise, hoping to focus your discontent on their provider. Solution: Hold your provider directly accountable for the service they committed to.

For the original Alsbridge thought leadership article, go to:

For more information on outsourcing advisory services, contact Alsbridge at 214-696-6410 or visit For research and insight on outsourcing, visit

Alsbridge Inc.
Sepencer Bethmann