Confusion reigns over IT services innovation

A new survey of senior enterprise IT decision makers has found that innovation is a key factor in their choice of supplier.

Wanting an IT outsourcing or managed service supplier to go that extra mile is nothing new, but innovation was the major differentiator among two-thirds of UK commercial and public sector executives questioned. Also, most believed that the more expensive their supplier is, the more innovative they should be.

Fortunately, the majority (80 per cent) of respondents said they were satisfied by the level of innovation provided by their IT services partner.

Despite these findings, the survey revealed conflicting views over what innovation' in IT services actually meant.

The majority of the 50 respondents thought innovation simply meant implementing new technology to drive business change, while others saw it as delivering value beyond the terms set out in the contract.

Nick Mayes, senior consultant at market researcher Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC) UK who conducted the research, said most UK firms just want that little bit extra from their IT service suppliers.

"They want to see the benefit of working with global outsourcers, where they may suggest new ways of delivering services or structuring contracts that they have used successfully elsewhere," he said.

But just four per cent of respondents offered financial incentives for their supplier to deliver innovation and less than half said that they actively measure the level of innovation their supplier provides.

"Companies should define their understanding of innovation and proactively encourage IT suppliers to move improve service levels from 97 per cent to 99.9 per cent," Mayes added.

He concluded that unless IT suppliers are given sufficient encouragement and the relationship between customer and supplier is used to define and quantify the value of the work delivered, innovation will remain a tricky area to pin down.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.