Channel Marker

May 18 2011   4:45PM GMT

Are you charging your clients more than they expected?

Heather Clancy Heather Clancy Profile: Heather Clancy

Time to watch your back. There is a new survey out from Lieberman Software Corp., an identity software and security applications player, that suggests up to 77 percent of IT professionals believe that their outsourcing partners have “made up” work in order to stick them with extra bills. Ouch.

The survey was taken during two events, Infosecurity Europe 2011 in London and the RSA Conference 2011 in San Francisco. According to the research, 62 percent of the respondents to its surveys reported that their outsourcing agreements cost them more than they expected. Only 11 percent reported paying less and 27 percent reported that they had paid “significantly more than planned.”

In a statement discussing the survey results, Lieberman Software President and CEO Philip Lieberman said:

“Fundamentally, IT outsourcing has been an exercise in reducing expenses and passing along HR issues to others. The unfortunate by-product of this quest for lower costs and fewer headaches is a situation where corporate collective knowledge, as well as loyalty and intellectual talent, has been lost.”

Mind you, it seems to me that this questionnaire conveniently overlooks the issue of whether or not these companies started adding their own works and requests to the statement of work. That’s one sure-fire reason that someone would pay more. But here are some of my key takeaways from reading about this survey:

  1. Don’t give anything away.
  2. Be specific about what is NOT covered under and agreement.
  3. Give your technical employees the leeway to understand when exceptions can and should be made in service requests — for the good of the long-term relationship.
  4. Make sure knowledge transfer is part of the plan. The more you can help an IT organization make processes simpler or automate different parts of them, the more you’ll be help them with strategic concerns and not grunt work.

In any case, this study isn’t necessarily huge, but it’s a great reminder that you should periodically assess client relationships and make sure that everyone’s expectations — yours and theirs — are being met.

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