How to Work With External Strategic Partners, article in CIO Insight

November 30, 2012
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A growing number of CIOs are working closely with external strategic partners to gain mutual benefits for their company and their partners.

by Peter High, published by CIO Insight


Most IT departments of a certain size engage external strategic partners or vendors for a variety of tasks. Too often, however, CIOs view external partners as fulfillers of work instead of as sources of innovation and strategic advantage. Worse still, these CIOs do not share their plans with the external strategic partners upon whom they rely most heavily. The CIOs tend to think that if too much information is offered, it may fall into the wrong hands. A growing number of CIOs, however, have begun to recognize that creatively segmenting vendors and sharing a deeper level of insight with them not only proves to them the high regard the company holds them in, but puts the onus on the external strategic partners to deliver better products and services for the company. One of the key methods to gain from these executives is setting up “vendor days” with external strategic partners. Other similar best practices include:

  1. Sharing strategic collateral with external strategic partners so that the onus is on them to propose how they can drive the strategy forward.
  2. Create healthy competition among the external partners by rating them and, based on quantitative and qualitative methods, rewarding those who perform best.
  3. Expose vendors to business executives and business strategy in addition to IT executives and IT strategy.
  4. Encourage collaboration across vendors, even among those who are direct competitors.
Company examples from the full article include (with links to each person’s Forum on World Class IT podcast interview):
  • Jeff Kubacki, CIO of Alliant Techsystems (ATK), a $4.6-billion aerospace and defense company based in Arlington, Va.
  • Ken Piddington is the CIO of a $15 billion company, Global Partners LP, based in Waltham, Mass
  • Michael Del Priore, the Global CIO of Church & Dwight, a $2.7 billion producer of household, personal care, and specialty products based in Princeton, N.J.

Click here to read the remainder of the article on CIO Insight.


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