Suppliers and IT Strategy

Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash
  1. What is your view of your current IT Suppliers?
  2. How do your current IT Suppliers view you?
  3. What are the gaps or failings in capability that are required to be filled in order to deliver your strategy?
  4. Of the capability gaps to be filled or failings to be addressed, which are right to be filled by suppliers?

1) What is your view of the current IT Suppliers?

  • Non-critical: Suppliers/product in high supply in the marketplace and of limited risk or impact to your business
  • Leverage items: suppliers/products in high supply in the marketplace but whose importance to the business is high
  • Bottleneck items: Low business impact but high supply risk
  • Strategic items: Key suppliers/products that have both a high impact on the business and a volatile or high supply risk

2) How do your current suppliers view you?

Another matrix is useful here (sorry!)

3) What are the gaps or failings in Capability that are required to be filled in order to deliver your strategy?

In previous posts we’ve mentioned the value of understanding and mapping business capabilities. A Business Capability model can be used as a backdrop to overlay your key suppliers, which can then be combined with other overlays (e.g. mapping key suppliers to key capabilities, failing capabilities). We’ll touch on business capability modelling in a future post but for now the key message is, in order to understand the value and impact that a supplier has on your business you have to be able to map it back to a capability model.

4) Of the Capability gaps to be filled or failings to be addressed, which are right to be filled by suppliers?

Mapping your suppliers to your business capabilities will help identify your key suppliers and potential issues with your key suppliers. An important next step is to analyse whether the capabilities that your suppliers deliver are the right capabilities to be outsourced and whether there are others that could be. An extremely useful tool in this context, that we have mentioned before, is Wardley maps. Use Wardley maps to bring together a) your understanding of your supplier landscape b) your understanding of the business capabilities that your suppliers help deliver with c) and understanding of where those capabilities sit in terms of evolution, at this point you can then make informed decisions about your strategic suppliers and whether you have the right suppliers delivering the right capabilities or whether you have the right capabilities being delivered in-house.

Summary

So in this newsletter we’ve covered a lot of ground around techniques that you can use to help you think about your IT suppliers and thereby inform how you plan to address suppliers in your IT Strategy. This is crucial. If your strategy fails to address failings in your supplier landscape then you will be unlikely to successfully execute your IT Strategy.

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