Enterprise Infrastructure Management Is Not a Part-Time Job

by Pillsbury’s Social Media & Games Law Blog
Contact

We recently completed a major renegotiation of a very large, longstanding infrastructure outsourcing contract. As is typical with renegotiations, there were areas of the contract that required changes and areas the client wanted to leave alone. In this case, scope (and the presumed current solution) was to be left alone as the focus of concern was thought to be on other areas of the relationship. However, the need to update a seemingly simple exhibit - the Key Supplier Personnel list - told the client they had reason to be a lot more concerned about the supplier's current solution.

Like most IT outsourcing contracts, this one had the typical provisions around Key Supplier Personnel (KSP) (e.g., full-time, employees of the supplier, rules about replacing the KSP, commitments to tenure on the account, etc.). When asked to update the KSP exhibit, the supplier came back with three names - the Account Executive, Deputy Account Executive and the Business Manager (yep, the person in charge of billing the client). That was it. Not a single person with technical knowledge of the client's critical systems or technologies. Nobody involved with actually running the client's IT environment on a day-to-day basis.

Since this was an ongoing relationship, we asked the client to come up with a KSP list following some best practice guidance from us. The client came up with a list of ten positions. (Not surprisingly, the Business Manager was not on the list.) When we sat down with the supplier to review the list they informed us that well over half of the individuals listed by the client were not eligible to be designated KSP. As it turned out, most of the supplier's resources that the client felt were the most critical to the future success of the account were either not dedicated full-time (or even designated) to the client's account or were contractors (not sub-contractors, but 1099 type contractors).

The use of pooled or designated resources is a long standing practice in infrastructure outsourcing and in many cases makes a lot of sense. Monitoring and initial event detection are good examples of where pooled resources are appropriate. Designated resources make sense when resources can be assigned two or more clients because full time resources would be more than is needed and the flow of work can be balanced between clients.

Unfortunately, this client is not the first to be surprised to discover critical members of their delivery team only work "part-time" on their account. Senior subject matter experts and hands on delivery leaders, who in the past would be dedicated, full-time employees are now often just partial resources whose hours are "bought" by the account team. And of course the account team is incented to buy as few resources as possible.

Suppliers who use this model like to point out that the contract has SLAs and the client shouldn't care what the solution is. That is complete nonsense. There is a lot more to operational delivery than simply meeting SLA's and a poorly designed solution will increase delivery risk. Suppliers may get lucky - infrastructure doesn't break that often. But when it does you don't want to find out then that your critical SME is working on another account or just got a better 1099 gig someplace else.

How do you avoid being surprised by the Suppliers solution erosion?  We will pick that up next week in "Scope v Solution".

 

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Pillsbury’s Social Media & Games Law Blog | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Pillsbury’s Social Media & Games Law Blog
Contact
more
less

Pillsbury’s Social Media & Games Law Blog on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.