Firms must communicate regularly with their service providers to make sure strategic aims are met, a Forrester Research analyst has advised.

Pascal Matzke, VP at Forrester, said that in order to achieve this, it was vital businesses chose a member of their senior management as a clear point of contact for both their service providers and their internal IT department. The importance of that function in effective project delivery “must not be underestimated”, he added.

“The sourcing of services is definitely moving away from just the IT department, as business managers try to make sure that all the key stakeholders, from investors to department managers, are satisfied,” Matzke told Computerworld UK, ahead of Forrester’s Services and Sourcing Forum taking place later this week in Nice.

“Managers know their processes need to be competitive in order to hold their own against other companies, so they want to make sure their service providers meet strict objectives.”

Department heads should advise the point of contact on exactly which objectives needed to be met and when, and set priorities, so that there would be little room for any lack of strategic alignment, Matzke explained. This would mean that for a customer relationship management project, for example, managers from the marketing and sales departments would advise the point of contact.

“Customers must set a governance process where service providers are held to meeting the strategic objectives and are measured on key performance indicators,” he said. These indicators included quality of service, employee productivity, and sales revenues or shareholder value that could be derived from projects.