Lately I have had the opportunity to engage in a brace of debates focused on outsourcing and cloud computing – close bedfellows. No time was wasted on whether these two business options have a place in the organisation, instead both discussions really honed in on the need for close and constantly managed relationships.

This is of course nothing new to CIOs, but what has become apparent is that as scale and scope of the relationships broadens, so too the impact these relationships have on our organisations. Both cloud and outsourcing will continue to challenge the relationships CIOs have internally with their organisations, perhaps moving the dial from outdated thoughts on business alignment towards user expectations and realistic deliverables. External relationships with suppliers face greater challenges than ever before and it has become clear to me that both parties will need to adapt and move away from consumer and supplier behaviour.

To change our behaviours vendors and users must understand each other’s organisations and demands more intimately.

Just because an organisation is not a household name, it is not an excuse for failing to understand what a failure of service means to it and its customers. Equally, we live in a globalised and interlinked economy and the CIO supplier base, at present, has heavy leanings towards the US and so CIOs need to understand the division lines and cultures of their suppliers.

I have said before that the age of sales-led organisations is dead and that has become very apparent in the recent CIO debates. Organisations like CSC, Cisco and Microsoft have fielded some very hard questions in our forums and all say they are working to change their mindsets as well as their internal cultures and structures. Business development is very different from sales and will require these vendors to recode their culture, but I get the impression that they know if they don’t, the way of the Dodo beckons.

Vendors will have to cooperate more frequently and the CIO community has a part to play in enabling that cooperation.