IT contractors should focus on savings to win work
A recent study has suggested that IT contractors should consider their pricing when it comes to pitching for work, rather than concentrating on the services they offer. Would-be clients are far more likely to be impressed by the savings available than the range of services a contractor can provide, according to the research which was conducted by LogicNow, a IT service management provider.
Some of the things that appealed to clients included contractors who were happy to invoice on a monthly basis rather than doing so on an ad hoc basis, whereas contractors who couldn’t resist the temptation to talk up their consultancy skills were likely to be passed over. Currently, it appears that there is some degree of discord between what IT contractors are offering and the things that are important to their clients.
The study was conducted amongst 700 IT service providers and 1,300 IT departments the world over and they were asked about their experiences of managing the relationships between contractors and clients. Most reported that there was often some sort of friction between the two parties right from the outset. Often this comes from an inherent misunderstanding about what is required, for instance a company trying to source an IT provider to tackle an immediate problem and having pitches selling a consultation service rather than responding to the need that has been identified.
It’s not an issue specific to the UK – survey respondents in North America, Benelux and New Zealand also believed that IT contractors were more concerned about promoting their services than dealing with the immediate requirements of the client.
Analysis of the comments made by those responsible for hiring contractors suggests that they would prefer any long-term strategic engagement to be built on their effective handling of the short-term issues that they are hired to deal with in the first instance. Whilst two thirds of IT contractors are keen to develop a ‘strategically focussed’ relationship, this is at odds with the IT departments, of whom only 9 per cent are interested in this sort of service.
It appears that the root of the problem may lie in the management of expectations. IT departments are usually keen to tighten up security online and improved AV, whereas contractors usually prefer to supply proactive patching and updates as well as consultative services. The research has thrown up some potential solutions: for IT suppliers to focus on technical resolution and agree to regular monthly or quarterly billing before trying to encourage a longer-term commitment from their clients.
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