Leading-edge executives at organizations drive growth, innovate, and disrupt industries through emerging technologies: social, mobile, cloud, analytics, sensors, GIS and others. 85% of executives in a recent survey shared that “the need to drive innovation and growth” would have a moderate or high impact on IT services spending. But, today’s technology buyers face a fragmented, fast-moving landscape of niche technology and services providers in newer spaces (social, mobile, cloud) as well as new offerings from their largest global partners.

Often the leading- and bleeding-edge disruption comes from business stakeholders, rather than IT or sourcing executives; sourcing executives struggle to keep up with the fast pace of change that business demands. Our research shows that this fragmented, divisional, silo approach to buying (often under the radar screen) can create risk and go against enterprise IT strategy decisions.

To help their organizations navigate through these emerging options, we have identified three key principles of IT sourcing strategy:

  1. Change the rules for working with vendors and partners. To thrive in the world of digital disruption and to enable sourcing of emerging technologies and services that drive digital disruption, sourcing strategists must create new rules for working with technology partners. They must increase the emphasis on innovation and differentiation and treat partners who excel in these dimensions differently from other tiered suppliers.
  2. Create new pathways that let business work efficiently with IT and IT sourcing.  Beyond educating business about the benefits of working with centralized IT and sourcing groups, sourcing executives should make it as easy as possible for business to use “approved” suppliers and to make a case to get suppliers “approved” quickly. For ones that are already approved, sourcing should lead in driving models such as internal App Stores (i.e., mobile, cloud) that let business easily access the new vendors and services. They should also have quick, easy ways for business to get an interesting supplier on the list for approval, lest under-the-radar screen buying continue.
  3. Revisit the calculations and “rules” for risk. All technology buyers in the organization should have some key risk questions they must answer before moving forward with a technology or services investment. Is the information this technology touches valuable? What are the opportunities to steal information / IP? What are the impacts of this technology purchase? What are the compliance implications (e.g., HIPAA)? A framework or decision-tree for risk assessment should guide business users on when they should (or must) work with centralized sourcing groups, legal, security, and corporate IT.

 Thoughts? Experiences? We would love to hear from you.

Come learn more about our research on sourcing digital disruption at our upcoming Forrester Forums on May 6-7 in Washington, DC and on June 10-11 in London, UK.  (Early Bird pricing for the US forum available until tomorrow, March 23.)