One way to manage IT vendors

One way to manage IT vendors

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is implementing a massive IT project –with a budget of over 6 billion pounds. Like most projects of its type, vendors are overrunning their budgets and time commitments. But unlike most situations, the vendors are the ones suffering. That’s because the project manager from the NHS, Richard Granger put teeth in the vendor agreements and made the vendors live up to them. Accenture has already taken a $450 million charge against earnings.

On my way over to the UK I read about Mr. Granger in The Sunday Telegraph.

Granger… has so far resisted any attempts to renegotiate the contracts. He once graphically compared the project to a sled being pulled by huskies.

“When one of the dogs goes lame, and begins to slow the others down, they are shot,” he said. “They are then chopped up and fed to the other dogs. The survivors work harder, not only because they’ve had a meal, but also because they’ve seen what will happen should they themselves go lame.”

So does he think Accenture is lame? “I don’t think they are lame. I think they have to buck their ideas up a bit, but they’re a big, strong organisation,” he says. “What I said was that I expected them to fulfill the obligations that they took on. People enter into a commercial activity, with a public body, they are all big boys and girls, they have big strong balance sheets…they earn north of £1m a year, in the case of Accenture loads of people, they’ve got a bunch of partners sitting on millions of pounds of options after their initial public offering, these are grown-ups.”

That’s tough.

June 13, 2006

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