Smart Sourcing: The New Normal

2. Establish a base level in-bounds/out of bounds framework that will clearly define both the ultimate intended “value” outcomes and the specific performance metrics associated with their pursuit. Note that those governing frameworks must also clearly establish single points of responsibility and accountability on both sides of the relationship, as well as how to address the mitigation of any potential risks that will emerge along the way.

3. Narrow the potential field of play, as well as formally re-assess the players on an annual basis. Create a sense of competition. The growing amount of creativity that will result will ultimately work to your benefit.

4. Develop the ability to create and maintain key relationships across multiple organizations. This absolute key to success begins by having the ability to listen to and understand what others are thinking and feeling, suspending judgment, and then working to understand the patterns of how those others are moved from data to opinions.

It then requires the ability to effectively articulate your own point of view, likewise explaining how you moved from data to interpretation, and then convincing others about the merits of a given perspective. Remember that smart sourcing is never about control, which can be very relationship-destructive. It is instead about the ability to effectively influence behaviors and contributions, as well as leverage mutual strengths where they may lie.

5. Develop the ability to create compelling images of the future. Smart sourcing relationships are strategic, while commodities are more right-now tactical. Smart sourcing attempts to go well beyond supply and demand provisioning, and instead crafts a guiding picture as to where we are going, why we are going there, and when we expect to arrive.

6. Become skilled and predictable in turning visions into reality. Finish the job. As has been reinforced by many experts, the value pay dirt lies not in generating new ideas, but in turning those ideas into money. Nobody buys good ideas, they buy solutions. The essence of smart sourcing will not be based on the innovative processes that you design, but rather on what you can get your company to adopt.

Bruce Barnes has over thirty-seven years of experience as a senior level technology officer, including CIO roles in very influential Fortune companies. He has received numerous industry accolades and is a familiar voice at national industry events and in major industry publications. He is currently the CEO of Bold Vision, a senior level consulting consortium, providing trusted advisory support and executive coaching for senior level corporate leaders. He is a co-founder for the nationally acclaimed CIO Solutions Gallery program series at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, and he is a graduate of that same university.