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ICT outsourcing: The rise of the Network Service Integrator

ICT outsourcing has evolved considerably over the last two decades. It has gone through a transition from the 1st generation monolithic deals of the 80s and 90s, when it was characterised by immature service management processes to 2nd generation deals and latterly multi-sourcing deals with centrally located IT Service Management. The focus has now shifted towards a more virtualised and geographically defined service with a more coordinated organisational retained function, to manage multiple ICT providers. Due to this complex service evolution, major service providers have started positioning themselves as Service Integrators (SI) including HP, Accenture, CSC etc. According to these service providers, in order to deliver consistent and quality IT service in today’s globalised multi vendor outsourcing environment, Service Management Integration is critical. At the same time, leading Telco operators are also recognising the  need to offer Network Service Integrator offers to reflect changing client requirements e.g. OBS, Verizon and Tata.

IT Service Management has evolved into a newer concept of independent Network Service Integrator, which has gained popularity within this new generation of ICT Outsourcing deals. The large global organisations have demonstrated interest in the NSI concept as an independent entity as opposed to being part of an outsource package. This emerging model of NSI interfaces between the client organisation and the relevant telecoms and network providers.

Network Service Integrator (NSI) is defined as the co-ordination of people, processes, tools and technology across multiple third party providers, both internal and external, to manage the delivery of end to end business and IT services to end-user. Having a Network Service Integrator boasts several benefits for organisations as they look to adapt themselves with the latest technology and implement emerging concepts in ICT. One of the key benefits of NSI is that it reduces complexity by allowing organisations to manage various regional and local telecom vendors within a single standardised framework. Similarly, with the help of NSI, having standardised, modularised and lean multi supplier governance and management structures, the opportunity exists for costs to be reduced to measurable extent benefitting both, the organisation and the suppliers. There are more benefits to NSI as well like clearer accountancy, local billing, greater transparency, much improved risk management and business relationship management.

It is important to recognise that NSI is not suitable for all organisations. It is critical to understand the organisation’s business needs and current service requirements, determine the strategic and cultural fit for the organisation before turning to NSI for any ICT outsourcing deal. Not every large organisation can expect to successfully adopt NSI and it needs to gauge if it can deliver the business benefits and savings intended. Key considerations should include:

  • What is the scope of the NSI?
  • How is the organisation going to manage and assess the performance of the NSI?
  • And what would be the exit plan for an organisation if the NSI model fails to deliver?

The Network Service Integrator model is an emerging outsourcing concept supported by both independent NSI’s and global telcos in the market. There needs to be careful consideration by organisations when deciding to implement the NSI model to be able to achieve the planned business benefits.



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