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Gartner: Get on social networks to monitor contractors

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The days of signing off an IT contract then kicking back and scoffing peanuts for the next three years are over.

Executives will have to constantly monitor their outsourcers - even if it means using social networks - if they want to get value for money, according to Gartner analysts in a startling report for 2013.

Companies should constantly keep in touch with contractors to ensure their IT services remain up to date and responsive, we're informed.

Sourcing managers, who were ordered to cut costs in 2012 as top brass squeezed spending, had to continually monitor the performance of contractors via tools including social networks to keep a grip on things.

The use of social websites - presumably Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and others - is one of the big four trends that will affect how business IT contracts will be commissioned and supervised in 2013, said Linda Cohen, an analyst and vice-president at Gartner. The other three are mobile - linked to employees bringing their own devices into work - and cloud computing and how information is managed.

IT bosses will have to consider all of this at once when commissioning contracts if they want their computer systems to work properly in 2013, said the report.

Gartner Analytics predict trends for 2013, credit Gartner

Wondering what the Nexus of Forces looks like? This is what it looks like. Credit: Gartner

Data management can't be separated from mobile strategy which can't be separated from how frequently the CIO is in contact with the contract provider, Gartner warned.

The move towards employees using their own devices for work, aka Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), will require new broader contracts, we're told. Cloud computing will require more flexible contracts as information and data streams are prone to change, and social will change how outsourcers deal with contractors.

A compartmentalised view of trends will only end in a mess, said Cohen: "Social, information, mobile and cloud shouldn't be considered in isolation."

For those still confused, she went on in more detail:

The convergence of these forces, which Gartner calls the Nexus of Forces, is what drives real business value. The Nexus of Forces converge in several ways: cloud, mobile and social solutions enable the distribution of information, social media usage and behavior drive mobile and information solutions, and cloud can be a foundation for information, social and mobile solutions.

Based on research, Gartner made several recommendations: first, IT execs constantly refresh their sourcing strategies. Second, commissioners constantly assess all the data streams and information sources in a business and choose cloud services that allow them to adapt on the go. Third, they have a flexible but secure service that can be extended to new devices as employees bring different ones in.

It all means more work landing on the sourcing manager's desk. You can find Gartner's report here and comment over here. ®

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