Developing Trust Within IT Outsourcing Relationships: How And When Do We Disclose?


Since increasing productivity is a key goal of outsourcing in general, shouldn’t trust be a considered a primary concern in particular? And yet many businesses, from the very smallest to those found in the Fortune 500, present a facade of thick glass. Like tellers at a bank window, many companies are seeking a return on investment from people they don’t know while wondering when they are going to be robbed.

Our IT needs are almost as intimate as our financial relationships but we disclose more to a bank than the ones running interference deep inside our web presence, customer service, and financial transactions. Is it any wonder that reports that 40 to 70% of IT outsourcing relationships go sour? Of course the need to avoid the too-much-information syndrome is critical. Still, it’s quite possible the scales are tipped too far toward a skeptical position. This article will provide a few pointers to help balance the scales between total mistrust and giving away the store in an outsourcing relationship.

The Best Time to Share

  • When the Information Effects the Relationship: Change in plans, strategies, budgets, news, and anything else that directly impacts IT, it should become known as soon as practical.
  • Criticisms: First, present the positives of the work that has been performed explaining what has been done well. Then kindly present the critique and allow time for feedback. Maybe there was something you did not know or understand. Often your authentic approach will be reciprocated.
  • When you are Not Yourself: If you’re angry, overstressed, or feeling poorly, avoid sensitive issues. It’s too easy to offend when angry and upset. We are likely to say something inappropriate or harsh that cannot be taken back.
  • Fact Based: Avoid innuendos, gossip, or accusations and approach everything from a frank, exacting, and genuine basis.

The Best Way to Share

  • Regular Scheduled Meetings: When you present information at an expected time the IT professional is better able to respond productively.
  • From a Candid Position: You can share the most difficult things with anyone when it’s done in a sincere and warm manner.

There is certain bravado in the attitude of the Donald Trumps of the word; “You’re fired!” But is this position profitable? For most of us it isn’t and for those among us who use machismo to get things done carry around serious health risks. Use the checklist above to reconsider your relationship with your IT outsourcing professional. If your doing all you can and its still not working its time to find someone else.

Julian Hartley is a consultant for, an outsourcing services company.

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