Outsourcing to multiple IT service providers has been the predominant trend in the industry for some time as IT organizations have sought to increase leverage with their partners by employing a best-of-breed approach. But managing a stable of dozens of vendors has proven difficult and costly, and outsourcing clients are beginning to rethink the extreme multisourcing approach, says Bill Huber, managing director of IT outsourcing consultancy Alsbridge.\n\u201cTraditional multisourcing might well be characterized as \u2018anything goes.\u2019 Even a standard \u2018best-of-breed\u2019 approach often reflects a series of disparate and uncoordinated sourcing decisions,\u201d says Huber. \u201cWhat\u2019s been lacking is an overall architecture for services integration and evolution, with capabilities being added and [removed] over time.\u201d\nBut a new multisourcing approach may be emerging with some IT organizations setting up a smaller number of strategic outsourcing relationships and delegated the oversight of niche solution providers to those key partners. Here Huber discusses this evolving middle ground for multisourcing.\nWhy are clients moving away from traditional multisourcing arrangements?\nHuber: We\u2019re seeing an overall maturation occurring across the industry. At a high level, this trajectory can be described as moving from the extremes of \u2018uncoordinated,\u2019 which prevents taking advantage of any synergies, to \u2018centralized,\u2019 which stifles agility, flexibility, and adaptability. The new multisourced models are designed to be an optimized balance of both.\nNew innovations are occurring quickly with improved point solutions frequently replacing others that are only slightly older. A model that can accommodate the integration of the new capabilities on a flexible backbone has become critical. That backbone is, in effect, the primary services framework into which the smaller, potentially shorter-term components need to plug and play.\nWhat new approaches are being developed and what are their benefits?\nHuber: In a new multisourced model, a limited number of key providers comprise the services backbone into which niche or point solutions interface. [One] difference in this model is that the contracts are designed to more easily flex to accommodate changes in how the pieces will fit together and how the services will evolve. And I don\u2019t mean Additional Resource Charges (ARCs) and Reduced Resource Credits (RRCs) here [the traditional method for managing outsourcing pricing that accommodates volume fluctuations for the in scope of services], but rather something more fundamental that is designed in the context of business outcomes.\nIn addition, the governance function must include a very strong service integration and management capability, and must have senior participation at a high enough pay grade to make serious risk and reward decisions.\nIs this just a new take on the \u2018one throat to choke\u2019 model that once dominated the market?\nHuber: The \u2018one throat to choke\u2019 model is an archaic procurement term and reflects an adversarial philosophy where the assumption was that the only way to ensure favorable treatment from a vendor was to have a large enough wallet to leverage spend aggregation and to wield a big enough stick to apply the threat of onerous penalty and termination clauses.\nDigital is destroying many of the advantages of scale. Today, speed, collaboration, and risk management are the critical differentiators, in concert with keeping your brand relevant. The more sophisticated models that we see now focus on balancing those elements through transparency, analytics, networks of relationships and a relentless fostering of innovation.\nWhat are the challenges of this new multisourcing model for clients and providers?\nHuber: The challenge is that many companies and managers at companies have a false sense of control, and they are reluctant to let go of control. [They] still tend to fall back on traditional models to lock down contracts and micromanage the wrong things.\nChange is always hard, and it is happening unusually fast right now. Most individuals are only partially aware of the degree to which everything will change in terms of processes, objectives, tools and jobs. Many organizations simply don\u2019t have the right leadership to navigate the implications of change and to build new models that will be more resilient in rapidly changing times.