Improving the Provider/Client Relationship

A multibillion-dollar IT provider was approaching a large contract renewal and knew it was likely to lose the strategic client’s work to a rebid without significant changes. ISG helped both parties assess the challenges in the current state of the relationship and make needed course corrections.



A multibillion-dollar IT provider with more than 100,000 employees was quickly approaching a large contract renewal with its client, a household-name cosmetics manufacturer and marketer. However, the client had already expressed significant dissatisfaction with the type and level of service being provided, communicating its intent to bid out and possibly replace the incumbent for future IT work. ISG was brought in to assess the provider/client relationship, provide insight into the existing issues and make substantial recommendations to help improve the situation with the goal of ultimately moving the provider toward client renewal. A small ISG OCM team performed a relationship-health analysis and initial OCM activities for the provider. These tools are used to measure the health of the provider/client relationship, identify barriers and opportunities and give benchmarking context compared to other anonymous provider/client relationships previously measured by ISG. The OCM activities help lead companies through the “people side” of actually making changes.
Imagining IT Differently

Imagining IT Differently

Over the three-month engagement timeline, ISG completed a comprehensive relationship-health assessment and initial OCM activities to help the provider make important course corrections.

For the relationship-management portion, the ISG team conducted interviews with crucial stakeholders from both the provider and client, as well as an online survey of dozens of additional key stakeholders. The results were analyzed for common themes, presented to the provider with clear recommendations and actions to take, classified by short-, mid- and long-term prioritization to help with quick results.

In addition, the ISG OCM team held several workshops with the project team on key themes, such as communications, mission and vision, stakeholder assessment and change impacts. An OCM strategy was presented, complete with next steps for the major areas where change needed to take place and recommendations for future OCM activities.

One top provider leader said, “I thought it was amazing,” well worth the cost, and will advocate for additional provider accounts to go through the same type of engagement.

Future Made Possible

  • The account leaders were able to better understand the current issues in the provider/client relationship and better align on how to solve those issues.
  • The provider is now armed with specific recommendations to improve the provider/client relationship, including actions to further standardize processes, improve communications and governance, and better manage client expectations.
  • The provider has materials that can be shared with the dissatisfied client to help with relationship-building. 
  • Common themes were identified on this account that also appear to affect many more of the providers’ existing accounts, allowing the provider to take a look at the “big picture” and potentially improve additional client relationships.