Client Stories

Strengthening Client/Provider Relationships Post-Transition

ISG uses Partnership Experience Assessments to find commonalities and challenges in two new client/provider relationships, enabling the partners to shore up buy-in, focus on areas that needed the most attention, and speed up the move to more strategic, innovative partnerships.



One of the world’s largest healthcare companies decided to outsource various IT functions to a managed service provider (MSP) at a scale beyond its usual scope. The transition to the new MSP for applications and infrastructure included significant layoffs, process-documentation challenges, contract and resourcing questions, and other issues that heavily affected the relationship right away. An ISG team was brought in to do a Partnership Experience Assessment as tensions became clear.

The ISG team quickly got to work, completing comprehensive interviews of key leaders and a customized survey of select representatives from both the client and provider to identify the main areas in which to focus and begin improvement. As results were presented and as helpful ISG-facilitated activities kicked off, the client realized it would benefit from engaging ISG for a second Partnership Experience Assessment with its new MSP for cybersecurity, as well. Both tracks (infrastructure/applications and cybersecurity) were moved forward separately toward clear relationship improvement with ISG support.

Imagining IT Differently

Imagining IT Differently

ISG finished targeted interviews and surveys with key stakeholders in both the infrastructure/applications and the cybersecurity track. Detailed presentations provided the client and each provider with third-party data and analysis of pressing issues and opportunities.

  • Readouts with multiple groups included customized question and answer (Q&A) sessions to help all participants better understand what was happening in their relationships.
  • Independent benchmarks showed how these relationships fared in relation to other, similar client/provider partnerships.
  • Joint values and other commonalities were identified, as were the specific areas with the most challenges and opportunities.
  • An in-depth series of recommendations was provided, including a subset of “quick wins” that would enable the companies to make fast strides.

Deep discussions about the results followed, with each company involved. Progress was noted along the way, including better communication and increased respect. The companies even opted to initiate joint trips to visit certain teams at international facilities. ISG led sessions on cultural awareness, how to better work with MSPs, and other germane topics. ISG-facilitated workshops also helped build blame-free forums and camaraderie between the client and provider teams.


Future Made Possible

  • The client experienced better communication and more positive interactions with both of its new providers, creating more of a “One Team” atmosphere that allowed for positivity and an increased focus on strategy, rather than day-to-day issues.
  • Workers at all three companies received more support in dealing with the challenges faced post-transition because leaders better understood their concerns about the relationships.
  • The client and its providers prioritized activities, such as creation of better process documentation, meetings that moved from checklists to “big picture” and innovation, more face-to-face forums, heightened awareness of being respectful, and other important aspects.
  • The client and its providers addressed attrition issues, and they initiated a joint recognition program for both the client and providers to help build and maintain morale.
  • Leaders decided to continue a cadence of blame-free forums to keep the dialogue alive and focus on the relationships on an ongoing basis with future assessments – with the sponsor saying, “Thank you. It’s made a tremendous difference and is going to help provide good momentum and end up getting the value we expect out of all these programs.”