Contract exit – be aware of the fireworks!

  • Published on: 6 November 2014
  • By: Denzil Brisland

Last night, I witnessed my three year old grandson’s first bonfire night – all wrapped up in oversized knitwear and excited to see these things called fireworks that we’d bought a few days before. However, as soon as we lit the first rocket, the excitement turned into shock and fear at the unexpected almighty bang that filled the night’s sky.

I have to say that the first few attempts were not a spectacular success. However the more Catherine wheels, roman candles and sparklers that were lit, the more confident he grew and the more comfortable he became with the process (realised as Mum slowly regained the use of her left leg).

My grandson’s fear of the unexpected got me thinking about companies exiting a contract for IT services. Exiting is a bit like having to clean up after hosting your street’s mid-week bonfire night party – no one wants to do it but you’re going to have to do it sooner or later or risk the possibility of the dog finding the leftover “grown-up’s hot chocolate” again.

Like my grandson last night, exiting is so much more palatable once you know what to expect.

Last week Quantum Plus’s Managing Director, Angela Wyatt, was a keynote speaker at the Outsourcing in Financial Services event hosted by Infoline. During her presentation, Angela asked the question, “how many of you test your exit process?” The response was staggering. Of the forty delegates, only three raised their hand to confirm that they test their contract exit process. That is a whopping 93% of companies attending the conference who are NOT testing their exit process!

At Quantum Plus, we believe in testing exit processes annually as a minimum, ensuring that all the tasks to complete a successful exit are tested thoroughly and any gaps discovered are filled. Checks should be made on whether documentation is updated as it should be, if knowledge transfer is at the level it needs to be and whether both parties understand what the requirement is to handle software, licencing, IPR, assets, etc. These are all tasks that need to be undertaken for a successful contract exit testing.

The main reason given for not testing is that companies cannot spare the time to test something that might be a few years away. If that is the sole reason, and I am not sure that it is, then I feel this is ‘head in the sand’ thinking and is asking for trouble if you plan to wait until the real thing to complete the task.

As previously hinted, the excuse of not having time is not the only reason. I believe that companies are scared of the task (remember my grandson’s reaction to the unexpected?). Not knowing how to go about it makes them tentative and unsure of what needs testing. Even if they do, companies are not always sure what the results should look like, nor do they have the appetite to put any problems right at the testing stage. Sound familiar?

I have heard of many, many fiery tales about contract exits; how client/supplier relationships are destroyed, how new suppliers cannot obtain the knowledge and information they need to transition the work and therefore problems exist right at the beginning of their tenure. This need not happen. With stringent exit testing that involves both parties, everyone will know exactly what is expected of them when the time comes.

At Quantum Plus, we have developed a tried and tested methodology to manage exit testing. We can support you in your testing, or if you need us to, we can represent you and complete end to end testing on your behalf. We will use our methodology to develop the test, manage the gap and support companies in getting peace of mind that the exit will be a smooth and easy process when the time comes.

If this blog post has got you thinking about testing exits, we at Quantum Plus would love to hear from you. You can contact me on 01789 201630, email us or leave a message on our website and get peace of mind that your exit testing is in good hands.