If your IT systems fail, break or go up in smoke, your IT sourcing strategy could determine how fast your business can recover. It’s worth considering the different options available when you renew or build out your IT installations.

Lean IT that focuses on simplified sourcing and lower costs may turn out to be overly risky if it all depends on one supplier. On the other hand, point solutions and multiple technologies can be hard to make work together effectively, to the point of leaving you in semi-recovery mode on a permanent basis.

Clearly, IT sourcing must be factored into disaster recovery at the planning stage. If disaster strikes, it’s too late to start phoning around to different vendors. In line with a model offered by consultancy company Deloitte, you have the following choices:

  • Mono-sourcing. You use one supplier. In theory, everything you use should work together, but could a disaster affecting your supplier could then consequently affect you?
  • Multi-sourcing. You use several suppliers, with which you have direct contact and interaction. You protect yourself better against total failure, although you may increase the probability that at least one part of your IT fails.
  • Tower-sourcing. A variation on multi-sourcing. You bundle IT parts together: for example, “everything for the R&D Lab” or “everything for our SAP Hana applications”. Then you match bundles to suppliers.
  • Layered sourcing. You manage the first level of suppliers from the top, the first level then manages a second level of suppliers, and so on. However, perhaps more suitable for bigger (Fortune 500 style) IT installations.
  • Guardian vendor. Multiple sources (may include tower sourcing), with one vendor designated as the “guardian” with responsibility to make your IT suppliers work overall. Make sure your delegation skills are red-hot for this one.

Mono-sourcing may be going the way of the dodo, especially with the current ease of adding cloud solutions.

In fact, with shadow IT on the rise (thanks to the cloud), you may even be multi-sourcing without knowing it. So first, understand what IT sourcing model your company is really using. You’ll be that much better prepared to plan your disaster recovery afterwards.