An IT services organisation usually provides IT services for product organisations. This mainly happens when own teams don’t have enough capacity for executing the activities/tasks required for matching the business goals and ambitions.
For the IT services organisation, this is a good opportunity which can lead to an even better opportunity with the proper environment. While only executing tasks gets the paycheck at the end of the month, the real challenge in the collaboration is made when the IT services organisation becomes a business and technology partner (adviser) for the product organisation.
There a few things to consider for this to happen: from soft skills to technical skills, from a short term contract to a long term contract and so on. It usually starts with demonstrating that you have enough technical skills to take care of the product/s. Then it continues with gathering business domain knowledge and being up to speed with what the competition does.
Once these are in place then a normal step in the collaboration is to recognize the positioning of the services organisation as a business and technology partner (advisor).
There is a very important ingredient which facilitates this happy flow.
This ingredient is called trust.
In my opinion, trust is first about the interaction between individuals from different organisations and then it expands to the organisation level. When it is present it usually boosts the creativity and creates the opportunity for innovation. When it isn’t present it becomes a demotivating factor overtime as you end up executing by rotation a set of tasks.
There is though some kind of fear of really trusting another organisation to take care of the products you own. In some cases it is related to bad experiences in the past, in others it is related to fear generated by the lack of skills in the product organisation (e.g. lack of strategy and vision, fear of losing control, fear of how you are perceived in own organisation and so on).
In the outside the office life you do trust most of the services you are spending money: trusting your mechanic to fix your car or trusting the diagnostic set by your doctor when going to a consultation (although these are services from a different range they are still services).
The principle is the same, you buy services from a services provider who has the specialty needed for performing the respective task.
If you care strong enough about your products, your organisation and the skills of your services providers then trust them to be business and technology partners (advisors).