Getting to the right price. If not the primary objective, it’s certainly one of the more important goals of any customer who has ever outsourced a piece of their operation. While striving for the lowest price possible, in order for the transaction – and long term relationship – to be successful, it must be beneficial to both parties. If a customer negotiates a supplier below the point at which they can make money on the service, there will be problems with that relationship. It might take a little while for them to surface, but surface they will.
One of the longstanding precepts of pricing in the sourcing world is to maintain, as closely as possible, a linkage between the underlying cost of providing the service and the price being charged for that service. No customer should begrudge their supplier making a reasonable profit, for without a fair return on their work, it is unlikely the supplier will be there in the future to support the customer. Hence, if the costs of providing the service plus a fair margin are equal, in as many cases as possible, to the price being paid by the customer, then the chances for a long, happy and productive relationship between the customer and supplier are good.
This does not mean that one should strive for a “cost plus” arrangement. On the contrary, that pricing paradigm comes with its own set of challenges. What this does mean is the price should be closely linked to the underlying cost of providing the service. An O/S image support charge is directly attributable to the labor and maybe some productivity tools that are used in the delivery of that server’s support. Conversely, the charge for a gigabyte of data streamed to a tape has no linkage to the underlying cost of providing data backup services.