Valentine's Day is just around the corner for all those to celebrate their love, whether in long-term relationships or in anticipation of new partners.

The dating game has changed radically; for some finding a new partner is as easy as swiping your touchscreen. Preferences can be set and no face-to-face encounters are essential until the credentials are checked and a perfect match is in the making.

In the business world partnerships can be tricky. The split up of E-on and Age Concern this week was certainly a headline grabber. An apparently match made in heaven; worthy charity for the elderly helped by a giant utility offering benefits - who could resist? Except the specific terms of the marriage weren't checked very well and it all turned a little sour when the 'marriage' broke up and the deal wasn't in fact a deal at all - customers could have saved more on their energy bills by going it alone rather than through the partnership. (Read full story here)

This week I gave a market overview at a DWP Suppliers Day in London. The aim of the day was for DWP to set out its stall to existing and potential partners as to what it is looking for to meet the needs of a changing landscape in the area of benefits and pensions; in a world of reduced costs, as the Chancellor George Osborne's commitment to surplus in 2020 looms nearer.

The traditional model for contact centre outsourcing to third party providers has always been challenging, often relationships flounder as the contracting client sticks rigidly to its set measures, failing to adapt to the newer world of shared risk and reward, willingness to try and fail openly without fear of being dumped... going ‘Dutch’ in a dating sense.

It was refreshing to hear the DWP procurement team request calls for innovation to ensure that new partnerships are entered into with a spirit of innovation and agility. This message was reiterated by existing partners who believe they can save money and build better services for customers by new types of relationships based on outcomes rather than rigid credentials; in other words accepting that change is a constant.

This week I had the privilege of presenting at National Savings and Investments Digital Week, coinciding with them having achieved a successful assessment against the new Version 6 of CCA Global Standard at both Blackpool and Glasgow sites; managed in a successful partnership with ATOS. This new assessment seriously challenges organisations to look at customer experience in its widest sense, testing relationships with all those departments who contribute to the customer’s final outcome.

As with the traditional and now competitive dating game it's important for businesses to showcase the 'best you can be'. We are delighted that a growing number of in-house and also outsourcing operations have decided to demonstrate a commitment to customers and employees by taking the challenge of self or external assessment against the very latest 'what good looks like' model.

Next week sees the launch of Leading Practice, an online publication dedicated to showcasing these brave and committed organisations, (also see this week’s Pulse interview for more) choosing to shine in an ‘always on’ world where it pays to be noticed - who knows where it might lead!

Happy Valentines Day!!💝