Feb 112009

The May 2009 issue of Cutter IT Journal — with Guest Editor Cutter
Senior Consultant Sara Cullen — invites useful debate and
analyses on the current state of outsourcing and how a recession
may change the landscape in terms of both current and future
contracts and the provider market. We will explore the strategies
that may help organizations weather the challenges outsourcing
presents during these turbulent times.

Cutter IT Journal Call for Papers

Outsourcing Strategies to Weather a Recession

Outsourcing presents many challenges for buyers and sellers under
normal circumstances. Under the current economic climate, when the
value for money proposition of outsourcing becomes skewed toward
the money side of the equation, existing outsourcing deals and
potential new ones face new challenges as well. Buyers will want
to reduce the costs of current contracts and obtain substantial
savings in new ones. Sellers can’t afford to reduce existing
prices given the projections of decreased revenue, plus the
increased spend and greater discounts required to win new work.
Can both parties achieve their financial goals while maintaining a
good, long-term relationship?

The May 2009 issue of Cutter IT Journal invites useful debate and
analyses on the current state of outsourcing and how a recession
may change the landscape in terms of both current and future
contracts and the provider market. We will explore the strategies
that may help organizations weather the challenges outsourcing
presents during these turbulent times.

The issue will be split into the buy side (client) and sell side
(provider) of outsourcing services.

TOPICS OF INTEREST MAY INCLUDE (but are certainly not limited to)
the following:


  1. Advice/solutions/techniques on renegotiating current deals. My
    recent Cutter Consortium webinar on the effects of a recession on
    outsouring showed that many clients want to renegotiate, the
    question is how. Just asking for a price reduction may get
    something — but is there a better way? And what’s in it for the

  2. Getting real cost savings. Are there other techniques besides
    renegotiating contracts that can contribute cost savings? For
    example, a bank I’ve worked with has made significant savings just
    by managing contracts better. A minor investment in a contract
    management group has yielded such high returns that the group has
    also been put in charge of getting the cost benefits of a recent
    merger. How can organizations achieve savings other than

  3. Backsourcing as an option. A utility I’m involved with has
    investigated backsourcing and very conservatively estimated a 30%
    savings. While they have decided against the move at this time,
    are there other cases where this has worked?

  4. Dealing with provider staff turnover. While high staff turnover
    (including management) of providers has always been frustrating,
    it will likely become even more of an issue during a recession. Is
    there advice on how to minimize turnover, or the impact it has?
  5. Possibly corrupt providers. With the recent publicity of the
    World Bank bans on some providers, and the Satyam/PWC financial
    scandal, is there a way that clients can protect themselves
    against allegedly corrupt providers? Do they need to?


  1. Value proposition. Is there a new value proposition the
    outsourcing market needs rather than the well-worn ones of
    economies of scale, access to experience, etc? How can providers
    really help clients in financial crisis? Should they even try?

  2. Winning work. The need to win more work will become acute. How
    can providers have a better chance given the tough market ahead?
    Can they bid better? Should they not bid at all (can be very
    expensive) and move towards relationship selling?

  3. How low should you go? There will be incredible pressure to bid
    cheap and to reduce prices of existing contracts. Should providers
    resist this? If not, where should the line be drawn?

  4. Provider recommendations to clients. Most providers have very
    astute insights into how clients can do things better, but are
    rarely asked or feel comfortable stating “the obvious” to the
    clients. They know what clients do wrong which makes both parties
    less effective. Are there some key recommendations that clients
    should really take on board, not just for recessions, but for the

  5. Offshoring. If clients weren’t thinking of this before, does
    this option become an imperative? Also, so many clients only think
    of India when thinking of offshoring. What do other regions have
    to offer?


Please respond to Sara Cullen at
scullen[at]cullengroup[dot]com[dot]au with a copy to
itjournal[at]cutter[dot]com, no later than 20 February 2009 and
include an extended abstract and a short article outline showing
major discussion points.


Articles are due on 27 March 2009.


Most Cutter IT Journal articles are approximately 2,500-3,500
words long, plus whatever graphics are appropriate. If you have
any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact CITJ’s
Group Publisher, Christine Generali at cgenerali[at]cutter[dot]com
or the Guest Editor, Sara Cullen at
scullen[at]cullengroup[dot]com[dot]au. Editorial guidelines are


Typical readers of Cutter IT Journal range from CIOs and vice
presidents of software organizations to IT managers, directors,
project leaders, and very senior technical staff. Most work in
fairly large organizations: Fortune 500 IT shops, large computer
vendors (IBM, HP, etc.), and government agencies. 48% of our
readership is outside of the US (15% from Canada, 14% Europe, 5%
Australia/NZ, 14% elsewhere). Please avoid introductory-level,
tutorial coverage of a topic. Assume you’re writing for someone
who has been in the industry for 10 to 20 years, is very busy, and
very impatient. Assume he or she will be asking, “What’s the
point? What do I do with this information?” Apply the “So what?”
test to everything you write.


We are pleased to offer Journal authors a year’s complimentary
subscription and 10 copies of the issue in which they are
published. In addition, we occasionally pull excerpts, along with
the author’s bio, to include in our weekly Cutter Edge e-mail
bulletin, which reaches another 8,000 readers. We’d also be
pleased to quote you, or passages from your article, in Cutter
press releases. If you plan to be speaking at industry
conferences, we can arrange to make copies of your article or the
entire issue available for attendees of those speaking engagements
— furthering your own promotional efforts.


No other journal brings together so many cutting-edge thinkers,
and lets them speak so bluntly and frankly. We strive to maintain
the Journal’s reputation as the “Harvard Business Review of IT.”
Our goal is to present well-grounded opinion (based on real,
accountable experiences), research, and animated debate about each
topic the Journal explores.



Christine Generali

Christine Generali is a Group Publisher for Cutter Consortium - responsible for the editorial direction and content management of Cutter's flagship publication, Cutter IT Journal.


  One Response to “Outsourcing Strategies to Weather a Recession”

  1. Outsourcing is here to stay – it offers a viable alternative for many companies to leverage global expertise. I believe that ‘cost reduction’ in its own – may not or will not be easy to achieve under current economic climate.

    When it comes to outsourcing strategies, companies must have a short-term as well as long-term visions to begin with. And, this applies to both SELL and the BUY sides. Once, the economy stabilizes, the first approach to improve performance will motivate companies to look nowhere else but to outsourcing.

    I agree with Sara on many aspects of this CFP – contractual agreements, negotiations, and then bringing right value to the clients – are all vital areas of discussion.

    I am currently working with a major financial services company in the US – and would definitely like to share the experience with an article. My esteemed Colleague, Bhuvan Unhelker and I will submit our views to all of you.

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