Opinion and debate on outsourcing, insourcing, cosourcing, software-as-a-service and other sourcing options.

Dec 172012
Restructuring the IT Department and its Skills

As the internet became established as a tool of commerce and industry over the past 15 years or so, IT departments fit new titles of web developer, user experience designer, and network security engineer into their existing department structure along with the many programmers, systems analysts, and technical gurus needed to keep systems running and serve the enterprise. Now along comes the cloud and IT departments are beginning to realize they may not need so much of these skills, but are going to need more of the skills associated with contract, vendor, and customer relationship management.  While this won’t be news to IT departments that were stricken with the outsourcing bug a few years ago, Read more

Nov 302012
The New Darlings of the Globe

It’s not going to be a pretty year ahead, unless you’re in the “doom and gloom” business. As one of the “risk guys,” I’m in a sweet spot for the year ahead, but I don’t think I have a lot of company. I believe a lot of businesses are going to retrench even more deeply, hoarding capital and waiting for some semblance of stability in terms of business regulation. I don’t believe that stability will be forthcoming, which means that the money that has been holed up for several years now will begin to find its way off shore. This makes for an interesting year ahead for the folks outside the States and outside the Read more

Dec 152011
It's About Customer Service

Year of the App Redux It’s another “year of the app” for 2012 as more and more clients will expect any of the goods and services we offer to be available on their iPhones and Droids. A failure to include those elements in the tool set will invariably lead to charges that the provider lacks “true” customer service. More Face Time in 2012 While technology will play a greater role, it’s also evident that there will be a greater level of “touch” required for some clients who will see the advent of e-options as the surrender of personal contact. They will push back and demand true face time as well as on-site commitments. Coupled with Read more

Dec 152011
The Rise of the Professional Contract Manager

Now that approximately half the IT shop is outsourced (on average) either on, near, or offshore, the transaction itself is hardly novel. What remains difficult, however, is getting the results one wanted when the deal was set up. Both academia and the commercial world have started to recognize the importance of the individuals that get those results, not just those who put the deals together. With regard to sourcing, I see 2012 as the year of the contract manager. More universities will offer contract management as a degree (not just a module), yet it will take some time for the students to enter the marketplace. The professional contract management associations will have a boom in Read more

Jun 142011

For every vendor presentation claiming that cloud computing is an unprecedented revolution, there is an analyst paper denouncing the hyperbole. Every new example of IT goes through this phase, just as surely as a child goes through the “terrible twos” — and at about the same age. When a concept does not catch on, the providers and analyst firms have a ready solution: rename and restart. The move to “pay per view” use of externally hosted IT resources was given several other names over the past decade, and a new bout of fever erupted each time; two examples are “utility computing” coined by Sun and HP (2000) and “on-demand computing” by IBM (2002). No one Read more

Feb 062011

The fast rise of software talent marketplaces like oDesk and uTest represents a profound transformation. Software is no more a world of places – Silicon Valley, Seattle, Bangalore, Krakow or Tel Aviv. Rather, software is fast becoming a world of work streams. These streams are tied together through social networking and collaborative techniques in which virtual team spaces replace the site, the conference room, the metaphorical shelf on which the software artifacts are stored… and the water cooler. Three trends drive this transformation in software from a world of places to a world of streams: Shortage of talent. Have you recently tried to hire highly skilled programmers in areas such as mobile applications or cloud Read more

Jan 102011

Offshoring passes the early adopter stage – the early adoption bugs (customer care, black & white view of specifications, etc) have been largely worked out now, particularly in India.  Customers have gotten better at specifications and remote management – moving away from the “do what I meant, not what I specified” approach to a more professional approach.  Indian firm are better at client management, with most having onshore support cells.  Even with the labor arbitrage decreasing, more value is being added.  This is the year offshoring will no longer be a novelty, but a mandatory aspect of the business case for delivering IT.  Although, many organizations will continue to use a politically acceptable onshore brand Read more