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Understanding the outsourcing jigsaw puzzle

Outsourcing is growing – but Gary Flood warns that it isn't just about balancing the books for a new partner. Outsourcing has grown more complex, more risky, but potentially more rewarding. Outsourcers are looking to differentiate themselves from competition, and a large part of that differentiation comes from promising “innovation”: Which brings us back to innovation, the key word for outsourcers as we enter the next decade, it seems. You can't talk to an outsourcer or even their customers without the word, or some variation of it, being deployed at some point. Take, for example, this comment from the vice president of Global Client Services at Unilever, which last year outsourced global desktop support to Unisys “because of the company's proven service delivery capabilities and innovative roadmap”. He added that he and his firm particularly liked the vendor's “vision for leveraging innovative, cost-effective IT management practices”. But again, the risks are heavy: done poorly, outsourcing can result in the CIO being distracted with an abrasive relationship and losing time on more important work. A way of avoiding this result is to use outsourcing to compliment your existing team rather than replace them. Have the outsourcing firm work alongside your own people to work jointly on tasks, increasing communication, correction, and positive outcome.

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