Thursday, June 23, 2005

Offshore Outsourcing

In an ongoing drive to reduce capital expenditures, corporate executives continue to consider offshore outsourcing as a way to reduce IT costs and focus on projects that are most directly linked to business goals.
Experienced executives agree that offshore outsourcing almost always sows uncertainty in internal personnel. It can result in layoffs and budget reductions among IT middle managers. The silver lining for IT managers is that there are opportunities for those who are prepared to embrace change and help their companies face the challenges of dealing with outsourcers - whether those external providers are in Bangalore or Boston.
Other technology and business leaders agree that when it comes to offshore outsourcing, companies need all the talent they can muster to do it right.
You need a team to manage the outsourcers, a program management office or an offshore development management center. offshore outsourcing program management involves a variety of tasks and skills, which include the writing of service-level agreements; analysis of contracts; documentation for how processes should be managed; and creation of liaison roles to ensure effective communication among IT, the business side of the company and outsourcers.
Of course, not all IT managers have access to mentoring programs. However, IT middle managers in any company can develop their project management chops.
Be process-oriented, focusing on managing resources. Analyze what you do, apply metrics to what you do, break out costs and inventory skills. See how you can do things faster, better.
People involved with help desks and network management are in a good position to hone their communications and negotiating skills since they need to contract, for example, for services for bandwidth and deal with a complex network of relationships to have systems installed.
Ultimately, outsourcing consultants and top executives advise IT managers to prepare to embrace change, and take the initiative to develop the skills required to deal with offshore outsourcing.