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Outsourcing

Many consider outsourcing an efficient way to perform functions that are considered non-core.

The problem with outsourcing is that:

  1. a.Someone else's profits are being paid for.
  2. b.Work is done according to their priorities.
  3. c.Everything takes a lot longer.
  4. d.Problem resolution becomes a huge butt-covering exercise, as to who pays the overhead.

Most large enterprises have the scale to afford to completely run their own IT, delivery services, or whatever, thus paying only for the overheads, but when outsourced, they have to pay for the same overheads, plus the profit. With a local job, it is easy to decide who has the priority over resources. Once outsourced, the minimum SLA time becomes the new regular turnaround time. The basic rule of queuing efficiency is to make everyone wait the maximum time. All work is in a queue with every other company using their services, which means a low priority service for another company may get preference to a critical one.

Local changes can often be negotiated by having a chat between the relevant parties. Once outsourced, everything is subject to a detailed process and increased documentation. That can turn delay from days into weeks. For example, while getting firewall rules implemented at one company, the local ones – in fact done on the opposite side of the planet – were done overnight, or at most, with one day's delay. Conversely, those going through IBM – in the country where we were – had to be programmed weeks ahead, and even then they weren't guaranteed to be done on the day they were slotted in.

Local problems usually involve discussions between the technical people as to what is reasonable to do, whereas outsourcing introduces managers into the equation, and that derails efficiency severely, as it introduces a lot of reputation considerations, and their consequent timely processes. Basically, if short-sighted managers get this business insanity of outsourcing implemented, make sure to have nominated technical people from each side to handle first point of contact for resolving issues, and allow them to escalate actions within their own organisation as required.

However, fight hard to avoid outsourcing, as it saps money and enthusiasm. Don't fall for that core business crap, as it is just a ruse to hide that the manager proposing it can't really manage more than one or two things at a time. That is, they are basically incompetent as a manager, so get rid of them.

And if outsourcing, go for a company that is not as big, as then they can be made to be more responsive, rather than being too big to care about any priorities but their own.

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