There's no mystery as to why the IT services industry is clipping along at more than $1 billion per day in the U.S. alone: More and more companies have discovered the benefits of outsourcing relative to the recruitment and maintenance of large internal IT staffs.
In the early years, we all thought outsourcing was about saving money, but then we discovered the truth: Outsourcing it not only about saving money, it's about re-routing money from non-core to core activities.
One of the best arguments for buying a product or service is its alignment quotient: the extent to which the infrastructure or applications investment aligns with business strategy. This of course assumes that a business strategy exists and that the fundamental infrastructure and IT investment recommendations have been made. It's now time to decide how to source them.
Assessment of Core Competencies
This step is -- when all's said and done -- about whether or not you should build and maintain a large internal IT staff.
The core competencies drill is critically important to acquisition alignment. As your business evolves, you need to ask tough questions about maintaining the in-house activities you've supported for all these years. Remember that the assessment is not just about cost. Here are some questions for deciding what's core and what's not:
You get the idea. The key questions have to do with finding your core business purpose and then matching all of the activities to in-house versus outsourced alternatives.
Once you've determined what makes sense it's possible to step back and assess the kinds of IT products and services that might be outsourced. But just in case you think that all roads lead to outsourcing, make sure that you objectively assess the impact outsourcing will have on specific business models and processes.