Groundhog Day in the Great Outsourcing Debate

A question we see more businesses asking as they assess their workload coming out of the recession:

“What is the business of my business?”

While seemingly self-evident, this question gets down to important considerations. Is this process or function our core business or should we consider outsourcing to a partner? What is really the best use of our people and resources right now?

We’ve been hearing this more often lately, and it’s a bit like the movie “Groundhog Day” – in a good way.

Over the years, we’ve seen the outsource/in-house pendulum swing back and forth when it comes to IT. The last big swing, about 10 years ago, put many enterprises squarely in the camp of “I’m going to roll my own.” They wanted to customize and control their IT and communications environment, with staff building and managing key parts of the infrastructure. So businesses staffed up, created what they needed, and owned the results. At that time, that may have resulted in a competitive advantage. Flash forward 10 years later and IT infrastructure has largely become standardized and is frequently delivered as a service – much like a utility.

Now, as enterprises start to come out of the recession, CIOs find themselves questioning whether that still makes sense. Should IT staff continue on their current path or focus more on core strategic activities and hand off the responsibility of day-to-day network management to someone else?

While reliability remains as critical as ever in our always-on, anywhere world, we see a greater comfort level among CIOs to rely on partners to manage some or all of their IT infrastructure. We credit two factors:

  • Cloud and managed solutions are becoming more sophisticated, offering five-9s reliability and 24/7/365 support.
  • Technology has become more critical to the success of the enterprise’s core business. For example, as we’ve discussed, effective customer service strategies rely more and more on technology.

As your users demand more advanced IT functionality, do you plan to staff up, or are you looking for outsourced or hosted solutions?

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