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Outsourcing has Increased IT's Level of Accountability to the Management: CIO of Consumers Energy

Shweta Rao | Jan. 24, 2013
The traditional full-term, fixed price outsourcing model has long been predicted by 'industry experts' as a goner. But despite the cash-strapped situation across industries today, 2013 has renewed the sense of hope among outsourcing vendors as many CIOs adopt a counter-intuitive approach to IT sourcing. Here's what Mamatha Chamarthi, CIO at Consumers Energy--a Michigan electric and natural gas utility, had to say on the resurfacing of outsourcing strategies in the new-age economy.

Outsourcing has a stigma attached to it because it led to thousands of employees being laid off and jobs moving from the U.S. to Asian countries. But our partnership with HCL defies that traditional model of outsourcing. In our concept, our Michigan Technology Delivery Centre with HCL will create 500 new jobs by 2016 (through partnership with local colleges and universities). Also, we haven't laid off any employees, but have re-trained and re-skilled them to transition into newer roles.

What has the scenario at Consumers Energy been during and after this transition?

Consumers Energy has experienced tremendous growth in the last five years. We realized that we were leaving a lot of business value on the table because of our lack of staff capacity, even if we could afford new technological investments. We then decided to outsource our operations to HCL and moved our staff capacity into newer projects such as smart grid, automated metering, and security-related infrastructure.

Contrary to popular views, this move has increased IT's level of accountability to the management. As a result, we take compliance and regulatory changes more seriously than ever. Frequent regulation changes go through a more agile process to accommodate these changes into our system today. The offshore HCL center works with us in a virtualized environment and so, all of us receive real-time updates 24x7.


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