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Outsourcing it the Right Way 2013

Debarati Roy | Jan. 21, 2013
If you are among the 48 percent of CIOs who, according to the State of the CIO Survey, are planning to invest in outsourcing significantly in the coming year, it is likely that you will find that phrase under your breath quite often in the near future.

Some CIOs even prefer to bear the same cost for outsourcing as keeping things in-house just to keep themselves at bay from the nonproductive routine jobs.

Prasanth Puliakottu, CIO at Sterlite Technologies, has outsourced his entire facility management services (FMS) and has about 30-40 people working under FMS. "I can put my own people there and maybe I will be able to reduce some cost in a tangible way. But in an intangible way, me and my lean team will lose a lot of precious time dealing with the routine all over again," he says.

Don't shortcut internal preparation and strategy setting. Sourcing decision makers should strongly resist the temptation to shortcut internal preparation. Some Indian CIOs have even spent up to 18 months mapping out their company's entire IT and enterprise architecture to find existing gaps and priority areas.

That might seem like a long time, it underlines the importance of approaching outsourcing fully prepared. The connection between internal preparation and successful sourcing outcomes has been proven before, and Forrester data shows that outsourcing decision makers find it beneficial to devote even more effort to internal preparation and strategy setting.

This level of preparation also ensures that CIOs are more clued into what their organizations will need a few years down the line. And that enables to make more flexible SLAs.

Look for value-added service. Puliakottu is categorical that while choosing a partner his focus is not as much on cost as much as it is on a partner's VAS capabilities. "Even if the cost arbitrage is not that huge, I will pick a vendor who can add value," he says.

In today's scenario, when businesses want quick and easy solutions, having a partner who can help you deliver projects faster and can pack in that bit extra with changing business expectations is a must.

For example, when Arun Goyal, director-IT, Quest Diagnostics, needed a mobility solution, he decided to approach his partner who manages all the company's core applications. In 2012, Quest came out with an application which allows a phlebotomist (the person who collects samples) to take Quest's services to a patient's doorstep. The phlebotomist is equipped with a handheld device which has a small bluetooth printer attached to it which can issue receipts and barcodes to be stuck on sample vials instantaneously. The system helps the people in the lab plan their schedules better and saves Quest man-hours and human errors that stem from multiple points of data entry.

"Our partners who developed this application were well versed with our domain and core application know-how. It didn't take them a lot of time to develop the application and also gave us a cost benefit over getting someone else to develop that app for us," Goyal says.


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