by Mark Chillingworth

Outsourcing a key part of transformation for CIOs

Jan 18, 20123 mins

CIO UK has been championing the cause of the CIO as the transformation leader in organisations. Throughout 2011 our cover story leaders were those that are transforming organisations whether it be Visa, BAA, the Met, retailers Boots and M&S, airline easyJet, national governments or global information providers. We will be following the same transformative zeal in 2012 and as our first issue of the year runs through the presses I can tell you that January cover star Dave Ubachs at consumer goods manufacturer Proctor & Gamble is just the sort of transformer we believe the CIO world can offer the business community. 
For a CIO to be a transformer in the organisation means that they need to use all aspects of their remit to deliver transformation. That of course includes technology, but also business processes, leadership and also outsourcing. 
Outourcing has been considered by many in the business world – CIOs included – as a cost cutting operation. True enough, but talk to those CIOs really making the most of outsourcing and you’ll see it has more to offer. 
Earlier this week I chaired a debate at the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) local meeting and what struck me listening to the professionals from the outsourcing world and our CIO sphere is that outsourcing and outsourcers really want to get involved in transformation. For that to happen CIOs will need to be transformative and they will need to see outsourcing as part of their transformation arsenal. 
Speaking at the IAOP chapter meeting Leslie Willcocks, Professor of Technology Work and Globalisation at the London School of Economics said, “Transformational leaders make a real difference,” when they are on the client side, but he added that strong transformational leaders are needed at the client and the outsource service provider to deliver real outcomes. He added that typically the outsourcing relationships that deliver transformation take an already good performance and turn it into a great performance. 
A number of speakers as well as those posing and answering questions suggested the same thing transformation needs leadership and outsource service providers have to be considered as part of that offering. 
And outsourcing doesn’t necessarily mean our desire to see more opportunities for kids in UK IT is a false hope. We are at an early age of the technology world and as more and more emerging markets see the opportunities the internet and computing offers the more work there will be and the need for a more diverse technology community from which CIOs can source from. 
Mike Altendorf, Tony Westbrook and myself have been saying in recent issues of CIO, the UK economy needs more technologists and we need to start at the very beginning to encourage kids to take an interest in just what technology can do.