Q: In your case study, it’s the IT executive who is considering outsourcing. But what about when outsourcing decisions are driven by the business executives? The CFO is often pushing outsourcing for the cost savings. When this happens, internal IS staff can’t be “in charge of the client relationships,” as you write, which implies that the outsourcing is doomed to failure.
A: If you are a subordinate and your boss is pushing outsourcing, then your only option is to play offense by getting on the team and doing everything you can to ensure that the outsourcing is done responsibly. There are many leadership initiatives that are long on strategy but short on resources. It’s amazing the influence that you can have if you lead rather than hope for the best.
Q: What are the legal implications of outsourcing? What is the relevant legislation?
A: Everyone hates the short-term implications of outsourcing, but most everyone believes that establishing trade barriers or limitations to outsourcing will harm our competitiveness in the long term. From a policy perspective, the focus is on education and requiring companies to act responsibly by investing some of their outsourcing savings in assisting displaced workers (for example, offering retraining and wage insurance).
From an individual perspective, it’s prudent for all IT professionals to develop skills that are more difficult to displace. Assuming that you are going to remain in the IT profession, you can try three tactics. First, consider crawling up the food chain?if you are a programmer, develop analysis and project management skills; if you are a project manager, develop program management, and business and relationship skills. Second, if you are an IT executive, consider working for technology-driven companies, including those that provide outsourcing services. Finally, if you are a contractor, consider finding full-time employment, since the contingents are going first and going fast.