Crafting the best outsourcing deal for your organization \u2013 one that delivers the needed services at the (guaranteed, of course) levels \u2013 is a complex business. Throw in the pricing aspect, and things get even more complex.With that in mind, it pays to talk with the experts. And that\u2019s what I did. Late last week I spoke with Anirban Dutta, a director at Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC) and co-author of a new book, \u201cWinning Strategies \u2013 Secrets to Clinching Multimillion-Dollar Deals.\u201d Dutta wrote the book, which looks closely at the winning strategies of those who\u2019ve crafted and won high-value outsourcing deals, with Hetzel W. Folden, a VP at CSC.The book is targeted at service providers, but there\u2019s plenty of good information in it for CIO- and IT-types who want to better understand the machinations of outsourcing contract deal-making, and the mindset of the service providers making those deals..Anyhow, Dutta and I talked about some of the challenges, opportunities and trends in pricing of outsourcing deals, and I\u2019d like to share with you some of Dutta\u2019s thoughts.1) Don\u2019t fall prey to procurement-only pricing models.While an organization\u2019s procurement group is going to evaluate and hold sway over the outsourcing deal, it\u2019s important to lobby for a holistic view of the contract. The procurement group is most comfortable with line-by-line, itemized pricing but that may not be the best pricing model for your outsourcing deal. It may work if the scope of the deal is well understood, the terms are short and well-defined, but it does not allow for flexibility. There are more advanced pricing models that may work, including what Dutta refers to in the book as total cost of ownership (TCO) reduction. Here, the scope still needs to be well understood, but service providers will analyze what the client spends and offers up a percentage saving on that spend. 2) Cutting, cutting costs can lead to cutting, cutting service.Thanks to the current economy, costs are what many companies focus on when they sit down at the negotiating table with a prospective service provider. Clearly, companies want the best price. But Dutta challenges service providers to be candid with potential clients. He suggests both parties discuss in detail, and thoroughly understand, how lower prices may affect service. \u201cService providers are going in with lower price points,\u201d Dutta says. \u201cBut they have an ethical obligation to be have candid conversations. They need to tell clients that they can do a deal at a lower price point, but they also need to outline the risk exposure that could come with that price point.\u201d 3) Take note of some of the innovative pricing strategies, and see if they might work for you.Dutta says a few service providers, particularly Indian companies, are starting to put in a discount up front that equals what the provider promises to save the client over the life of a contract (savings garnered from efficiencies, etc.). Instead of outlining a deal that \u201cshows\u201d what a company will save in the next five years, these providers are giving that amount up front.4) Cloud computing will be a game changer for pricing.Dutta warns that cloud computing is still a fairly new concept, but it is definitely one worth watching. \u201cWhat cloud computing is going to do, and what it does now, is move infrastructure to a layer of abstraction and your capital expense is going to be removed,\u201d he says. It also introduces new players, \u201cbecause even Amazon is offering cloud services,\u201d and that will impact competitive play between traditional IT service providers and this new generation of cloud computing providers, Dutta says.