June 06, 2004

The joy of outsourcing

InfoWorld CTO Chad Dickerson writes about outsourcing end-user support:

Right now, my key internal systems are being monitored by a 24-hour NOC (network operations center) using integrated monitoring solutions that I would never be able to buy or integrate into my environment. Our employees benefit from around-the-clock support. A seamlessly automated, proactive patching solution keeps our systems up-to-date and every desktop or laptop is backed up every day regardless of location. I donít manage these nuts-and-bolts, but I am able to track them via a convenient Web-based dashboard that gives me an instant read on the health of my IT environment, and I receive monthly reports on end-user satisfaction that are audited by a third party. The array of services offered to me has broadened in the past year, but I will actually be paying less for them as my provider continues to achieve economies of scale with a growing customer base.

We're using a similar arrangement at work, and I'm a big fan of the concept. I've seen very few downsides, and a whole bunch of upsides so far.

Update: Dickerson has a blog post following up on his article:

Lest this arrangement sound a little too utopian, the employees at InfoWorld do the usual complaining about IT support (when you're dealing with Microsoft products, nothing is perfect), but through my outsourcer, I actually have third-party audited satisfaction scores to cut through the din and lots of traps and mechanisms to deal with the inevitable instances of dissatisfaction.

Also, for the real flip side of the outsourcing argument, see Jerry Gregoire's article in CIO magazine: "The Vanishing IT Department." A quote:

It is far easier to "order" a programmer, as one might order in a pizza so as not to have to cook, than to sell someone on joining the organization. We pay dearly for outsourcers and consultants that arrest the development of our organizations' internal capabilities and cause us to place the future well-being of our company in the hands of people who have no emotional stake or connection to our business.