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Selective Outsourcing – what is it, and why is it here?

Anyone who’s been in the [IT] industry long enough has seen significant change.

There was a time when the Mainframe ruled; where one big brain of a computer served thousands minions.

Then the Client/Server revolution – enterprises using departmental servers for specific tasks

Hosting, Datacentre and Consolidation was the next big fad, where departmental servers moved back to a central location.

Storage Area Networks then separated and consolidated the data storage component of the computer.

Virtualisation came soon after to consolidate even further (notice the how its turned back to a kind of Mainframe mentality?)

Now Cloud is king.

So during the above evolution of our industry which has only happened over the last 15 odd years, there have been Global SI’s and Outsourcers who promised cost savings and efficiencies over 10-15 year contracts. CIO’s and CFO’s were sold on the fact that they can remove certain operational headaches whilst saving a fast buck.

But the industry fought back – going through all this change over the past 15-20 years, these outsourcing contracts became rigid, inflexible and left their clients with a not so competitive edge.

Admittedly some Large SI’s have moved with the times – embracing new technologies and business models to suit. But had the damage already been done? Is large scale Outsourcing now dead? No. not by a long shot.

But those who got burnt, often never did go back, instead they either went fully internal, doing everything themselves (at a cost), or they chose to Selectively Outsource specific functions within their IT operation. This gave them everything they needed – flexibility, control, reduced cost and a competitive edge.

If you take, for instance, a Oracle or Microsoft SQL Server Database team within a large firm. Internally, you’ll have a team of DBA’s, DBA manager and costs associated with the tools they use to maintain the Databases. Externally, Outsourcing everything, this will probably be done in India in a large scale NOC by anyone of dozens, if not 100’s of DBA’s.

Selectively outsourcing to a smaller, nimble specialist firm, will have the benefits of both. Cost reduction, short and long term flexibility – but with the added bonus of control. The service will integrate with your business and be personalised. You’ll know the DBA’s working on your database by name and they’ll know not only your environment, but you personally.

It is easy for organisations that have been burnt by Outsourcing tinder’s may dismiss this and throw more caution than necessary. However times in IT Managed Services have changed as radically as the technology – so keep an open mind and start to challenge the status quo.

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