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Successful IT Outsourcing: From Choosing a Provider to Managing the Project (Practitioner Series) Hardcover – 17 Jun 2003
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From the reviews:
The book is a step-by-step guide to the process of IT outsourcing. It assumes a standing start, so the history lesson comes first. For example, EDS was doing it 40 years ago. There is a thoughtful debate on the arguments for and against outsourcing before a study of the objectives and how to find and measure your service provider.
The main strength of this book is the quality of the case studies and examples. The author comments on real-life situations and creates a sense of inclusion. She has clearly seen many technology projects outsourced in various ways and her comments are from the real world of IT management, not an ivy-clad business school.
This is a very useful book for any manager thinking about outsourcing or anyone who wants to improve an existing relationship. The comments on project risk and delivery failures are direct, and ensure the book does not sell outsourcing as a panacea for broken systems. It is an authoritative guide to the process of IT outsourcing and I strongly recommend it.
Mark Kobayashi-Hillary MBCS - 'Computer Bulletin', May 2004 (Book of the month)
The growing tendency to outsource IT work has profoundly affected the careers of information professionals: Nearly all of them will, at some stage, work with outsourced services as a customer or supplier. The author’s insights into the benefits and pitfalls of this complex area can help these professionals tackle outsourcing’s challenges.
This book covers the outsourcing process from the initial decision to outsource through daily management of outsourced services. It considers the objectives behind outsourcing, selection of a service provider, management and measurement of the outsourced services’ performance, the outsourcing contract’s role, why outsourcing sometimes fails, and how to turn failure into success.
The author describes the origins of IT outsourcing and recent developments and also offers advice to information professionals who suddenly find their jobs being outsourced.
‘Computer’, December 2003
"The title of the book is a bold promise to the reader, and it does not disappoint. The book is a step-by-step guide to the process of IT outsourcing. … The main strength of this book is the quality of the case studies and examples. … This is a very useful book for any manager thinking about outsourcing or anyone who wants to improve an existing relationship. … an authoritative guide to the process of IT outsourcing and I strongly recommend it." (Computer Bulletin, May, 2004)
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Top customer reviews
Sparrow gives a good account on Application Service Providers and Wireless ASPs as alternative outsourcing supply models and her thoughts on what the future of outsourcing may be. The glossary at the end of the book explaining the outsourcing terminology mentioned in it, is the icing on the cake.
While I was reading the book, I got the sense that Elizabeth Sparrow is rightfully one of the leading personalities in the UK outsourcing arena. Her writing style possesses the confidence necessary to explain certain complexities in IT outsourcing management.
I would highly recommend the book to every IT professional interested in a better understanding of how effective outsourcing currently stands and where it's heading.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The process set forth in this book is straightforward. There are no innovative wrinkles, not should there be in my opinion. The tasks, completely covered in individual chapters, are:
- Establish objectives and parameters for outsourced services. Clarify the business drivers, define service objectives, analyze the business case, and examine factors such as staff transfers, etc. The business case analysis material in this book is particularly strong in that it looks at a multitude of factors. I also like the elicitation of stakeholder views and requirements in the initial stage of the process.
- Choose a provider. This is covers the RFI/RFP process, negotiations, selection and award. All aspects of due diligence are covered in the chapter devoted to this stage.
- Manage performance. There is a solid focus on service management and contract administration in this section, and is sprinkled with good advice throughout.
- Measure performance. This is one of the strongest sections. The coverage is complete and customer-focused. It is also objective and partners with the provider - one of many indications of the balanced and objective approach the author takes.
- Risks and controls. This section addresses the transition to the provider, associated risks, and how to effectively use the contract as a control mechanism. Key risks and how to deal with them during the life of the contract are outlined. This information shows the depth of experience the author has, and the advice is genuinely useful.
- When outsourcing fails to deliver. This section is tied to the previous one. It provides common symptoms, how to proactively resolve them, escalation when necessary, including arbitration, alternative dispute resolution, and litigation if necessary (and permitted by the contract). Knowing this information in advance can help to craft contract terms and conditions that anticipate them, and protect both parties and their respective interests.
The book wraps up with a section on alternative supply models, such as application service providers, managed providers of storage, security and other models. This information shows not only future trends, but may spark ideas about how to source your services in ways other than traditional outsourcing.
Information provided in this book will work with both on- and off-shore providers; however, be aware that there are additional issues with off-shore providers, including off-site staff, time zone differences, and perceived control.
A book that I recommend reading in conjunction with this one - before reading it in fact - is "Outsourcing: How to Make Vendors Work for Your Shareholders" (ISBN 1892606046). It is more of a sanity check document that will cause you to think about objectives and alternatives to outsourcing before you embark on a course of action that leads to outsourcing.
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