Outsourcing the answer to ICT investment in SA

Webcom CEO believes businesses should outsource more

August 20, 2009

Webcom CEO believes businesses should outsource more

Remaining profitable in today’s business landscape is a challenge, and one that presents an interesting dichotomy. On the one hand, budgets are being cut and spend is highly scrutinised. On the other, there remains the need for organisations to invest in ICT infrastructure in order to improve efficiencies and stay competitive.

Outsourcing as a model is ideally positioned for this type of economic climate, as it enables organisations to improve their infrastructure, applications and technology frameworks, without having to cope with the heavy financial investment that generally goes with keeping this on site.

When the skills shortage is added into the equation, outsourcing becomes an even more attractive prospect, as hiring of specialist skills in-house is difficult and can be exceptionally costly, especially when their services may not be required full time.

The benefits of outsourcing, especially during turbulent economic times, are clear. Not only are costs reduced, but management can be simplified and resources hired as and when they are necessary, without the red tape of taking on permanent employees. Using this model also gives organisations access to a far wider pool of skills and expertise, which can be leveraged on a project basis or incorporated into the management and maintenance of ICT infrastructure.

However, the major point of resistance to the adoption of outsourced ICT services is the concept that organisations lose control over these processes, as they are handed over to a third party. This is a common misconception within the outsourcing field, as services should never be entirely handed over- as this does lead to a loss of control. The entire process should be carefully managed from both sides to ensure that expectations are met and disappointments avoided.

The best way to deal with an outsourcing provider is to build a partnership, as good relationships will ensure that people within an organisation can work together as a synergistic team with the outsource provider. Support models, daily interactions, customer support and stakeholder management, as well as control over expectations from both parties are crucial to the success of any outsourcing initiative.