There are three simple steps that companies must follow to maximise the benefits of outsourcing, analysts at Forrester have advised.

After a three year study with end users and service providers, Forrester said it uncovered a series of shortfalls in current outsourcing strategies. Businesses needed a more strategic sourcing approach, it said, beginning by ensuring that all those involved in the outsourcing strategy had a clear understanding of the outsourcing models available.

The three basic steps suggested are:

Firstly, that companies check their outsourcing strategy matches the rest of their IT group structural issues. IT characteristics such as the degree of centralisation and the delivery model were foundational issues that ruled out some models and preselected others, Forrester said.

Secondly, as staff availability for new projects influenced the model selection, buyers should adjust the targeted outsourcing model or simply to eliminate some options.

Thirdly, to remember that IT context should determine the implementation of the selected outsourcing model. This should underpin decisions about issues such as which domains may not be suited for outsourcing, or which will require more preparatory work before applying outsourcing.

Richard Peynot, author of the report, admitted that cost savings and better IT delivery remained the main drivers for outsourcing. But he warned that the poor quality of internal IT was also becoming a motivating factor, explaining: “This approach, ‘outsourcing as a sanction’, is risky because its adopters seldom consider the full range of issues involved in driving outsourcing success.”

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