Outsourcing Business Processes
This paper captures the most prominent services and issues associated with today's outsourcing environment. Outsourcing is the modern business term for having other companies accomplish basic business processes rather than doing them inhouse. While outsourcing has always been an important business option, modern technical capabilities are fast making outsourcing a critical requirement in competitive, cost conscious industries. However, our recent experience with terrorist challenges indicates that a second look is needed to ensure that outsourcing risks are still acceptable.
This paper (1) benchmarks classical (but modern) outsourcing methods to provide a starting point, (2) notes what information system services are being outsourced, (3) provides examples of how those services were being promoted and leveraged, with some comments on terrorist related risks, and (4) indicates how the experts suggest that outsourcing, if it is reliable and secure, should be addressed in contracts (incentives). An awareness of these basic aspects of outsourcing is important to the business analyst or consultant.
Benchmarking Modern Outsourcing
Charles L. Gay and James Essinger (2000) provide not only a generic (non-high-tech) framework within which to view modern, high-tech outsourcing, they also provide this framework from the British perspective, often using United States companies as examples. They list numerous benefits and hazards of outsourcing, only indirectly considering terrorist acts, and they explore the different business relationships that apply in the world of outsourcing. Based on their perspectives, we can conclude that outsourcing is a well developed but also complex topic, one that is often over simplified and, thus, is often improperly implemented.
Nevertheless, with the British framework in mind, one should view the numerous and quickly evolving high-tech extrapolations of outsourcing as less intimidating and, also, less risky from a business perspective, at least as view from their pre-September thinking. With a few rather obvious guidelines in place, a business consultant (certainly an information technology business consultant) should be able to recommend to a client what aspects of the client's business can and should be outsourced. The consultant can also be very helpful in selecting an appropriate source of those services as well as make suggestions as to how to approach outsourcing contractually. This requires some preparation and awareness, but it only involves alerting the client to possibilities as part of an analysis of business functions, some of which may now be considered from a new security perspective.
Exploring the Internet for outsourcing information consistently leads to the obvious. For example, outsourcing has become a major element of the high-tech startup environment over the past couple of years. There have been (and are) many new high-tech companies trying to...