Specialization, once primarily the domain of physicians and attorneys, is spilling over into other fields in the ’90s. CPAs specialize. Writers specialize–even some dog groomers specialize in certain breeds. IT is no exception. As you go through the outsourcer selection process, you should be aware of any needs you have for specialization.
Networking is one area being affected by the emergence of IT specialists. As the age of electronic commerce charges at us, the effectiveness with which corporations engage in networking is becoming increasingly critical to their success–in some cases, even their survival.† One of the leading overnight delivery companies demonstrates just how much value networking can add to a business.† They have developed an infrastructure and a corporate culture that treats both their customers and their packages as location-independent nodes on a worldwide network.† With a few keystrokes, a customer can get in touch with the samples sent overnight to Kuala Lumpur over a complex set of Internet, Intranet and wireless links. Data networking adds as much tangible value to the company’s transactions as its trucks and planes.
“Generalists who fold networking into a larger practice simply cannot deliver this level of sophistication and value creation,” said Rick Roscitt, Managing Partner–Outsourcing Practice, AT&T Solutions. “Many still view networking as an afterthought to the system development process.† That’s an outmoded point of view – and it can spell disaster for any company that wants to thrive in the global, networking based, virtual marketplace. At a time when outsourcing encompasses the life blood of major global corporations, the businesses that connect the best will be the most successful.”
IT is now an amalgamation of various technologies, each incredibly complex in itself. Three-tier application development, object-oriented programming, multi-level routing and switching architectures, computer telephony, remote/mobile user support and Web-centric networking based commerce-each of these examples demonstrates the complexity of evolving technology.
“That’s why IT decision makers should think twice before looking to a self-styled generalist to support their strategic technology plans, said Roscitt.† “It’s no longer possible for an outsourcer to be all things to all people.† And if it were possible to maintain a high competency in every component discipline of IT, then corporate IT departments wouldn’t need any outside help in the first place.”
Lessons from the Outsourcing Primer:
- Be aware of all of your company’s special needs.
- Be sure the outsourcer you select has experience in meeting those needs.