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Study criticises IT outsourcing

Mike Simons


Mike Simons

IT outsourcing routinely fails to deliver the benefits expected by clients and organisations, falls short of globally established best practice, and repeats the same, obvious mistakes.

These are some of the key findings of a major new study of IT outsourcing in Britain and the US by leading academics Leslie Willcocks and Mary Lacity.

Speaking to Computer Weekly, Willcocks cast doubt on fashionable techniques for establishing close partnerships with outsourcers. In particular he warned against users throwing their business open to outsourcers.

"Suppliers are very good at selling their services," said Willcocks, "and a lot are asking to penetrate organisations in ways that I don't think are healthy."

Willcocks told Computer Weekly that one source of problems was that, "Suppliers are better at selling their services than the users are at buying."

Willcocks and Lacity estimate that the global outsourcing market will be worth $120bn (£76bn) by 2002, with major businesses spending more than a third of their IT budgets with outsourcers. However Willcox said, "There has not been a huge transfer of learning," between suppliers and customers.

Inside IT outsourcing: A state of the art report, Mary Lacity and Leslie Willcocks, sponsored by Origin, Templeton Research, available from David Hall, Templeton College 01865 422515.


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