Research company Gartner has discovered that most companies are unprepared to keep close tabs on the outsourcing suppliers they hire.
Gartner forecast that by 2005, 70% of companies will use more than three IT service providers for projects in key areas, but that less than a tenth of companies will be prepared to manage the outsourcers' work effectively.
Without proper oversight and supervision, companies cannot ensure that the goals and expectations of the outsourcing engagements are being met.
This, in turn, often yields a low return on service value, particularly when the client has hired several outsourcers that need to collaborate and interact, according to Gartner's report "Successful IT Outsourcing: Strategies, Tactics and Management Approaches for Effective Strategic Sourcing".
Companies need to understand that they must command and preside over their outsourcing engagements, monitoring and managing outsourcers' work and making it clear to them that they must work well together to achieve project objectives.
The road to success starts with developing a sound overall sourcing strategy, said Gartner analyst Chris Ambrose.
"The key to managing either a single outsourcer or multiple ones is to develop the right governance model, the right organisational structure, the right balance of skills and establishing the right roles and responsibilities within the enterprise."
Ambrose stressed the necessity of IT managers and chief information officers to heed this advice because companies today are more likely to hire multiple service providers than in the past.
"You still see some single-provider contracts in the marketplace, but we're definitively seeing more and more companies looking to work with multiple providers for key service requirements," he said.
Juan Carlos Perez writes for IDG News Service