IT leaders oppose large-scale outsourcing

Two senior IT leaders have spoken out, separately, against the large-scale outsourcing of IT, in favour of the greater control by internal technologists.

One...

Two senior IT leaders have spoken out, separately, against the large-scale outsourcing of IT, in favour of the greater control by internal technologists.

One is David Tidey, chairman of the Elite group for IT directors and senior managers and assistant chief executive of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. He told an IT audience that the "outsourcing of everything" was in fashion 10 years ago. But he said it may mean losing the ability to cut costs at short notice.

He said: "When you go to the supplier and say we have real problems with our budgets: we want to cut your charge to us by 10%, they will turn around and say: 'ten-year contract - sorry you cannot do that'."

Tidey also has his doubts about having a single strategic partner. He said that such an arrangement can work but in many cases "you see problems".

He told the Numara Software "Engage Public Sector Forum" that once an authority has chosen a strategic partner by open tender it may end up buying systems which are not necessarily good value for money.

"I cannot go out to the market to check it because you're my strategic partner and you are my first point of contact. If you can leverage a really good partner, with a successful business transformation, that's great but I am slightly suspicious of that because they are here to make money.

"Let's not beat about the bush. They want to make their 20% profit on your services. If you go into it with that in mind and you're not upset by about that then fine. I have a slight problem with that."

Phil Pavitt, group CIO at Transport for London, has a similar view. He told a Govnet conference that he is a serial insourcer. He said: "With respect to anyone who comes from any of these organisations, I spend most of my time explaining that the big five consultancies are not the world's IT experts in my space. They all think they are. I have found that the best IT experience is inside my own IT team.

"Those who know me know that I am a serial insourcer I run things cheaper than any outsourcer can."

He said that in-house IT departments should "stand up and sell ourselves". He added: "We are the experts. We should show our expertise."

Pavitt's responsibilities include the technology supporting London's buses, the Underground, the Docklands Light Railway, Congestion Charge, London River Services, Victoria Coach Station, the London Transport Museum, and the capital's 4,600 traffic lights.

Pavitt to speak at GCLive public sector IT conference at Earl's Court 9-10 June 2009 >>

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