Thought for the Day:Are you ready for risk?

Outsourcing and communications expert Martyn Hart looks at a hot issue of the day.What about getting someone to take all risk...

Outsourcing and communications expert Martyn Hart looks at a hot issue of the day.What about getting someone to take all risk while you have all the rewards? Nirvana or what? But read on.

I found an old chum telling me just that. He's landed a job integrating five major (£25m) autonomous CRM systems into a single cost-effective unit.

Now four months into the job, is he worried? Not at all, he's relaxed. In fact, he takes long golfing holidays.

Well, as a public service I wanted to know more, how did he do it? Five jugs of Red Stripe later I got the gist. He's placed a major contract with a well-known Big Seven consultancy to run the whole programme. They work at cost and, if they complete on time, receive a bonus, so their balls are really on the line to deliver.

My friend's responsibility is to be on the programme board, so he has reached nirvana: he has all the benefits while they take all the risk.

This is such a sweet deal, he said, that when it's finished in three years' time, he'll be grabbed by a consultancy at partner level, work two days week and earn as much as now.

Sounds really good. All reward, no risk, no responsibility. I wouldn't be writing this if I didn't think there was a moral here somewhere. What would you think?

I asked a few questions. What is this "at cost" day rate? Answer: £650. How many consultants? Answer: 390. Where were they? In upmarket premises in the centre of London which he pays for. How do they manage the programme? With their own world-class, best-practice, fully approved (by them?) method. Can I buy a version of this? Oh no, it's their trade secret, a special method.

Had he visited them? Often. See many new faces? All the time.

So who is at risk here?

At the National Outsourcing Association, we have a saying: "Lose all the risks, lose your business!"

Want to buy some shares?

Have you reaped the rewards while others took the risks? What's your secret? >> reserves the right to edit and publish answers on the Web site. Please state if your answer is not for publication

Martyn Hart is chairman of the National Outsourcing Association and practice director at Mantix, a consultancy that delivers value from complex programmes.

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