Thought for the day:Three-speed outsourcing

Outsourcing and communications expert Martyn Hart looks at a hot issue of the day.How long does it take to negotiate an...

Outsourcing and communications expert Martyn Hart looks at a hot issue of the day.How long does it take to negotiate an outsourcing contract? Twenty days, 20 weeks, 20 months?

All three apparently, if consulting speakers at the recent Outsource World Conference in London are to be believed.

The 20-day solution was proposed by one speaker as "Extreme Outsourcing", a way of rapidly developing a service with a supplier. The advantage of this is that if you pack everything into a three-week slot, you've only wasted three weeks should things go wrong.

Other outsourcing suppliers suggested a 20-week schedule, allowing time to establish the basis of a contract. They admit that issues often arise after the contract has been signed and that even the best-laid case studies won't allow for every eventuality.

Finally, there's the 20-month scenario, as proposed by a user who has run one of the financial services' largest outsourcing deals.

His view was that 20 months perhaps wasn't long enough and that every detail and possibility had to be considered before signing the contract!

There's a range of opinion but I tend to agree with the last speaker.

Contracts in the final analysis are a balance of power and you can easily find that swinging against you once a deal has been signed.

It's far better to get everything buttoned up beforehand if you can.

Do you think "Extreme Outsourcing" can prove an effective solution? >> 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 Please state if your answer is not for publication.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.
This was last published in May 2002

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