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What Is Strategic IT Outsourcing?

Article Details
  • Written By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 08 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Strategic information technology outsourcing is a business process that involves delegating certain networking and telecommunication infrastructure maintenance tasks to off-site entities in a way that both saves money and promotes certain defined goals. Information technology (IT) is a critical component to most modern businesses and organizations. The bulk of the work in this sector can often be done remotely, and companies can often save a lot of money by delegating tasks to third parties. Strategic IT outsourcing happens when corporate leaders deliberately task certain technology assignments to pre-selected outside entities.

The main difference between general and strategic outsourcing is the primary goal being served. A number of tasks can be outsourced purely as a money-saving measure. Delegating filing, transcribing, or call center work to outside contractors are common examples. Strategic IT outsourcing accomplishes more than just a better bottom line, however. It is usually designed to also promote efficiency, improve services, and strengthen a defined corporate vision.

Outsourcing complex IT functions can enable a corporation to access the expertise of already-trained professionals. Finding the right IT staff is often critical for technology-based businesses, and strategic outsourcing is one way for companies to better meet their goals while also keeping cost analysis in mind. Looking for industry experts on an outsource basis is often more efficient than trying to recruit and train new hires.

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Strategic IT outsourcing opens up a global pool of potential hires. No longer must a company settle for the best IT specialist in the local area: anyone in the world with an Internet connection can potentially do the work. Companies that have a very clear sense of their needs and requirements often find many upshots to strategic IT outsourcing and are able to leverage it to improve their overall product, services, or functioning.

Outsourcing strategically requires companies to engage in a lot of front-end planning and research. Corporate leaders need to have a very clear sense of their goals before exploring any outsource options. Then, when it comes time to evaluate contenders, the search is usually so narrow that only qualified service providers will be considered. Starting out the other way around — namely, searching for outsource providers first, then narrowing down the pool to meet certain criteria — can often be overwhelming.

The best strategic IT outsourcing scenarios work seamlessly once initiated. Business leaders must usually meet with providers at the outset, whether virtually or in person, in order to clarify the scope of the outsourcing to be done. Oversight structures and hierarchical task management must be checked to ensure that all work is completed in line with the larger corporate vision. From there, the outsourcing should integrate immediately with the company’s other functions.

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