Anna Frazzetto's Blog

Digital Innovations and Technology Solutions

Chief Outsourcing Officer? We Have Three Already.

I thought this article on e-Commerce Times did a good job of outlining several of the emerging trends in outsourcing. However, while the article predicts that 2008 will be the year outsourcing becomes "mainstream" for businesses, I believe that time has passed, especially in terms of IT outsourcing.

All of the CIOs I work and speak with are well-tuned with the global outsourcing market. It's been years since basic questions of costs are the sole focus of the outsourcing discussions I lead. Today, CIOs are focused on the business, talent and resource benefits of their outsourcing programs--be those onsite, off-site or offshore programs. Most have a keen understanding of the fact that new offshore markets are emerging almost daily, and many have created tools for determining the most effective outsourced solution for their organizations.

Consider for example our offshore IT development solution for msnbc.com, which you can read about in detail here. Msnbc.com and its savvy technology leaders are constantly on the lookout for outsourced solutions that will improve the skills and capabilities of their IT function while also driving greater effectiveness and innovation across the entire business. Cost is a factor but business excellence, improved team performance and IT innovation are the primary goals.

The e-Commerce Times article also asks "Is 2008 the Year of the Chief Outsourcing Officer?" I will agree with the author and say no. Outsourcing is now a core business function for most mid-, large- and enterprise-size organizations, which means the entire C-level executive team (CEO, CFO, COO and CIO) should be focused on driving outsourcing excellence across the business organization. There is no reason for a company to get carried away creating C-level titles when the entire C-team should be well versed in the management, practice and value of outsourcing.

Outsourcing solutions span several departments in businesses today--from R&D to call centers to HR administration to payroll. The business leaders within those various department and the senior executives who supervise them should all have extensive outsourcing expertise. After all, if outsourcing is now a mature business function, business leaders of all stripes and expertise need to have a mature, thoughtful and strategic approach in order to advantage today's global outsourcing opportunities.