The Eight — er, Four — Misperceptions of Outsourcing

I was catching up on some older Gartner podcasts recently — they’re not really time-sensitive, so fine to listen to them weeks or months later, and some of them do contain some good tidbits of information. There was one good one called The Eight Misperceptions of Outsourcing: Part I, in which Linda Cohen starts by listing these eight misperceptions:

  • the myth of sourcing independence;
  • the myth of service autonomy (this was particularly interesting since it touched on the subject of the interdependence of services due to SOA and BPM);
  • the myth of economies of scale;
  • the myth of service management as self-management;
  • the myth of the enemy;
  • the myth of procurement;
  • the myth of steady state; and
  • the myth of sourcing competency.

She then went on to discuss the first four in detail, whetting my appetite for Part II, which was to contain the second four. I checked my iPod: not there. I checked the iTunes directory: ditto. I checked the Gartner podcast page: Part II just doesn’t exist. Okay, it’s only been four months since Part I, maybe I’m being a bit impatient, but bring on the second four myths, already!

Of course, I’m not one to be throwing stones here: I posted the first six episodes of my Short History of BPM over a month ago, and haven’t completed the last two. Now that JC has caught up with translating them to French on his blog, however, I need to get moving on this.

CIO as dinosaur

From Baseline/CIO Insight, a report on emerging technologies; specifically, a survey of CIOs of what technologies that they’re actually using. Some results that I find to show the incredible short-sightedness of many corporate CIOs is the percentage who find the following technologies “of no interest/not on the radar”:

  • SaaS, 32%. How could this number of CIOs possibly have no interest in SaaS? Only one answer comes to mind: empire building.
  • SOA, 30%. The percentage of CIOs who prefer to remain mired in legacy linguine.
  • AJAX, 46% and RSS, 38%. How to they plan to deliver information, both interactively and via publication, in the future? This isn’t just an externally-facing issue; in large organizations, these technologies are equally important for serving it up to internal users.
  • Social networking, including tagging, 51%. Although other things were mentioned in this category, I see tagging as the key contributor to a corporate environment here. How long will it be before all ECM systems have tagging as a standard feature? When will CIOs stop characterizing this as “allowing the lunatics to run the asylum” and just put the right categorization tools in the hands of their users?
  • Wikis, 46%. Okay, I get why a lot of companies are still uncomfortable with blogs. But wikis for collaboration make a lot more sense than clogging up everyone’s email with multiple out-of-date copies of a Word file that everyone is trying to update at the same time. It’s only a matter of time before Microsoft adds wiki capabilities to SharePoint (if they haven’t already), at which time everyone will be using wikis below the CIO’s radar. David Berlind posted yesterday about how many IT leaders have never even heard of wikis, which is likely where the “not on the radar” is really coming from.

There are a lot of other equally shocking stats about just how far behind corporate CIOs are in their thinking. Many of my clients are large financial institutions, so I suppose that I shouldn’t be that shocked: if I polled them directly about these same issues, I’d likely get similar results. Unfortunately, that doesn’t give me much hope that these organizations are going to become a lot more efficient or offer better services to their customers any time soon.

On the BPM front, only 21% show as “deployed”, 19% “testing/piloting”, 27% “evaluating/tracking” and 32% “no interest/not on the radar”.

Update: I just saw this post on why AJAX and RSS matter for in-house user interfaces, particularly for BPM.

Update: Robert Scoble reports that wikis will, indeed, be in Sharepoint 2007. The meteor has landed, you guys can all just head for the tar pits.

SaaS versus shared services

Lots of interesting things swirling around about SaaS lately, including the relationship to shared services within an organization. James Governer posted about the convergence of shared services and business process outsourcing, but I have a bit of a problem with comparing an internal mandated service with an external service about which you have a choice. As I said in my comment on James’ post, the problem with equating shared services within an organization and a true outsourced SaaS is that an enterprise is usually captive to its shared services, whereas they have a choice with an external SaaS.

Then Richard Veryard posted about “Open Sauce”, which completely cracked me up, referring to an earlier Seth Godin post about Tabasco, and making a SaaS analogy:

Imagine there was a delivery mechanism that allowed people to buy a single shot of Tabasco on-demand. Imagine there was a social mechanism that allowed people to share bottles of Tabasco (and many other flavours) with their neighbours.

Having seen these three posts in succession, I started thinking about the shared services analogy: similar to Veryard’s SaaS one, except that your older brother owns all the bottles of hot sauce, and your mom makes you buy from him rather than the kid in the next block. If your brother’s taste is the same as yours, that’s great for you; if it’s not, then he comes off like a bit of a tyrant. If you don’t like his taste and choose not to have hot sauce, then he still justifies his existence because he’s still the household standard, there’s just less hot sauce used and your life is duller because of it.

Who’s the dinosaur now?

Do you hate the Microsoft “dinosaur” commercials as much as I do? If so, you’ll love the skewering that they receive at the hands of the Economist‘s illustrator this week, accompanying an article entitled Spot the dinosaur (paid subscription required):

The article, of course, discusses the world of online software and what Microsoft is doing — quite late in the game — to join the party.