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Outsourcing of IT functions has become so pervasive that IT managers and CIOs cannot ignore it. To complicate the matter, outsourcing to other countries has become increasingly popular. The advantages of this type of outsourcing include cost savings, 24/7 operation, and access to highly specialized skills. Yet a strategic alliance with a geographically and culturally remote partner presents its own unique challenges. Thus, IT professionals should not take the strategic questions of whether or not to outsource lightly, or avoid it. Rather, they can make such a decision by analyzing the responses to the following five key questions, what we call the five Ws: Who should outsource? What is outsourcing? Why outsource? Where should you outsource? When should you outsource? This article emerged from a focus group of CIOs conducted by the CIO Institute, a not-for-profit community of practice for CIOs in the Greater Philadelphia region.
Date of Publication: Jan.-Feb. 2004