Business strategy should determine IT strategy

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It is good to see Forrester’s recent examination of the steps towards outsourcing success, though the results are a little disappointing.

After three years research the analyst group has repeated some truisms about successful outsourcing and repeated some well worn words of advice.


Unfortunately, since this is the result of a study of actual outsourcing contracts as they exist today, this is less a reflection on Forrester’s insights than on how badly many of these major contracts are handled.

One thing that stuck me as interesting was Forrester’s statement that “IT context should determine the implementation of the selected outsourcing model.”

On the one hand, this sounds obvious. With the rise of multi-sourcing and therefore different suppliers chosen to focus on specific tasks, it goes without saying that the specific piece of work being outsourced needs to go to a supplier chosen to match the context & specialisation required.

If the IT context was ignored when choosing a supplier, and they were chosen on cost alone for example, then the specialisation of the supplier would not be maximised and the whole outsourcing arrangement would not reap the great a dividends that it does.

But the NOA thinks that we should insist above all that the BUSINESS context, not the IT context should determine the implementation of the selected outsourcing model. Are we misreading Forrester? Are we alone in our view, or is it just the basic application of that old mantra that IT should be synonymous with the business, not separate from it?

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